Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time to Get Tough, Michele!


"...and I'm wearing this brass-buttoned Hussar's uniform as a tribute to our brave Ruritanian allies."

Michele Bachmann has the right idea (announcing that if she were President, she'd shut down our embassy in Iran), but she's too timid in her convictions.  If I were President, I'd close our embassy on the Moon, recall our ambassador from Babylon 5, and withdraw from the League of Nations!

Ball's in your court, Michele.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Horrors of the Hollywood Christmas Parade!

[Quick Note:  Due to an unusually long car trip to see family over the weekend, my chronic back injury has fully flared up -- and is, in fact, more full of flare than Jennifer Aniston in Office Space -- but in the wake of the Beg-a-Thon, we have many people to thank, and I'll be writing more about that as soon as the drugs kick in.]

When I was a kid, the annual Hollywood Christmas Death March was called "the Santa Claus Lane Parade," and it was as low tech and quaint as as a hand-carved hobbyhorse from some tourist trap in Vermont.  The city spruced up the boulevard with lights and decorations, but the event itself consisted primarily of high school marching bands; modest, DIY floats that lived their shabby lives in the shadow of the Rose Parade and had a real Oh Who Honestly Gives a Crap? feel to them; and Grand Marshals who -- while admittedly more recognizable than the local newscasters and kiddie TV show hosts who invariably handled such duties in smaller media markets -- were solidly So What? style celebrities, in the Joe E. Brown, Tony Danza, Susan Lucci mold (this year we're getting Marie Osmond).  But hey...it was our Macy's parade, a cherished local tradition, and if you were a child growing up in Southern California -- where there is seldom any change in arboreal set dressing; the trees remain stubbornly green, the thermometer hovers steadily in the mid-to-high 70s -- you looked forward to this day as the official start of the Holiday Season.

But it didn't make money, so the Chamber of Commerce decided to kill it (although I give them credit for being the only local Republicans who can actually organize to get something done, even if it does involve the homicide of a child's dream).  But Disney has a major presence on Hollywood Boulevard, thanks to their flagship theater, the El Capitan, and they smelled a nice cross-promotional marketing opportunity, so they've stepped in and under their aegis the charmingly rough-hewn and amateur feel of years past has been replaced by the soulless, sub-contracted style of false, mandated cheer one one often finds at a State Fair.  Along with some of the most disturbing inflatable characters in holiday parade history.  They're the official barrage balloons of the War on Christmas™.
The neat, parallel rows of nipples makes it appear that NASA and Italy are preparing to launch the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus into orbit!  Spectators should take the rare opportunity to suck on her space teats, because they dispense Tang!  But beware, because judging by the melting, Daliesque character on the right, the bright orange, granular milk produced by her lupine bosoms is hallucinogenic.
"Homer Simpson was found dead today, dressed in a dog collar and a Tickle Me Elmo costume, and trussed with an elaborate network of Japanese bondage-style ropes.  Auto-erotic asphyxiation is the presumed cause of death..."
"A giant, gut-shot pirate is seen seconds before collapsing on a crowd of parade watchers in Hollywood earlier today.  Police are seeking a large, inflated assailant tentatively identified as Cap'n Jack Ruby..."
It's like Oscar the Grouch is jumping out of an R2D2 birthday cake -- in which case I'm definitely tempted to call Chippendales about a refund.
And what could better symbolize "Stories from the Golden Age By L. Ron Hubbard" than a gas bag that vaguely resembles a giant block of cheese?
I can't decide if this headline should read, "A giant, crawling eye, best remembered as the star of the 1958 Forrest Tucker film The Crawling Eye, lost a knife fight, and a good deal of vitreous humor, today..." or, "The dessicated corpse of Snoopy has been discovered, beneath the floorboards of an abandoned artist's studio in Santa Rosa, California..."

Anyway, I'm sure you guys can come up with better captions, so have at it in comments.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Special Video Beast-Blogging: The Happy Thanksgiving Edition!

As promised, a Special Comment from the Cats.   Riley and Moondoggie in their first Mental Hygiene film.
And from Mary, Riley, Moondoggie, and me...Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mayor Mike: Episode I: A New Dope

By Keith, World O' Crap's Municipal Megalomaniacs Correspondent.

Introduction

Dear reader, cherish the thought should you choose to continue: No Mayor of the City of New York has ever been successful in a bid for higher office.

It's either an optimal steady-state solution to a turbulent non-linear surface, or perhaps dumb punk luck.

But whatever it is, let us rejoice such that our odds against it ever occurring are so favorable.
"So...am I supposed to pardon this turkey, or what's the deal?"

Mayor Mike

There is nothing unusual about media barons buying government. Mayor Mike is a media baron. His personality is perhaps a bit dull compared to those of Chandler, Hearst or even the Sulzbergers, but intellectually ingenious for the early embrace of electronic publishing, as well as the velocity of information through the Bloomberg data corridors.

Global trades of equities, commodities and foreign currency exchange are all informed by the rigorous data mining capabilities of Bloomberg's portal.

But unlike his competitors, Rupert Murdoch for example, Mayor Mike isn't at all concerned with pushing Flintstones reruns to Tirana, Albania via cheap Intelsat allocations acquired on the fly. This is some other kind of data, bits, bytes and hexadecimals determining the flows of capital through global exchange of contracts, legitimate or otherwise.

Mike's only competitor in this arena is the Thomson Reuters publishing empire.  A per-person monthly subscription to either product will set you back about one thousand eight hundred US dollars. The Flintstones are loss-leaders for all the Murdochs or Mordors out there carpet-bagging the developing world. Compared to Mayor Mike's personal take per transaction, it's nothing but stale peanuts.

To Be Continued in Chapter 2: When Electrons Collide!  At This Same Theater!

MaryC's Holiday Gift Report: The Pleasure Chest Edition

 
Oh, God. A plush toy which sounds like it's singing through one of those electronic voice boxes, and sporting a mouth that looks like a Today Contraceptive Sponge.  So if you ever wondered what the Chipmunks would sound like it they all had throat cancer, well...Merry Christmas!

(I'm not taking the fall for this one.  You can blame thank Bill S.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ann Coulter Makes Rob Long

Rob Long was one of the Speakers on the NRO Ship of Fools Cruise back in August, but I disqualified his headshot from the Miss Wingnut Pageant -- despite being an unusually smug and douchey example of the art form -- because unlike most of the contestants he actually has a few entries on his resume outside the field of Professional Whining.

But just because Rob has a slight acquaintance with the world beyond the right wing bubble does not mean he is immune to its strange fevers and dark passions.  Witness this sonnet he's cranked out in praise of Ann Coulter's feminine charms:
Unapologetic, Unsinkable, Unwavering Ann Coulter
Had she been born a century ago...
...it would explain those missing co-eds and that brownish-red ring around her bathtub.
...Ann Coulter would have been a movie star.
And Max Schrek would have been shining shoes outside the UFA commissary.
 She’s got movie star eyes:
Three, in fact.  One belonged to Sammy Davis, Jr., one to Sandy Duncan, and the third was acquired by Ann in 1997, when she rolled a drunken Peter Falk outside Musso & Franks.  Friends have advised her to take up a less gruesome hobby, like collecting Troll Dolls, or scrapbooking.
They’re big and round and they lock onto you with the intensity and fire that silver nitrate film was invented for.
Unfortunately, they're equally as volatile, and during a visit with her parents to the MGM lot in 1967, Ann's eyes caught fire in the film vault, burning the Technicolor scenes from Broadway Melody,  the Three Stooges musical short, Hello, Pop!, several silent Our Gang comedies, and the camera negative of London After Midnight.
 And she’s got a movie star laugh:
Specifically, Eddie Deezen's.
It’s full and round and loud when she wants it to be, and she almost always wants it to be.
This also describes her attitude toward Jonah Goldberg's ass.
But more than her starlet eyes and her ravishing laugh, Ann Coulter is having fun. She loves being the unsinkable, unapologetic Ann Coulter.
I never really thought of Ann Coulter as a refugee from the Golden Age of Hollywood -- a latter day Veronica Lake, perhaps, or -- with her puckish sense of wit and whimsy -- a modern Carole Lombard, or Skelton Knaggs.  But perhaps Rob was inspired by his own resemblance to Thomas Mitchell's eyebrows.
I assume Rob saw a recent photo of Ann that sizzled with old time Glamor and Allure, and caused him to see her in this fresh new perspective.  Here's the image that accompanies his post:
I think I'm in love.
And that drives the left around the bend, which is reason enough to list Ann as one of the nation’s top conservatives, let alone top female conservatives.
Because as Socrates said, "It's not the quality of your argument that will carry the day, but how big a snot you can be while making it."
We already know the basics: Ann is a dazzlingly gifted polemicist. She’s a scary-smart writer—
I may not agree with your politics, Rob, but even I've got to admit -- when you're half-right, you're half-right.
readers of her latest book, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America will have noticed a new level of power and philosophy in her writing.
 The title, along with the black candles and blood-stained goat skull in her living room, hint at the source of Ann's increased powers.  Therefore, Unbeliever, beware when you crack her tome, for it is full of the deadliest philosophy, and has been known to kill with a single syllogism.
On television, where we all (sadly) get increasingly more of our information, Ann Coulter is a dervish of debate and verbal smarts: Ann never backs down, never shrugs a question and, what’s more, alone among the pundits (left and right) she’s never weasel-worded an answer.
Ann Coulter: glamorous movie star.  Sufi ascetic.
This gets her into trouble—there are protests in the universities, outrage in the left-wing press, and general bafflement among the smug media courtesans. How could this blonde she-devil capture so many readers? How can this troublemaking, outspoken lady, clad in her chic little dresses and glamour-girl shoes, be so popular?
If by "popular" you mean "continues to be stocked in Dollar Stores long after her Sell By date has passed and the button has popped up on her lid," then yes.  It's a mystery.
Ann is our powerhouse, our Patton.
"Coulter...You magnificent bastard!  I didn't read your book!  But I understand it's being given away free with a subscription to Human Events..."
 Ann marches in front of our parade with a fearless wit, and in sexy heels, too. 
You're really fixated on her feet, Rob.  I'm no dating and romance expert, but I assume the next stage of your relationship will involve you sneaking into her bedroom during a cocktail party and trying on her fuck-me pumps.   Best of luck to you crazy kids!  and bring a shoehorn.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ho-Ho-Hozell

[Note from Scott:  Just wanted to let everyone know that we'll be wrapping up our Beg-a-Thon this week (click here for the somewhat embarrassing details), concluding with a Special Video Special on Thanksgiving.]

By Keith, World O' Crap's War on Christmas Correspondent:
(Almost) Nothing is Sacred by Brent Bozell
In advance of Tinseltown's parade of Christmas insensitivities [sic] -- they've already unloaded the marijuana movie A Very Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas -- let us stipulate that it's not just seasonal. The manufacturers of pop culture thrive on offending every traditional value.
Brent, nothing “seasonal” about stoner comedies. This genre has perennial charm. If it’s got “legs” you’re guaranteed a 15% return on investment. Maybe more after foreign screens and DVD release.
Start with Pamela Anderson, the ridiculously surgically enhanced former Playboy Playmate, home-movie porn specialist and "Baywatch" star. She's been cast to play -- are you ready? -- the Virgin Mary in a TV "Christmas" special in Canada.
There aren’t many juicy roles for older women actors and Pam has mortgage payments to fulfill. Have you no decency, Brent? Besides, I’m not entirely sure her surgical enhancement is worthy of the adjective “ridiculous.” I’ve always found her work to be reasonably well-crafted. Plus it’s held up awfully good given the mileage.
It's called A Russell Peters Christmas and Peters will play Mary's husband Joseph in the sketch “comedy.” Peters was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic school until eighth grade. It didn't take, to say the least. The show will air as a holiday "centerpiece" in Canada on CTV and the Canadian Comedy Network, which also runs U.S. shows such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
You’re just being snippy because neither Jon nor Steve have featured you as a guest. I can’t remember if Mary and Joseph were actually wed, but legend has it she herself was scheduled for some surgical work in Antioch. The night before she and Joseph took in a show – A Very Oedipus Rex Bacchanalia -- and Joe walked out in disgust, dragging poor Mary along with him.
Publicists are already touting the show with the usual lingo. It's “an irreverent twist on the Christmas special making it unlike anything viewers have seen before,” and will be “tastier and more dangerous than a cup of spiked eggnog.” Pamela Anderson does have reverence for one cause: Her Facebook page profile picture is an anti-fur symbol. Mock Jesus, but love animals.
“Love the sinner, hate their wardrobe,” as Betty Bowers once said after knocking back eggnog spiked with Everclear, Oxycontin and lorazepam. Let’s face it, Brent, you’re stalking poor Pamela on Facebook, aren’t you? You went for the boobs and got PETA instead. Now you’re apoplectic. What else do you have for us?
Another very serious (if not sacred, surely profound) day on the American calendar is Sept. 11. That means 9/11 is just begging for satire, if you're Fox and Seth MacFarlane, at least. Two years after 9/11, college reporter Matt Chayes interviewed MacFarlane and said he "claims he would never do a 9/11 gag." That pledge has been violated repeatedly. Now he's devoted the entire plot of the Nov. 13 episode of "Family Guy" to mocking 9/11.
Stewie, the super-smart baby, invents a time machine. Pal, Brian, the talking dog, and he travel back in time to retrieve an old tennis ball. In the process, current Brian warns past Brian about 9/11, and, as a result, it's avoided. But when they return to the present, they find out that George W. Bush lost the 2004 election because he had no 9/11 with which to scare the public.
Damn, I missed that episode, Brent. Now I’ll have to watch for it in syndication.
This historical twist results in Bush creating a second Confederacy -- naturally -- which starts another Civil War with nuclear strikes that kill 17 million people and turn the U.S. into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, of course. So the duo goes back to fix the past, and after they succeed, the baby declares, "We did it Brian! We made 9/11 happen! High five!"
“Mission Accomplished” would have been a better closer than “High Five” imho.
Speaking of messing up the time machine, Hollywood is really going back in time to smear J. Edgar Hoover. They've never forgiven him for being a staunch anti-communist or for mucking around in the personal lives of their heroes, from the Kennedy's to Martin Luther King. When Time asked actor Leonardo DiCaprio how true the movie was to life he replied, "Historically, it's incredibly accurate."
Did you mean Time Magazine or Time, the physical dimension that co-exists with space in a cosmological continuum?
That's quite a clash with the quote from his cast mate Armie Hammer, who plays Clyde Tolson, the close Hoover aide alleged to be his lover. "What really brings the film to life are the scenes that no one can prove happened."
Too bad Ayn Rand is no longer with us to script-doctor for Clint.
The movie's climactic scene arrives when Hoover tells Tolson he's getting married. Tolson and Hoover wrestle, and Tolson kisses Hoover, only to have Hoover reject him. As Tolson storms out, Hoover begs Tolson not to leave and even says, "I love you." There's also a creepy scene when Hoover's mother dies. Hoover descends into a crying mess as he puts on a dress and a necklace.
The accusation that Hoover cross-dressed came from a convicted perjurer with mob ties; Soviet disinformation agents circulated rumors that Hoover was gay. But Hollywood doesn't care about sources or evidence when it makes "historical" movies. What they cared about was using ersatz history to promote the gay agenda.
As a high-profile Fed in frequent attendance at Roy Cohn’s infamous soirees of yester-year this alone is enough evidence to conclude that J. Edgar was perhaps “A Friend of Dorothy.” There’s more than a touch of lavender to this complex individual. At least Clint didn’t demean Mr. Hoover by making DiCaprio wear a copy that wretched two-piece knit thing. Clyde hated that two-piece knit.
Now that agenda is the closest thing to a unanimously sacred cause in Hollywood. Movie director Brett Ratner was just unceremoniously canned as director of the 2012 Academy Awards broadcast. He crossed the line by saying "Rehearsals are for (gay F-bombs)." That will get you fired. Mocking an FBI director, 9/11 or the Virgin Mary? That is apparently "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
What lessons have we to learn from Mr. Bozell’s poorly-spelled and poorly-punctuated rant? Well, we’ve learned he is stalking Pamela Anderson on Facebook. Watch out, Brent. You’re not the first. I’d stay away from her. She doesn’t like it.

(We’ve also learned that, despite constant lobbying by his publicist, he has been declined an audience with either Jon Stewart or Steve Colbert. Tough nuts, Brent. Get over it.)

Secondly, Mr. Bozell was absent from class the day they introduced basic structures, such as the outline, as an aid in organizing one’s thoughts.

Thirdly, we have learned that Brent is a terrible pop-culture critic. He sucks big time. I’ve done him a tremendous favor by omitting some of the worst paragraphs (it just goes on an on) so I’m awaiting Brent’s holiday (sorry, “Christmas”) card as a token of his appreciation.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

MaryC's Holiday Gift Report, V2.0

The horror. Oh, GOD! The Horror!

The unholy noise cracks upon their ears, and the little girls' heads whip around, their pigtails flying, as they instinctively recognize the danger. But before they can flee the room, the demon latches upon their souls and consumes them, and soon the entire Babysitters Club is cackling with the demented hysteria of those who have gazed upon the indescribable horror of the Elder Gods, and been denied the blessed release that only death can bring.

By Remco!

Friday, November 18, 2011

You Can Thank John Stossel for Your Electronic Tape Worm

I'm not a morning person, and generally unpleasant to be around until lunchtime.  But any day's a good day that starts with a post from s.z, and when you add in Dennis Prager telling the ladies to just lie back and let him, Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt fill their pretty little heads with the industrial run-off from their big pulsing Man Brains, well...that's about as close as I come to greeting the dawn with a smile and a wink across the brim of my coffee cup like the vivified spokesmodel in an old Yuban commercial.

Sheri also mentioned that she took the time out of her day to teach the fundamentals of Objectivism to an 11-month old infant, which takes a rare, Daniel-in-the-Lion's-den kind of courage, because babies are, by and large, not a sympathetic audience for the Randian Facts of Life.  Most of them, in fact, are needy, greedy socialists with a teat-draining attachment to the Nanny State (have you ever seen a pair of baby booties with actual bootstraps?  I rest my case).

And speaking of Self-Made Mustaches Men, let's check in with ex-consumer reporter and wrestler whipping boy, and current Galt's Gulch real estate agent, John Stossel:
"What's wrong with these chains?  These are the chains I forged (via a reputable off-shore subcontractor) in life!  Because I'm a producer!  Sure they chafe a little, but you know what?  Jacob Marley was a wuss..."

FDA Kills Smokers
My intuition makes me grateful that the FDA is there to protect me -- to make sure that every drug is proven both safe and effective -- but "protection" kills people.
Look, John, just be frank and tell her you don't like wearing a condom.  Or even fake a latex allergy if you must, but as pre-coital patter goes, this is a bit of a buzzkill.
Last week, I discussed how the FDA kills by keeping useful medical devices off the market. 
Like the Battle Creek Vibratory Chair, scourge of constipation!  Or  Sanitized Tape Worms!
"Easy To Swallow!"  (Just like the claims in this ad!)  And best of all, "No Baths!", unlike our exclusive line of Schistosomiasis Worms, which require immersion.
Now, we learn the FDA threatens the health of cigarette smokers who want to quit.
You know what I love most about English?  It's a such a vibrant, living language, always evolving and adapting.  Why, when I was a lad, we no longer said things like "when I was a lad," because it sounded archaic, or at least overbearingly precious.  And "learn" meant "to master a skill," or "acquire a fact," rather than "to distort a press release," or "to root around and pull shit out of my ass like an Okie noodlin' for catfish on Hillbilly Handfishin'."
How can I say that?
Perfunctorily?  Unconvincingly? In Percy Kilbride's Downeaster accent from The Egg and I?
Hasn't the FDA proposed that new warnings and gruesome pictures be placed on cigarette packages because the old scares apparently weren't working? ... So the FDA certainly seems to be trying to save smokers' lives. How can I say the FDA threatens smokers?
Because you have the morals of a Ukrainian phishing scammer?
What other conclusion can we draw when we consider that the FDA now talks about banning electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. It sent threatening letters to manufacturers of the product.
The FDA sent letters threatening to kill smokers?  Talk about typical government fraud and abuse!  Instead of wasting our tax dollars threatening to kill people who are already killing themselves, they ought to be actually killing healthy people -- vegans, teetotalers, pilates enthusiasts!
E-cigarettes look like cigarettes, but instead of burning tobacco, they vaporize liquid nicotine when users puff on, or "vape," them. The resulting aerosol mist satisfies "smokers" without their inhaling tars and the most dangerous of tobacco's chemicals into their lungs.
What could be healthier?  I'm sure high-end spas will soon be replacing macrobiotic diets and yoga studios with "vape rooms."
What could be wrong with that? Well, the FDA says e-cigarettes contain trace chemicals that "may" be "toxic."
So do chips of lead paint, but that's no reason kids shouldn't be allowed to dissolve them in soapy water and smoke them in a bubble pipe.
But most everything "may" be toxic.
This column, for instance; and yet Townhall still doesn't carry a Surgeon General's Warning.
 New York Times science columnist John Tierney writes: "The agency has never presented evidence that the trace amounts actually cause any harm, and it has neglected to mention that similar traces of these chemicals have been found in other FDA-approved products, including nicotine patches and gum."
True, although no one has ever suffered from Secondhand Gum, unless they got a blob of it stuck to the bottom of their shoe, or tried to French kiss Ann Coulter while she was working on a Red Man-sized chaw of Nicorette.
 "The agency's methodology and warnings have been lambasted in scientific journals."
Like the Ladies Home Journal, and the Journal of the Whills.
Brad Rodu...
Who certainly sounds like a Star Wars character...
...a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, concluded in the Harm Reduction Journal that the FDA results "are highly unlikely to have any possible significance to users" because it detected chemicals at "about 1 million times lower concentrations than are conceivably related to human health."

Moreover, Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, told Tierney: "It boggles my mind why there is a bias against e-cigarettes among antismoking groups" such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
Anti-smoking groups are opposed to nicotine addiction?  Call me impertinent, Professor, but it seems like your mind is easily boggled, so I suggest you decline any future invitations to actually play Boggle, otherwise it might set up a feedback loop that would ultimately result in a Scanners-like cranial explosion.

But in the interests of peer-reviewed science, let's see exactly what's behind this beef the anti-heart disease, contra-cancer extremists seem to have with vapin'.
[A]uthorities are wary of e-cigarettes and already several states, including New Jersey, New York, and New Hampshire, have made moves to ban them
As an ardent Libertarian, Stossel naturally supports States Rights, unless they involve stronger consumer regulations, because that's like castrating Superman.
Affordable and readily available online by adults and minors alike, some argue that this product, which comes in flavors like chocolate or apple, is just another way for teens to get hooked on nicotine.
But it's a potential boon to dieters.  Just imagine: you're in a restaurant, you've just finished a rich meal and you're trying to resist the dessert cart, when someone at a neighboring lights up a Strudel-flavored e-cigarette.  Suddenly, the flourless chocolate cake is forgotten, and all you can think is, "Mmm, your habit smells delicious!  Just like Großmutter used to make -- except, while we did gorge on her pastries after Sunday dinner, we didn't literally inhale them."
The American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and others said in a statement on the product that "absent scientific evidence, these claims…that they are safer than normal cigarettes ... are in blatant in violation of FDA rules." 
And suspicions about these unregulated devices are not unfounded. The FDA survey of e-cigarettes found that one brand, Smoking Everywhere, contained diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical found in anti-freeze.
Now your teen won't overheat in the summer, or freeze up in the winter.  Anyway, back to Stossel:
It boggles my mind, too, because...e-cigarettes not only pose merely a hypothetical risk compared to real "cigarettes containing thousands of chemicals, including dozens of carcinogens and hundreds of toxins"... True, the cigarette substitutes are basically nicotine-delivery devices. But so what?

The American Association of Public Health Physicians wrote that e-cigarettes might "save the lives of 4 million of the 8 million current adult American smokers."

Four million lives!
It's unusual -- even surprising -- to see Stossel so exciting about saving lives.  I would assume this means he also supports a Single Payer national health insurance program that would save many millions more, except I know him.  Still, he probably feels entitled to credit for caring enough about his fellow, if inferior Man to save his miserable, moochery existence by unleashing the power of the Free Market, in the form of an untested, hand-held incinerator that delivers a highly addictive substance, seasoned with automobile coolant.
The FDA seems to believe that it can create a risk-free environment here on earth.
The FDA also seems to believe the American Businessman would put rat shit and brake fluid in baby formula if they could turn a half-cent per unit higher profit.  Bunch of airy-fairy Utopians.
But that is pure balderdash. Life is always a choice between greater and lesser risks -- zero risk is not an option. Striving to abolish risk kills people.
Preventing the Mark Eden Breast Development System from claiming it was "clinically proven to give you the front end of a 1955 Cadillac!" killed more people than Hitler and Mao combined.
"It's time to be honest with the 50 million Americans, and hundreds of millions around the world, who use tobacco," Rodu writes. "It's time to abandon the myth that tobacco is devoid of benefits and to focus on how we can help smokers continue to derive those benefits with a safer delivery system."
I don't know what planet Rodu comes from -- although I assume it's lousy with Sith -- but I think his statement would sound more credible if he was talking through a Darth Vader-style breath mask.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Q: "Does a Full-Time Homemaker Swap Her Mind for a Mop?"

A: Only if she listens to Dennis Prager's radio show.

Hi, everybody! I am honored to be back as your guest lecturer today during this special pre-holiday week in which we are encouraged (by your guest lecturer) to take a moment to be thankful for our many blessings, and to also help others if we can. And in that spirit, if you give a couple of bucks to help Scott, Mary, and Moondoggie, I have it straight from Satan himself that you will be considered to ghost-write a best-seller (you can have your choice of "Killing George Washington: The Shocking Story of How Pinheaded Liberals Secretly Assassinated the Father of Our Country" or "She Says That I am the One, But the Kid Is Not My Baby, Baby, Baby." Seriously, Mary and Scott are good people (and Moondoogie is a good cat, relatively speaking) who are dealing with major medical expenses, and if you can help, it would be a very good thing to do.

Anyway, I thought I would take a moment to update you on what I've been doing since we last communicated. So here it is: I fed, housed, and cleaned-up after a multitude of needy cats. Of course, while this is important work, in that it saves the lives of animals who were either scheduled for euthanasia, cruelly abandoned by their former owners, or born to poor, unwed cat mothers who were addicted to 'nip, it isn't all that intellectually stimulating. So, I was happy to learn from NOW president Dennis Prager that staying home and caring for unappreciative beasts can be more mentally enriching than working at NASA or ghost-writing an inaccurate historical best-seller for Bill O'Reilly.

Dennis starts out by stating that he regularly writes about "male-female issues" because "I want to help men and women, especially husbands and wives, get along better" by furthering the goals of the Stepford Wives project. He says he also does it get lefty bloggers to pay attention to him for a few laughs, because they are the only people who will. For instance, "just a few weeks ago, [Daily Kos] declared me a misogynist for my column on what I believe to have been four negative legacies of feminism for women. I actually wrote the column on behalf of women, yet I was labeled a misogynist. Why?" Aw, it's always sad to see a right-wing radio personality who just wants to help women be so sadly misunderstood, so if anybody wants to answer Dennis's heart-rending enquiring, be my guest.

But, as Dennis says:
Why that is so is not my subject here. Rather, I seek to refute the idea that full-time homemaking is intellectually vapid and a waste of a college education.
In fact, if more women would major in Laundry Studies or Hamburger Helper-nomics, they would find their college studies exceptionally relevant.
Nor do I wish to romanticize child rearing. As a rule, little children don't contribute much to the intellectual life of a parent
I'm glad that Dennis pointed this out, because I spent yesterday afternoon caring for an 11-month-old baby, and although I tried to engage her in a discussion of the Occupy Wall Street movement, she found her time better served by searching for and eating stay bits of dog kibble. I then suggested that we watch some C-Span to further our understanding of current events, but instead she chewed on the remote and tried to fight the dog for more kibble. As a salon, it was a sad failure -- and now I know why, thanks to Dennis!
The point is that she can find such stimulation without leaving her house. Furthermore, the intellectual input she can find is likely to be greater than most women (or men) find working outside the home. There is a reason that about half the audience of my national radio show is female -- they listen to talk radio for hours a day and broaden their knowledge considerably.
Or, these stay-at-home scholars leave the radio on for hours a day to drown out considerably the sounds of the neighbors' arguing or their own crying babies.

To the left, the notion that talk radio enhances intellectual development is akin to fish needing bicycles.
And to the right, the notion that talk radio enhances intellectual development is akin to prying guns from cold, dead hands. Or throwing babies out with mop water - or whatever is the opposite of what Dennis said the left believes, if only we knew what that was.
But that's because the left's greatest achievement is demonizing the right and because they never actually listen to the best of us.
Get ready for such a list (and if Dennis isn't on it, I'll eat some dog kibble)!
I am syndicated by the Salem Radio Network. My colleagues are Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. Two of us attended Harvard, one Yale and one Columbia. One of us taught at Harvard, another at the City University of New York. And a third teaches constitutional law at a law school.
Wow, what a chance for us lowly homebound women to learn at the feet of some guys who attended some Ivy League colleges! I feel edified just by reading their names! And so I offer them this tribute: I heard the best minds of my generation on talk radio, spouting madness, starving hysterical stupid, dragging themselves through the Townhall streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, poopy-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the AM dynamo in the machinery of the right.
In addition to reviewing the news and discussing our own views, we all routinely interview authors and experts -- left and right -- in almost every field. The woman who listens to us regularly will know more about economics, politics, current events, world affairs, American history and religion than the great majority of men and women who work full-time outside of the house.
Sure, what these women know will be slanted, warped, and/or flat-out wrong, but they will inarguably know more of it than the great majority of people who are too busy splitting atoms and such to listen to right-wing talk radio.

But still, Dennis has given me hope that I too can join the exquisite world of the mind available to agoraphobics and housewives who possess only AM radios with which to muffle the sounds of that tell-tale heart (and not enough energy to change the channel from Salem Radio Network).

MaryC's Holiday Gift Report!

Looking for that perfect, non-denominational Holiday Gift for your Christmas Warrior? Look no further than "Milky! The Marvelous Milking Cow!"



Obscene? A little. Unnatural? You bet! Creep out the Bill O'Reilly fan on your list and put this thing under their heavily taxed Christmas Tree!

Then, while the kids are manufacturing fake milk out of weird chemical dust, you can make fake eggnog! Once you've poured in a pint of Captain Morgan, you won't care where the hell it came from! (Psst! It came from Union Carbide).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Demi Moore's Breast Implants Were Made of C-4!

Okay, if you haven't read the clever and funny New American Slogans in the comments to this post, I urge you to check them out.  They are mint-worthy mottoes that are suitable for engraving on coins, paper currency, Great Seals, license plates, and those yellow "Piso Mojado" sandwich board signs on freshly mopped marble floors.  And don't forget to add your own!  After all, This Land is Your Land®, for a Limited Time Only, at Participating Dealers.  Offer Void in Utah.

Also, this is Day 3 of our World O' Crap Beg-A-Thon.  If you can, please consider making a donation (guilty explanation here).

Meanwhile, in the War on Terror, Florida Republican Allen West believes that America will remain safe and secure from attack only so long as Demi Moore is wearing a Water Bra, or something like that.

Rep. Allen West: 'Demi Moore was waterboarded' in movie 'G.I. Jane'
Many people were surprised -- relieved, of course, but nonetheless surprised -- that a massive terrorist attack did not coincide with the tenth anniversary of September 11th.  As we now know, such a disaster was averted only because in 1997, brave members of the U.S. military tortured vital information out of Al-Qaeda's Number Two, Demi Sheikh Moore.
Republican Rep. Allen West (Fla.) cited the movie “G.I. Jane” while defending the use of waterboarding as a military tactic Monday, saying the controversial practice has yielded useful intelligence.
If torture is a "military tactic," then why isn't it an option in "Risk"?  ("Whoo hoo, I rolled a 12!  Sorry, Billy, but I'm taking Irkutsk and crushing your testicles with a vice-grip.")  Still, you learn something new every day.  I never watched the Saw films, but I assume when the creepy mask came off, Jigsaw turned out to be Sun Tzu, or Ender Wiggin.
[Fig. 1:  Taking a tip from beauty queens who employ professional pageant consultants to coach them on poise and deportment, Rep. West has spent the past few months working on a trademark smile -- the Dead-Eyed Grimace with Perfunctory Half-Smirk -- under the tutelage of former Vice President Dick Cheney.]
"The president is the benefactor of a lot of information that came from waterboarding," said West on Fox News. "Furthermore, in the movie ‘G.I. Jane,’ Demi Moore was waterboarded and we do that in military training; in survival, escape and resistance training."
I had no idea that SERE training involved drowning Demi Moore, but as someone who sat through Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, I can't say I'm surprised.
The congressman, who served in the military for more than two decades, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel...
But then he read the handwriting on the wall and realized he had pretty much peaked at the military equivalent of District Manager, and was never going to make it to Regional Supervisor due to that trifling incident where he plunged a cashier's hand in hot frying medium when she came up short on her register count.
While serving in Taji, Iraq, West received information from an intelligence specialist about a reported plot to ambush him and his men. The alleged plot reportedly involved Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi, a civilian Iraqi police officer.  West, who was not responsible for conducting interrogations in Iraq and had never conducted nor witnessed one, had his men detain Hamoodi.  In the process of detaining Mr. Hamoodi, soldiers testified that Hamoodi appeared to reach for his weapon and needed to be subdued.  Hamoodi was beaten by four soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion on the head and body.  West then fired his pistol near Hamoodi's head, after which Hamoodi provided West with names and information, which Hamoodi later described as "meaningless information induced by fear and pain."  At least one of these suspects was arrested as a result, but no plans for attacks or weapons were found.  West said "At the time I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received. It's possible that I was wrong about Mr. Hamoodi."
In hindsight, the Lt. Colonel's failure to acquire accurate intelligence was rather to be expected, since the only leverage West could apply was a four-man beating and a mock execution.  If he'd had a waterboard at his disposal, however, he likely would have gotten "meaningful information induced by fear and pain and drowning." It's the drowning -- the cherry, as it were, atop the sundae of coercion -- that really pulls it all together.
...[the congressman] told Fox News that he believes there is precedent for treating non-state, non-uniformed combatants differently than state actors in wartime.
"Precedent" is the new "Atrocity."

He told Fox News that while in the military he was investigated for an incident in which he fired a pistol over a detainee's head as a "psychological intimidation tactic."

"It kept my men safe," West insisted.

Startling prisoners with loud noises is our first, best defense against asymmetric warfare, which is why the Army War College now requires a course in Sneaking Up Behind the Enemy with an Inflated Paper Bag.  West himself developed many of these tactics on the battlefield during the Iraq War, and in 2005 he was credited with saving an entire company of Army Rangers using nothing but a joy buzzer.
Businessman Herman Cain said during the debate that while he did not support the use of torture, he would allow military leaders to determine if waterboarding constituted torture. 
"The Fantastic Mr. Fox has determined that in order to comply with Title VIII: The Fair Housing and Equality Opportunity Act, a certain percentage of units in this Hen-house must be set aside for coyotes, owls, raccoons, and other underprivileged tenants."
 
Anyway, just imagine if Herman Cain had been President while the Lt. Colonel was serving in Iraq.  Why, West might still be in the military today, pulling double duty at Guantanamo: War Criminal by day, Etymologist by night.

(h/t to our friend Actor212 at Simply Left Behind)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The United States of AWESOME!

AdvertisingAge (which I always thought sounded less like a trade magazine and more like the title of a Will & Ariel Durant book) advises us to drop our drawers, bend at the waist, and prepare for the hickory smoked smell of seared buttocks, because we're about to be branded.
America's got a new plan of attack when it comes to marketing itself around the world. Going forward, the country will base communications around the idea that this is the "United States of Awesome Possibilities."
Ah yes, the Good Ol' USAP, where Everything is Possibly Awesome.  Or at least, where there's a 50% Chance of Awesome (personally, I'm no fan of stuffy Latin credos, and have always felt that our national motto should sound more like a local TV weather forecast).

Just imagine how potentially bitchin' it will be, living in the United States of Awesome Possibilities!  The Founders may have been Christians, they may have been Deists, but one thing is certain: wherever they are, they're kicking themselves that they didn't think of this first (although Benjamin Franklin came close, during one of those late night, drunken bull sessions at the Second Continental Congress, when he suggested the Great Seal of the United States should read "E Pluribus Unom nom nom."  Then he stole Lambert Cadwalader's bucket).
The country's new positioning comes courtesy of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, which this summer hired JWT to handle a global marketing campaign and is worked with branding firm The Brand Union to create a logo for Brand U.S.A.
I can tell you this, if I were president, I wouldn't go on some World Apology Tour.  I'd stand up before the United Nations, and proudly declare that the United States is the greatest brand on earth, and that I am a firm believer in American Exceptionalism™ (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off) and its subsidiary brands, Diet American Exceptionalism®, and American Exceptionalism Extreme with Lemon®.

But as Chris Perkins, JWT'S CMO for the CTP said, "What is so compelling about the United States is that no one thing can explain who we are as a nation."

True that.  We get plenty of out-of-towners here, and I once asked a foreign visitor why he chose Hollywood for his vacation.  He said, "Oh, I considered lots of other destinations -- Europe, Japan, Australia -- but I just found myself really drawn to your vagueness."

I just hope the CTP can find a way to entice potential tourists with the limitless, Lovecraftian depths of our shapeless inky void.   I think they've made a very good start with the logo:
The group said in a press release that the dots in the campaign's logo, shown above, create a "21st-century brand" which "symboliz[es] the boundless possibilities of the U.S.," as well as representing America's "diversity."
The DiscoverAmerica campaign is in the early stages of development, and is still seeking a legend for their logo, one which "evokes and celebrates our ambiguous, ill-defined nature.  But No Spoilers!"  So I sent them my suggestion:

America:  We're Hard to Explain, And We Look Like the Measles.

So what's your catchy slogan for the United States of Awesome?

Monday, November 14, 2011

"If 'Are You Being Served?' is the Kind of Programming..."

This is going to be difficult to write -- and possibly irritating to read -- so if you'd prefer to skip the sob story, there's a new post just below this one, and cat pictures below that.

Okay.  [Deep Breath]...About a year and a half ago we sideswiped the Iceberg of Insolvency, and found ourselves flooded with frigid seawater and overacting Billy Zanes.  We held a fundraiser, and even though times were hard, WO'C readers very generously came to our aid, and I swore to myself that that was the absolute last time we would ever appeal for donations.

It didn't work out quite the way I'd hoped.  Starting in the spring, Mary suffered a series of health crises, climaxing in an 11-hour sojourn in the ER, and followed by nearly a month in which illness and pain prevented her from working.  At the same time -- in some weird Elliott-and-E.T. symbiosis -- Moondoggie started losing weight with alarming speed; and it turned out he had two infected teeth and was on the verge of liver failure.  To pay for his treatment (along with Mary's hospital bill), we had to defer a lot of other bills, pretty much all of which are now coming (over)due. Or home to roost.

The sum of all this nervous palaver is that World O' Crap is having another Beg-A-Thon this week, for which we sincerely apologize.  To cushion the blow, a Special Celebrity Guest will be dropping by, and we'll probably be seeing a new cat video, if I can get these fuzzy prima donnas to cooperate.

So that's our grim and embarrassing situation.  I know times are even tougher than they were in 2010, so if you're in no position to help, we completely understand (besides, blogging has no Fair Market Value, since the ha'penny is no longer in circulation).

But if you've enjoyed our time-honored, time-killing services, and have a few bucks to spare, we would greatly appreciate anything you could manage.   You can click the button at the top left of the blog, or, if pay is not your pal, please email me at scott.clevenger-at-gmail.com, and I'll send you our snail mail address.

Thanks.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Inquisition

It's been awhile since we looked in on radio scold Michael Medved, largely because his wife, Dr. Diane Medved, has been much more entertaining, what with her dedication to treating the PTSD of monied matrons scarred by the sight of hobos in Hawaii.  As a result, we missed the news that pundit and oatmeal spokesman Warner Todd Huston drummed Michael out of the Right Wing, in a ceremony similar to the opening credits of Branded, in which a U.S. Army officer strips the epaulettes and brass buttons off Chuck Connors' Cavalry uniform, except it's hard to picture either Warner or Michael actually serving in the military, so it's actually more like that scene in I Love Lucy when Lucy and Ethel wear the same outfit to a charity talent show, and wind up ripping the bugle beads and ruffles off each others gown while warbling a duet of Cole Porter's "Friendship."
Fig. 1:  Warner Todd Huston confronts Michael Medved on his inadequate fealty to conservative principles (Dramatization).
An Example of Why Radio Host Michael Medved is No Conservative
Michael Medved is touted as a “conservative” radio host from the Salem Radio Network. But just how conservative is he?
I always thought he went up to 11, but perhaps I'm confusing that with his IQ.
One has to wonder with his constant dismissive attacks against any and every conservative politician. But this week he revealed another reason why he is less conservative than he pretends.
This week's episode of Michael Medved, Secret Beatnik is brought to you by Prell Concentrate, and new Liquid Prell.  It leaves your enormous mustache Radiantly Alive™.
Medved started his political life working for the Kennedy’s in the 60s, so like many young people he started out as a liberal. But from his radio show yesterday it seems pretty plain that he never really turned the corner from a big government liberal to a true conservative.
I can't wait to find out which crime of Wrong Think Michael committed.  Perhaps he enabled Moocherism by dropping a quarter in the honor jar next to the coffee maker in the radio station break room.
He obviously still has a ton of far left beliefs in the wondermentatudenousness that is government.
You can tell Warner has been reading Hayek in the original German, because his compound nouns are really coming along nicely.
The subject of Obama’s tax on the Christian Christmas icon, the Christmas tree came up on his Tuesday radio program. Obama floated the idea that a 15 cents per tree federal tax should be put on Christmas trees this year to fund another bloated boondoggle government agency.
No...really, Warner?  Seriously?  Hoo boy, this is even better than I'd hoped.  Not only is the insufferable Michael Medved getting attacked from the right, but he's the victim of an archetypal wingnut smear.

As Steve Benen noted:
It seemed like a simple little idea. The Christmas tree industry, which has been struggling in recent years, wanted to fund a promotional program, encouraging consumers to buy real, rather than artificial, trees over the holiday season. The idea was for Christmas trees to follow in the footsteps of milk, beef, and cotton, all of which benefited from successful promotional campaigns.
To pay for the effort, the industry launched the Christmas Tree Promotion, Research and Information Order, asking the Agriculture Department to approve a 15-cent fee, per tree, on domestic producers and importers. It was requested by the industry, to benefit the industry, and to be paid for by the industry.
In other words, it's not a "tax," and it didn't original with the Obama Administration.  An industry trade group asked the USDA to approve a "check-off" (basically an assessment on the industry by the industry) to fund a private-public promotion and marketing campaign designed to encourage consumers to buy real Christmas trees (rather than the artificial trees they increasingly prefer).

Media Matters explained:
Examples of other agricultural commodity Checkoffs include the egg, beef, pork, mushroom, milk, and honey, etc. industries. We're all familiar with the Dairy industry's ad campaigns; "Milk Does a Body Good" and "Got Milk." "Pork: the Other White Meat," "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" and "The Incredible Edible Egg" are recognizable slogans developed and funded by Checkoff programs. These four 'big guns' collect between $45 and $91.2 million in assessments annually.

Funding for promotions and research comes from within each industry.
However, the Heritage Foundation issued a shrieking denunciation of a thing that isn't happening, which was picked up, of course, by Drudge, and that was good enough for the Gateway Pundit.  Eventually, it dripped down the inseam of the right wing blogosphere until it finally puddled in Warner, who I like to think of as the comfortable old shoe of wingnuttia.

But while the others tut-tutted about governmental overreach, Warner took the whole thing very personally, to the point of swearing out an indictment against one of the higher profile members of the tribe for high treason in the War on Christmas.  Perhaps because Medved isn't really a member of the tribe...
Michael Medved reveald his complete unconcern over this intrusion of the federal government on our Christian holiday.
Medved, like Dennis Prager, is not shy about professing his Orthodox Jewish faith, so either Warner is incredibly tone deaf, or he's trying to make a point of some kind here...
He argued on his radio show that this tax on Christmas trees is no big deal because it’s “only fifteen cents per tree.”

Of course a principled conservative would be against this idiotic tax even if it were but one penny per hundred trees!!
This reminds me of the way David Arquette's character in Ready to Rumble reacted to any suggestiopn that WWF matches were staged managed, by screaming, "Wrestling's not FAAAAAAKE!"

So since it's a voluntary assessment proposed by the industry itself, I assume Warner either doesn't know what a "tax" is, or he is vehemently opposed to trade group advertising campaigns on principle, because they reek of Stalinist collectivism.  I imagine him glowering at his TV, his voice rising in volume and pitch every time another one of these commercials came on: "Got Milk?  Got bullshit!...Pork: the Other Bullshit Meat!...Beef?  It's what's for BULLSHIT!"
The point is there is no need for this tax, no need for this program to advertise Christmas trees (even if the Christmas tree industry wants the tax), and most especially no need for yet another bloated federal bureaucracy for Christmas trees!
The FDA has been organizing these campaigns for decades, and seems to have no difficulty coordinating the efforts of huge industries such as beef and dairy, but it's clearly going require the creation of a new government agency and a massive, Manhattan Project-sized effort to promote these seasonal holiday decorations.
As they say, there is nothing so permanent as a government program and this one would be just another government boondoggle that would grow and grow until it cost us billions a day like so many other useless government agencies.
Yes, the Real Christmas Tree Awareness Program is destined -- some would say doomed -- to become the next Social Security or Department of Homeland Security.  Certainly we've been living under the National Egg Board bootheel for most of our lives.  But I'm curious -- how is this going to "cost us billions," when the money comes from Christmas tree producers (and the beneficiaries of the program) themselves?  I suppose you could say "they'll just pass along the cost to consumers," but that's true of every advertising campaign (who do you think bought those pearls the silken-haired models were always plunking into bottles of Prell shampoo?  You, Comrade!), and of course, to avoid paying this "tax," you can simply forgo the purchase of a Christmas tree, which most people are doing anyway, which is why the tree farmers want the USDA to pimp their product in the first place.
Worse, how long would it be until this new unnecessary government agency would begin to ask for more money and more powers over Christmas with the faux justification that it is promoting it?
How long before we have a Cabinet level Department of Christmas?  (I have to admit that the idea of, say, the Undersecretary of Yuletide Affairs attempting to gain "power of Christmas" sounds like a 30-minute holiday classic just waiting to happen, and I sincerely hope Rankin/Bass will get right on that.)
That Michael Medved doesn’t see this and isn’t concerned about birthing another wasteful government agency and giving this agency new controls over our lives, well it pretty much shows that he — admittedly once a liberal — never really did become a true conservative.
Maybe Michael thinks that just because he's Jewish he'll be exempt from service to the USDC, and won't be forced at the point of a Wham-O Air Blaster to toil in their underground tinsel caves.
With friends like Medved, who needs enemies?
Apparently you do, Warner.  And the supply must be drying up if you've actually sunk to cooking Michael Medved in a spoon.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Happiness is a Warm Utensil Edition

Traditionally, winter is the time when Randian Ants get to tell Looter Locusts "I Told You So" and "Suck it" -- pretty much in that order.  But it's also a time of feline rapprochement, for as the temperature drops, the minor squabbles over toys, territory, and food bowl protocol tend to be set aside in the greater interest of cuddling on the couch.  It's much like the ecumenical spirit which thrives amongst the world's great faiths during this holiday season, although so far the Pope has successfully resisted the impulse to spoon the Jews.
Moondoggie:  Dude, look...you said, "Get a room."  We got one.  It's called the living room.  Now can you get lost?  I mean, come on -- I hung a flea collar on the door.
Moondoggie:  I swear, if you don't put that camera down, I'm gonna sue you for harassazzzzzz..."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

J-Lo Sentences You to...The Cell!

I was listening to the Fat Guys At The Movies podcast ("Episode 238, King Kong vs. Dirk Diggler"), featuring our friend Ike (of the Pop Culture guru duo Mike & Ike), and the conversation turned to Tarsem Singh's Immortals -- which, if you've turned on a TV or sat through the trailers in a movie theater lately, you've probably been unable to avoid knowing exists, and which opens today.

Now, we have a rule against doing BLTBM-style reviews of films while they're still in first run release -- an easy guideline to follow, since most of the movies we write about don't linger (or malinger) long at the multiplex.  Still, we're occasionally tempted to break Ape Law, and this picture looks particularly juicy: willowy young men pirouetting madly in pleated miniskirts, bronze-clad warriors attempting and failing to organize a phalanx in zero-gravity, and Mickey Rourke sporting a rhinestone-studded hockey mask and muttering "Releez da titans," like a bleary-eyed Redwings fan hunched over a bar after ordering five too many boilermakers.

Anyway, Ike reminded the audience that one of Tarsem's earlier, funny films was The Cell, which, coincidentally, is featured in the Psycho Therapist chapter of our currently-under-construction sequel to Better Living Through Bad Movies.  So please enjoy this preview of coming attractions.  The review is by s.z.  The cantilevered butt cheeks are courtesy of Jennifer Lopez.
The Cell (2000)
Directed by Tarsem Singh
Written by Mark Protosevich

Tagline: "This summer... enter the mind of a killer."

And as an added bonus, enter the mind of a Jennifer Lopez!  As you might imagine, it’s full of expensive, bizarre clothes, MTV videos, and a violent man in trouble with the law. Plus, lots of derriere jokes!

The Dreamscape/In Dreams/What Dreams May Come part our movie begins with Jennifer of Arabia riding her horse across the sands while wearing a wedding gown she apparently borrowed from Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law.  See, Jennifer is a child psychologist thingy who, through the marvels of unexplained science, can enter the mind of her patient, a catatonic kid who hates water.  Her therapy sessions consist of her donning a red rubber cat suit (ribbed for our pleasure), getting hooked up to a Playskool My First Matrix machine, then invading the boy’s subconscious to urge him to Just Say No to schizophrenia.

Jennifer, a highly trained mental health professional, says earnestly, "He’s living in a world that’s not healthy," and wants to reverse the polarity on the mind-melding device, which, as we know from Ghostbusters, is highly dangerous.  Her scientist colleagues shoot down the idea, so Jen goes home and smokes pot in her underwear, while generously shoving her butt at the camera.  The scientific community's argument is now invalid.

Meanwhile, in the Silence of the Lambs/Seven/Swingers portion of our movie, FBI agent Vince Vaughn, looking like he’s suffering from a serious case of cotton-mouth and dope lag, is trying to locate an appropriately bizarre serial killer to spice up the movie.  Vince just got his big break in the case: a dog hair, which DMV records indicate belongs to Vincent D’Onofrio.  But just seconds before Vince breaks down the door, D’Onofrio takes a bath, which causes him to have a seizure, rendering him totally catatonic. 

Even worse, Bad Vince grabbed a new victim while Good Vince was waiting in line at the DMV, and since the girl is trapped in Bad Vince’s automated aquarium, she will drown within a few hours. To add suspense to the movie, why don’t you hold your breath until the girl is located? (Full disclosure: We tried this and passed out several times, but feel that our ability to appreciate the director’s singular vision was only enhanced by the hypoxia and serial concussions.)

Vince takes Bad Vince to a specialist in bath-tub related disorders, who says that he is suffering from a rare form of schizophrenia triggered by a trauma involving Mr. Bubble....exactly like the kid in the first part of the movie.  What are the odds! The doc explains that drugs can’t help and the catatonia is permanent, so it looks like the girl is doomed.

Vince asks Jennifer if she can get the girl’s location from the mind of the killer.  She wrinkles her brow, looks puzzled, and in her best Melanie Griffith voice states, "For severe schizophrenics there's no difference between fantasy and reality."  Yup, Jen is one of the nation’s most gifted psychologists — and probably attended the same institute of higher education as Dr. Christmas Jones, the 22-year-old world-renowned nuclear physicist/underwear model in The World is Not Enough.

And that brings up a very important question: what would Jennifer’s Bond Girl name be? We lean toward "Professor Bébé Gottbach, Ph.D." -- but feel free to come up with your own.

Anyway, Jennifer enters Bad Vince’s head, sees a boy, and follows him to a barn.  He pushes her away from a horse just as panes of glass fall from the ceiling, sectioning the animal into a science project ("the living horse’) or into steak for the Black Angus restaurant chain.  This symbolizes the damage done to D’Onofrio’s young psyche by the theme song from Mr. Ed.

Suddenly, she encounters a king wearing a purple cape that extends for miles.  Jennifer is horrified, because the cape makes his butt look really big, and her contract contains an ironclad No Compete clause.  She signals to her colleagues that she wants out of Bad Vince’s twisted mind now!

Good Vince asks her to go back, since she didn’t come up with any useful information except that Bad Vince -- in the tradition of movie serial killers like Leatherface, and Buffalo Bill -- murdered King Friday and is wearing his skin.

For Dr. Jennifer’s encore appearance in Bad Vince’s mind, the director, remembering his acclaimed "Losing My Religion" video, has D’Onofrio dress like a demon (you know, Clown White greasepaint, two pigtails dangling from his forehead, and a pair of brass rings pinching his nipples, which I bet his wife is going to be irritated about when she goes to wash her hair and notices the shower curtain is sagging).  Then Bad Vince licks Jen, which suddenly convinces her that his world is reality, just like the foreshadowing said would happen!  The scientists are powerless to help her because turning off the equipment now would cause them to lose their Quake game.  But Vince remembers the third rubber cat suit, and prepares to barge into D’Onofrio’s subconscious too.  The scientists advise him that the way to snap Jennifer back is to "Hit her with something personal," like Mr. Blackwell’s Worst Dressed list.

Vince sees a rainbow of fruit colors, eats some Skittles, and then encounters Jennifer, now wearing a skimpy black lace outfit, orthodontic headgear, and Queen Amidala’s hair.  She smiles cruelly as D’Onofrio pokes a hole in Vince’s tummy and pulls out his intestines, using a Ronco device made just for that purpose ("And boy, does it catch intestines!"). Vince remembers the scientists’ recommendation and confronts Jen with something painful from her past. "You were in Anaconda!" he yells, and the shame frees her—unfortunately, to make Gigli.
"You'd tell me if I looked stupid, right?"

Vince spots the logos on the machinery holding Bad Vince’s mind together and deduces where the girl is being held.  So, with Jennifer rescued and the case solved, his work here is done. However, Jen knows there are more cool outfits for her to wear, so she locks the doors to the lab, reverses the polarity on the machine, and joins minds with Bad Vince again.

This time she finds herself dressed as a nun playing Santa Claus in an Obsession ad. She beatifically tells the boy that she came back to help him like she promised.  Then D’Onofrio appears, now made-up like Dirk Benedict in Sssssss.  Jennifer changes into a black leather cat suit and black lipstick and wails on Bad Vince while shouting the diva’s traditional battle cry: "My world, my rules!" And her chief rule is: nobody upstages me and lives!  

She stabs D’Onofrio repeatedly, but he merely smiles, demonstrating that even in her own mind Jennifer is an amazingly feeb.  So she changes back into the nun outfit and drowns the boy, which is shocking unless you went to Catholic school.

It’s several days later. Vince, more lethargic and hungover than ever, is at D’Onofrio's house, looking for loose change.  Jennifer shows up, looking for closure.  Vince tells Jennifer he remembers only pieces of his experience with her, and says something about a "drug-fueled mind-bender," which, coincidentally, is how Jennifer would later describe the experience of being trapped in an elevator with Paula Abdul.  They half-heartedly say thanks and good-bye.  Jen goes back to the Vogue shoot in her young patient’s mind, while Vince returns to FBI Headquarters to file his report and smoke a bowl of Super Lemon Haze with  Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.  Finis.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This is All I Have to Say About That

Dear Penn State rioters:

If you can put "child rape" and "winning college football games" on the Scales of Justice, and football wins, then you're exactly the kind of person who ought to spend your professional life weighing a witch and a duck.
 "It's a fair cop."
So consider changing your major now.  There are many exciting opportunities for sociopaths in the burgeoning field of Wiccan/Mallard Metrics!

And don't feel bad for Joe Paterno.  After 15 years of Looking the Other Way, he's got the neck flexibility of Linda Blair in The Exorcist, and that's got to come in handy when parallel parking.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fabian Society Radicals Pooped in My Snuff Box!

Washington Post Opinion columnist and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson is uniquely qualified to comment on the similarities between the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011, and the anti-war demonstrations of the 1960s.  As most pediatric psychologists will tell you, the first five years of a child's life are the most formative, and Gerson was born in 1964, making him three years old in the Summer of Love, and five at the time of Woodstock and the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, getting in just under the formative wire.  As a result, when he looks back upon his most vivid and influential recollections, he finds that they are inextricably linked with a disastrous upending of social and cultural norms, a brazen challenge to political orthodoxy, and near constant bed-wetting.

But before we plunge into his Mix 'n' Match exercise, we should probably ask ourselves who this confused-looking fellow in the photo above really is?  According to Wikipedia, "He served as President George W. Bush's chief speechwriter from 2001 until June 2006, as a senior policy advisor from 2000 through June 2006" -- when all of the Bush Administration's most important policy fuck-ups were conceived and executed.

In the Feburary 7, 2005 issue of Time, "Gerson was named as one of 'The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals In America'" (he came in 9th, but there were accusations of illegal performance enhancement by his fellow snake-handlers, who claimed Gerson dosed himself before particularly important or ecstatic religious services with large intramuscular injections of rattlesnake anti-venom).  As for the highlights of his speechwriting career:
Gerson proposed the use of a "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" metaphor during a September 5, 2002 meeting of the White House Iraq Group, in an effort to sell the American public on the nuclear dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
Gerson coined "the soft bigotry of low expectations" and "the armies of compassion." His noteworthy phrases for Bush are said to include "Axis of Evil", a phrase adapted from "axis of hatred", itself suggested by fellow speechwriter David Frum but deemed too mild.

According to Matthew Scully, who worked with him for five years, Gerson is a "self-publicizing" glory hog guilty of "foolish vanity", "sheer pettiness" and "credit hounding". In Scully's account, Gerson did not come up with the language that made him famous. "Few lines of note were written by Mike ... and none at all that come to mind from the post-9/11 addresses -- not even 'axis of evil'."
Small wonder the Washington Post snapped up Gerson to fill the Chair in Advanced Plagiarism Studies after Ben Domenech resigned his position to spend more time with other peoples' writing.

So let's enjoy his fresh take on the lèse-majesté of our latter day hippies:
As radicalism creeps in, credibility retreats from OWS
At what point does a protest movement become an excuse for camping? 
And at what point does camping become an excuse for a protest movement?  When I was in Boy Scouts, that moment came when Mr. Fischer, the fill-in Scoutmaster dropped a lantern, setting one of our World War II-era Baker tents on fire, and burning up two rain ponchos and most of our toilet paper.
 At what point is utopianism discredited by the seedy, dangerous, derelict fun fair it creates?
At what point is a pure Aryan society discredited by the race-mixing, mongrelizing action of the Play-Doh Fun Factory?
The emergence of Occupy Wall Street raised Democratic hopes for the emergence of a leftist equivalent to the Tea Party movement. The comparison is now laughable.
Exactly.  Where are the stirring orations and the Charlie Daniels Band medleys?  Where are the posters of Obama as Witchdoctor Hitler?  Where are the holstered Glocks and the slung AR-15s?  And most important, where are the patriots in their silken knee britches and tricorner hats, riding their Hoverounds through town to warn the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, by ringing those bells, and makin' sure to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed?  Huh?  I ask you.
Set aside, for a moment, the reports of sexual assault in Zuccotti Park and the penchant for public urination.
"I say, Old Bean, I don't know about you, but I've been seized by a mad fancy for an al fresco whiz."
Tea Party activists may hate politicians, but they venerate American political institutions. Veneration does not always involve understanding. But the Tea Party’s goal is democratic influence. 
Let's take a moment to applaud their efforts to gain influence over institutions they don't understand.  And to note the odd coincidence that "veneration" and "urination" rhyme.
On its tie-dyed surface, the OWS movement seems little more than a confused collection of grievances.
Why, when one of these greasy-haired, leather-clad, cycle-straddling delinquents was asked what he and his cohort were rebelling against, he responded inanely, "Whaddya got?"

But there is some ideological coherence within OWS. Its collectivist people’s councils seem to have two main inspirations: socialism (often Marxist socialism) and anarchism.  [...]  That is the opposite of participatory democracy — the use of power to intimidate a fellow citizen on a public street. It is the method of British soccer thugs.

In Oakland, protesters have been playing at the Paris Commune — constructing barricades, setting fires, throwing concrete blocks and explosives, declaring a general strike to stop the “flow of capital” at the port.
Not to mention deflecting tear gas canisters with their heads, which is more the method of British soccer players.
Here, OWS seems to be taking its cues from both “Rules for Radicals” and “A Clockwork Orange.”
While Michael seems to be taking his cues from the first scenes of Battleship Potemkin, and the last scene of Easy Rider.
Defenders of OWS dismiss this as the work of a few bad apples. But the transgressors would call themselves the vanguard.
Detractors of our corporate media would call Gerson a fawning, bum-sucking courtier to a Mammon-worshiping oligarchy.  But Michael would say, "I'm sorry, I can't talk with Charles' and David's Koch in my mouth.  But I will take bets on which one of them you think will win the sword fight."
Since the 1960s, some on the political left have sought liberal reform through the democratic process and nonviolent protest.
Prior to that, though, it was all tumbrels and guillotines.  As every schoolboy knows, President Benjamin Harrison signed the Sherman Anti-Trust in the blood of J.P. Morgan, using the tycoon's still spurting neck stump as an inkwell.
Others have sought to hasten the crisis and collapse of fundamentally illegitimate social and economic systems. Both groups can be found within OWS, but the latter is ascendant.
Still others, like Michael, have bravely defended a fundamentally illegitimate social and economic system, even going so far as to record YouTube videos assuring the bullied plutocrats that "It Gets Better."
City governments have also begun to look hapless for their accommodation of squalor, robberies, sexual attacks, drug use, vagrancy and vigilantism.
Although I hear Mega City-One is having a good deal of success with its new "Street Judge" program.
And what must Democratic leaders — who rushed to identify with a protean political force — now be thinking? OWS is not a seminar on income inequality — not the Center for American Progress on a camping trip. It is a leftist movement with a militant wing.
In other words, it's the worst nightmare of both Michael Gerson and Congressional Democrats: liberals who are actually pissed off enough to fight back.
Will Americans, looking for jobs, turn in hope to the vandalization of small businesses and the promise of a general strike? Will citizens, disappointed by a dysfunctional government, be impressed by the endless arguments of anarchist collectives? Will people, disgusted by partisanship and rhetorical rock-throwing, be attracted to actual rock throwing?
Will Brenda tell her fiance Jack that she actually married Stavros, the Greek shipping magnate while she was suffering from amnesia?  Will Joe and Betty be able to dig their way out of the collapsed mine shaft in time, or will Aunt Susan be forced to give birth in an old ore cart?  Will a lazy columnist padding out his 800 words resort to the kind of breathless, cliffhanger questions associated with the climax of a radio soap opera and the sting of a Hammond organ?

Tune in tomorrow.
This seems to be the desperate political calculation of the Democratic Party. Good luck with that. 
Thanks, Michael.  And best of luck with Herman Cain as your front runner (you were right -- that merger with the Tea Party by the Republican leadership in 2008 was a smart investment.  Will the OWS movement still be paying these kinds of dividends three years from now?  Good luck with that, indeed).