Sunday, September 26, 2010

CNN: the most trusted name in Teh Suck

Yeah, but when do I get the REAL drugs?

Ah, Sunday morning for the un-churched (as the local fundie fusspots like to call us), us great unwashed, unshaven, uninterested in anything other than a lazy bacon and egg breakfast, copious amounts of coffee and political blather on the box.
Every Sunday, watching the babbling rabble opine and pretty much get everything impeccably wrong and wondering why I allow those those fluffheads, zippernits and thimbledicks to chew up a few of my weekend hours, a testament to my ability to suffer fools gladly and spill a few drams of Bloody Mary.
Inside the Beltway, incompetence and a complete lack of perspicuity are rewarded with keys to lobbyist's security boxes and the Cadillac Escalade that broadcasts its OnStar like a CB radio, wheels in the ditch, forehead full on in an air bag.
In the midst of cleaning up kid detritus, Fareed Zakaria (the least odious and best informed of the Sunday chatter-monkeys) finished up his show, followed by the grinning boobs who spew the news. I usually allow the shining teeth crew about 15 minutes of mindless reporting (just in case an asteroid is heading straight for us and I have to pack an overnight bag) then crank up some tunes over a muted football game.
Today's leading (and incessant) story was some homophobic preacher from a Wal-Mart church denying he'd plied teenage boys with sports cars for some of the fun that turned Sodom and Gomorrah into sand and stone -- just like the surrounding landscape.
Normally, when some shitbag religious hypocrite/bigot gets caught with his pump still workin' cuz' the vandals still have their hands on the handle, I get the kind of hard on that would have have made Ted Haggard seek out man hands for his back -- and front.
However, CNN has been raping the corpse of this story as if it was still lactating. For fuck's sake, it's been a week and yes, homophobic preacher, boys with toys due to preacher's largess, doo-dah. Barely a footnote much less four days worth of reporting. CNN, however, made fag-hating fag preacher yet another top story and half hour of mindless
Just before I almost shut down the jabbering idiots, "Dad bloggers are increasing in popularity," teased me past the commercial break. CNN acting like Dad bloggers had just landed on the planet and asked for infants stuffed with kittens, then slow roasted with a red wine sauce.
I've been doing this "dad blogger" thing (off and on) for about five years and I've come to know several "dad bloggers" that warrant recognition; of course, none of them were mentioned in CNN's report. Instead, the focus was on several SAHDs (Stay at Home Dads), one who's wife was "A high powered attorney" and several others with way too much time on their hands (I assumed the wife cooks and does the laundry, despite their sad SAHD status, the bozos looked like pantie wastes).
Whoop-dee-fucking-doo. The dad blogger has been around for years and suddenly see, see, CNN walks in on the party with their borderline retardation and Pabst Blue Ribbon and grinning cluelessness to celebrate a few fat fucks with about as much parenting savvy as an Inernet connection and a nubile, nympho nanny.
Fuck those idiots and the whores they rode in on. If I was living at home while my "high powered attorney" spouse was bringing home the scratch, at the very least, I'd work on being a better writer, engineering a better site at best.
I await CNN to talk to a dad who raises his kids on his own but I assume they're working on the next story, a dog with two heads or the snake in John Boehner's pants.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

3000 miles of delicious

First of all, go check out this site:
I met these hotties while covering a chi-chi soirée on Friday night (a post on that, later. Their site is fun, an ultimate kick-ass road trip. Give em' a visit and say hello.

The Pied (or Pie-eyed) pipers of happy drunks...

2 out of 3 hotties agree: Karen is the rockinest bartender in all of Pagosaland.

Happy travels, my dears... it was a distinct pleasure crossing your path!

Q: It is to be handled with special care! Bond: Everything you give me... Q: treated with equal contempt. Yes, I know.

My girls came along first.

Initially, a whiny, crying difficult child who maintained her distance from the beginning but, through the years, became mellow and laid back, a jeans and t-shirt girl who skis like a fiend, flies down the mountain with aplomb, turns her skis into a stop and asks, “Are you planning on making your way down the hill?” A girl who has realized the role of leader of my brood and wrapped her younger siblings beneath her wings, chucked her beak skyward to accept what sunlight offered to warm her dark, amber eyes.

My Golden Girl, the one so invested in being “good” that, when things turn against her, she cries at the thought of being “bad,” puts down what I don’t want her to do and fills up her eyes with tears with shame, stricken by the sense that she has, in some way, done wrong.

The second was, from almost day one, scooting across the floor to greet me after work, standing up in her crib, arms wide open, to send me off to work, the Daddy’s Girl. Unlike her sister, she became, through the years, the “girly girl,” playing soccer only because she could shine (yet, shining brightly) and, in her own way, attempting to usurp her sister’s “Golden Girl” status despite no investment in being “good” — she cried not because she was ashamed at being wrong, but because she wanted to continue whatever it was that I’d decided was not what she wanted to do.

Raising two girls, very different, I was convinced I was prepared to raise a son; I learned I, um, had a lot to learn.

Once, I read a feminist author who, under my same delusion, assumed that raising a child was a matter of socialization, that gender would not matter to any great degree. In her essay, she identified the “Q” gene — the sound a little boy makes when he points his finger at someone else and spouts out, “cue, cue, cue,” to sound like a gun firing — surmising that the Q gene was inborn and a boy would, lacking a toy gun, create his own.

Little girls don’t make those sounds, point their fingers thusly. Little girls rarely pretend they’re shooting anyone.

Little boys do.

I was unprepared for the “boy” energy – girls crying because a HotWheels car had been bounced off of someone’s head, a little girl had been rolled on the floor and rubbed down with Play-Dough, Barbies desecrated and tossed to the Lego fire that I was supposed to tamp or raise — I was used to little ladies who held a pinky out as they held their tea cup, not a monster chewing at the sides of the saucer and grinning like a fiend as he destroyed whatever stood as “sister” stuff.

Yet, my Little Man is hugely protective of his sisters and indeed, anyone female. He once took on three boys, all two years older, to protect the younger girl those boys picked on. He brought home a “pink slip” for punching, kicking, biting and spitting, earning a lecture from me — and silent approval.

He will be ten times the man I wanted to be; putting his coat down for his queen, taking up a challenge for a woman scorned. Converse to Stone Temple Pilots, not “half the man I used to be,” but so much more than I ever will be.

Given that, am compelled to make a mix for my little boy – and all little boys.

Of course, I used to be a little boy as well; not your typical little boy, but I think what it’s like to be young and wanting to be a hero. After all, there is nothing else a little boy aspires to be other than a hero, a hero to his mom, dad, siblings, society and everything else. So, here is my little boy mix, standing outside myself and wondering where our next generation will go. Given the example of my son, we’re going to do pretty damned well.

Lyle Lovett — If I Had a Boat; probably the best song about being a little boy, taking his pony out on a boat, knowing his sneakers are better than lightning and girls are icky. Few songs are better than this.

They Might Be Giants — Particle Man; ridiculous stuff but if you’re creating a mix for a little boy, why not? If Universe Man can degrade Person Man (beneath Degraded Man, of course), then anything is possible for a little boy.

Africando —Yah Boy; There’s no equivocation here; Yah Boy and nothing else.

Eminem — The Real Slim Shady; kind of creepy (listening to his entire story) but the kid should realize who should stand up and declare himself not so screwed up … Slim Shady won’t have enough to muscle (but enough spine) to shove his face forward and scream… God knows, better him than us.

Kanye West — Jesus Walks; it doesn’t matter if your kid is Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or whatever, Kanye shakes ya’ll down, asks where you’re at and then demands you make a stand. Eminem is a clown; in comparison, Kanye is a prophet. “I want to talk to God but I’m afraid because we ain’t spoke in so long,” is, honestly, something Kanye ties us all into, between prostitutes, politicians and everyone else. The hate comes from fear and outdated thinking (look at Prop 8), the love apparently arising from music.

Gorillaz — Clint Eastwood; Little Man and I spend Saturdays watching Westerns, some Clint Eastwood, but mostly John Wayne. I wonder what the Duke would make of, “The essence the basics Without it you make it/Allow me to make this/Childlike in nature/Rhythm /You have it or you don’t that’s a fallacy/I’m in them/Every sprouting tree /Every child apiece/Every cloud you see /You see with your eyes/I see destruction and demise/Corruption in disguise/From this f*****’ enterprise/Now I’m sucking to your lies/Through Russ, though not his muscles but the percussion he provides/with me as a guide/But ya’ll can see me now cos you don’t see with your eye /You perceive with your mind.”

I assume Clint Eastwood would be appalled, but Little Man and I laugh both at him, the Duke, their thin, coffee shop philosophy and a code that never really existed but in a Hollywood script. Libertarianism is stupidity served up on a cracker, a trifle for tastes too unsophisticated for complexity.

Blur — Song #2; Really, why not? Whoo-Hoo!!! Although the song sounds celebratory, it’s actually a kick to our collective solar plexus (plexes?), the joy of wrecking things — something little boys are prone to do. Despite this song’s ubiquitous appearance in commercials and movies, I never tire of its idiotic glee with woo-hooing about wrecking stuff.

Suicidal Tendencies —Institutionalized; sent to a Nut House merely for asking for a Pepsi. We all suspect that Mike’s parents needed more drugs and Mike needed to own up for whatever weird stuff led his parents to come in his room and make a scene. More than that, we wonder why a Pepsi might be a metaphor for dope.

NOFX — Suits and Ladders; do I really need to say anything here? Fair warning for our sons, I suppose, the ladder entails wearing a suit and really, who wants to do that?

Descendents — Suburban Home; I used to have this as a ring tone for whenever my parents called. If this is the least of Little Man’s stabs at irony, I’ve done well.

Bad Brains — Pay to c***m; Little Man heard this song and asked me if music could be any harder; I told him, “No, not much.” Included here because the song makes my little man move (and I defy anyone to say they can understand any of the lyrics).

Girls Against Boys — Rockets Are Red; boys know this. Applying that knowledge is another matter. A sneering playground taunt of the caliber little boys are know to make and a whole lot of fun.

A.C. Newman — Submarines of Stockholm; the best 60-ish psychedelic song of the last decade. If my son eats acid, I hope I’m there to catch him before he takes an irreparable leap.

The Beatles — Maxwell’s Silver Hammer; when we were heading to hand the kids off to my ex for the summer, Little Man kept asking to hear this song… should I be afraid?

R.E.M. — Superman; never an REM fan, I have to say that the fact they covered this obscure garage band tune elevated them in my estimation (see also, Golden Palominos, “Omaha”). An incredible little boy song as it captures the bravado of a cape made out of a bed sheet and socks stuffed up sleeves to make muscles.

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists — I’m a Ghost; another perfect little boy song, even if it’s about being in love, completely, unconditionally. If Little Man knew what this song was about, he’d ask what the hell was up with Scooby-Doo and Shaggy. Really.

TV on the Radio — Wolf Like Me; a song feeling like being shot out of a cannon and ripped through the tops of trees. More bravado and superhero posing which, well, what this mix is supposed to be about.

Rolling Stones — Can’t You Hear Me Knocking; ostensibly a song about a stalker but honestly, if Jagger and Richards came knocking at your window, you’d call the cops? That would be like Christ speaking at your church and saying, “Yeah, let’s nail this guy to some tree.”

Frank Zappa — Broken Hearts Are For A*****s; because an 8-year old boy should know better. And that little boy would completely agree with Zappa on this one.

Stevie Wonder — I Wish; I guess Little Man should appreciate that I don’t slap him around the way Stevie was, but then, will he be as successful as a blind African-American musician?

Radiohead — Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased); wow. Time to go to bed or… Sheesh. My whole, “Songs For a Little Man” idea seems to end on a bad note and,

Half-Japanese — Baby Wants Music; heh. Not like this.

Honest, these songs are for a little boy and he’ll appreciate you going to the trouble of making the mix. If he, in later years, blames his disposition on this mix, turn your finger towards me.

It wouldn’t be the first time. The Q sounds, I assume, will continue.

Little boys need their guns. No matter how much I try to turn him away from that nitwittery, I know he’ll somehow be bigger, more powerful with the Q satisfied.

For me… I make mixes, my noise, my Q.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy "Even though I didn't die and didn't know anyone who did on 9/11, it's my day to hate," day

While the kids and I roasted wienies on a few blazing copies of the Koran ("Quran" if you're not wearing some fruity biker mustache and flimsy comb-over in a failed attempt to deny your parents weren't related, in any way, before they begot another Elmer Gantry), chatting about killing moozlim babies and merkin baby killers, it was remarked how all brown people are really the enemy. "Agreed," I said, looking for another Koran to stoke the fire and, not finding one, grabbed a Torah scroll (they make great Yule logs, BTW).
Wienies consumed and brown people hiding out and calling the cops (apparently I have a constitutional right to own a gun but not to actually point it at people and fire it. What fun is that?), we strapped bibles on the bottoms of our feet and stomped out the fire, singing "My god is an awesome god; your god is substandard, at best."
Swaying back and forth, with our arms in the air and our eyes closed, we stomped those cinders dead.
Unstrapping the bibles from our feet, my son asked why 9/11 was such an important day.
"Why did they fly planes into buildings?" he asked, "and isn't a few more than three thousand dead kind of, um, small potatoes?
"You mean like a few million dead in Sudan?"
“Yeah, that, but why fly airliners into skyscrapers? And why those buildings?”
Chickens coming home to roost, I told him.
Watching the metaphor in his mind (he’d just “metaphor” in school), his eyes tracked a chicken screaming across the sky to topple a tall building, while soldiers torched families in mud huts.
“2 million in Sudan?”
“Two, three, who’s counting? At least ten times that many die in Africa every year due to famine, disease and thug governments.”
“So when is Africa Day?”
Too many brown people, I told him. Not gonna’ happen.
His mind again tracked metaphors and seeking out chickens, counted the eggs, knowing that more than just a few would hatch.
“So what am I going to do with these?” he asked, waving the bibles from his feet, pages still smoking and stinking of burnt Koran and Torah.
“Toss em’ up in the air.”
And, as soon as he had done that, I peppered it with a burst of my AR-15, bits of paper and shards of leather sprayed across the horizon, shrapnel taking to the air like cabbage moths.
Blasting the next one similarly, we watched bits of Luke and Deuteronomy drift down on pine needles and leaves of scrub oak, snow in September so to speak.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A little post for my little man

He turns eight today. Seems like just yesterday when he was like this.
So, I have a party to plan and Tacos to make; no time for blogging.
Mister would like to pass on this party favor, though:

Thursday, September 09, 2010

We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!


Apologies for having delved into the cream of the crop as far as Rock and Roll cinema — an admittedly mundane exercise in which my poison pen was set on “dull” and aimed in the worst fanboy direction. A nominally interesting column meant to steer the untutored towards some truly great movies but ultimately, my self-indulgence got the best of me; mea culpa.
This week, I steer my craft to the galaxy of stupid and, adjusting my poison pen to “obliterate,” I set my sights on the worst Rock and Roll movies, the ultimate losers, those films that aspired to nothing and inspired even less. The most worthless and meretricious pieces of trash exhibiting a feckless disregard for the music and the viewer, lame ideas germinated in the well-fertilized fields of corporate greedheads and then cultivated for no other reason to feed the fatted, golden calf. Films that didn’t just fall flat, but sagged so low their bellies displaced the detritus, taking their dubious position at the bottom of the barrel.
What binds these turkeys together is their unabashed cynicism; all over-preening big studio releases basted in bombast and barfed upon the movie-going public with no other reach than to the bottom line. More than that, the music — Rock and Roll — takes a back seat to the sludge that the studios, producers, director and everyone else involved dumped on our doorstep like a flaming sack of dog crap.
Last week, I mentioned the gawdawful schmaltz from the late ’50s/early ’60s, a class of dreck unto itself. Doubtlessly, the studio heads responsible for those abortions were due the bad acid trips they inevitably suffered (a twisted karmic retribution where the infantile were reduced to wearing diapers ala David Vitter) but they achieved a level of Technicolor camp, harmless (and mindless) B-movies meant as nothing more than 90 minutes of cotton-candy piffle. They can only be viewed as quaint, in retrospect, like walking down into your grandmother’s basement and finding a washboard and an old ringer dryer — with sufficient imagination and psychotropic adjuncts, the entertainment value is immeasurable (if not perverse).
Conversely, nothing redeems the mangy curs on this list and the only a masochist, strapped down and forced to watch a few minutes of these, would appreciate a single frame of these monstrosities.
Working backwards, from the least worst to the absolute wretched, behold the power of Hollywood to walk the strip in fishnet stockings, stiletto heels and a faux latex miniskirt and ask, “Wanna’ suck on a sewage pipe?”
It has always been my considered opinion that Karaoke is one of the signs of the Apocalypse and “The Rose” (bound to be sung several thousand times a night across the country by tipsy account executives) arose from one of the most overwrought and maudlin cinematic murder scenes ever produced. Why, in 1979, Hollywood felt we needed an extended allegory on the life of Janis Joplin is beyond me; it reminded me of the Monty Python sketch where a slimy movie producer promises Marilyn Monroe to star (her corpse falling out of cupboards or standing in as a footrest).
Bette Midler’s histrionic performance as the drugged-out Rose (“Pearl” — get it?) is all emoting and no emotion, endowing her character with all the psychological depth of a junebug banging against a light bulb. Worse yet, Middler and the music make a travesty of Joplin’s legacy. Whereas Joplin could command her corner of the universe with her boozy, bluesy ferocity and move mountains, the performances in “The Rose” are flat and flatulent, moving little more than my feet to the exit.
The fact that the Academy granted this stinker four nominations merely proves that, with enough powdered sugar, waste products can look like a cruller.
Never a fan of Oliver Stone — “Salvador” and “Wall Street” were OK — I’ve found most of his work pedagogic and preachy. However, as bulimic as his worst excesses are (tons of junk thrown in, followed by the inevitable purge of a movie), “The Doors” (1991) presses the gag reflex beyond human endurance. Between the trippy sequences and the pseudo-spiritual palaver, Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Jim Morrison, while probably accurate, amounts to a movie that (in the words of Roger Ebert) “is like being in a bar with an obnoxious drunk while you’re not drinking.”
Apparently uninterested in endowing his characters with any depth or sympathy (like the incidental cartoons of Mickey and Mallory in “Natural Born Killers”), Stone seems torn between trying to reproduce the high of a peyote trip as well as the gut bomb and somnolent agony of a hangover. He succeeds on the latter; on the former, well, only someone who’s ingested a fistful of buttons knows where that goes.
Neither a fan of Stone’s movies nor much of a fan of The Doors music (though I’ll concede they made several truly great songs, however), I can say that no animals were harmed as I decided this garbage was about as endurable as a BB-sized hole in a molar.
I really, really should have enjoyed “Streets of Fire” (1984). With direction by Walter Hill (“The Warriors,” “48 Hours”), Ry Cooder’s musical direction and the pulp/comic book attempt to tell a “Rock and Roll fable,” the movie should have achieved greatness. Unfortunately, this seven-car pile up amounted to little more than art-house pretention and some truly awful Springsteen mock-ups (compositions courtesy of Jim Steinman, the creator of Meatloaf… nuff’ said) via Eddie and the Cruisers, the band for which “Bruuuuuuuuuce” really is “Booooooooooo!”
I won’t even go into the absurd plot except to say that it merely confirms Willem Dafoe has, by far, the worst actor’s instincts for choosing roles. Michael Paré (with a face looking like silly putty wrapped around the head of a G.I. Joe doll) and Diane Lane (um, actually at her hottie-est) round out a cast babbling out dialog that Raymond Carver would have ascribed to a night of bad whiskey.
The harder this movie attempts to achieve its “fable” status, the more it comes across as an episode of “Robot Chicken” after the writers had huffed gold-speckled spray paint.
Breaking out the Miller’s Analogy Test booklet, “Streets of Fire” is to inhalants as “Tommy” (1975) is to horse tranquilizers and self-induced oxygen deprivation — an interminably bad trip with all the joy of landing face-first on the floor.
With performances by Tina Turner as The Acid Queen, Eric Clapton as The Preacher and Elton John as The Pinball Champ, one wonders how the movie could go so horribly wrong but it does to an extent surpassing “so bad it’s good” territory to “Anyone associated with this road kill of a movie should be sentenced to a year in rehab.”
The blame has, I’ve always believed, largely rested with the confused direction of Ken Russell. Many of his films (“Altered States,” “Gothic,” “The Lair of the White Worm,” among others) have been almost rococo in their surrealistic and hallucinatory elements; in “Tommy,” Russell outdoes himself, splattering the screen with images both sickening and scatological (the scene with Ann-Margret writhing around in a sea of baked beans had all the erotic impact of Don Knotts in a speedo). The more Russell assaults us with fetishist imagery and dumbed-down Dadaism, the more our skin crawls with the distinct sense that we’re watching something filthy (in a John Waters “Pink Flamingos” sense of the word). The result is a execrable piece of cinematic excess that should only be viewed under severe restraints with a ball-gag firmly in place.
Along with casting non-singers like Ann-Margaret and Oliver Reed in principal roles — Ann-Margaret has a two key range (both flat) and Reed moans like a man with a bad hernia — Russell certainly deserves his share of the blame for the 30-car pileup that is “Tommy.” However, the real culprit is producer Robert Stigwood, the same producer of the Gehenna Toilet of bad Rock and Roll movies, by far, the worst of the worst.
Having produced one of the best Rock and Roll movies ever made (“Saturday Night Fever” — see last week’s column) and a passable piece of pop pabulum (“Grease”) back to back, Stigwood decided to embark on an ambitious (if ill-conceived) project in 1978, a cinematic version of The Beatles’ classic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
As careful as The Beatles had been up to that point with their catalog, largely due to their entrenched mutual acrimony, I’m surprised this clunker even made it out of the scrapyard. Unfortunately, the laws of physics and the dictates of good taste were shamelessly violated as this lemon wheezed its way into theaters everywhere, fouling the air wherever it appeared.
With the BeeGees and Peter Frampton starring as the Fab Four (I. Kid. You. Not.), the movie strings together performances by a few late-’70s headliners (Steve Martin, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Earth, Wind and Fire) and a cast of thousands who, for all intents and purposes, wander in and out of scenes as if they’ve lost their way to the buffet table.
The venerable George Burns was enlisted to provide the film’s narration — I guess after playing God it was felt he could raise Lazarus and make him dance like a frog on a hot plate — citing a tale, told by an idiot, full of ear-splitting sound and moronic fury, signifying nothing.
Whatever plot existed in pre-production was subsumed by the musical-revue construction of the film that took over, with bands taking the stage and then shuffled off to make room for the next act, with the ruthless efficiency of a subway turnstile.
As for the performances of Frampton and the BeeGees, to describe it “wooden” would be to deny the organic quality of timber. Their acting repertoire amounts to raising one eyebrow to express pleasure, both to express dismay. Otherwise, “deadpan” takes on an entirely new meaning as they sleepwalk through their roles and even their musical performances exhibit all the animated glee of half-filled water glasses shimmying with the vibration of a passing city bus. Apparently, the shame with which they obviously felt in butchering perfectly good Beatles’ songs held them in some sort of catatonic paralysis.
There was no reason to make this film and even less reason to watch it. The original Beatles’ album was already cinematic in its ambition and effect; putting on the headphones and closing the eyes is more than enough to produce an infinite number of mind movies.
As far as watching Stigwood’s atrocity exhibition: Imagine yourself trapped in a flea-bag hotel room with an hysteric, coked-out drag queen while you watch paint peel. While you have a raging hangover. And your wallet is gone.
That would be heaven compared to watching this movie.
Maybe I’ve been overly cruel in applying my poison pen to these horrible movies. I think not. What was cruel was taking the time to commit these to celluloid and expecting us to be entertained by them. Sometimes, I concede that sociopaths are born and not made, that the extent of sadism knows no bounds.
Watch these movies (this is not a recommendation) and see if I’m right.