Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And baby makes three...or four...depending, Dept.

From the page:
"Palin's daughter gives birth to son named Tripp"

Yes. So, let's review the bidding: the 18-year-old daughter of Alaska's governor gives birth to the bastard of a high school dropout whose mother is currently facing felony drug charges for attempting to sell OxyContin to police informants. And she names the child "Tripp." Presumably in order not to break the run of ass names started by her brother, Track, and brother/son, Trig. Now, let he who is without sin, yatta yatta, but FTW?!? I'm having a very hard time piecing together any additional fillips that could drag this further into Trailerpark Tragedie. I mean, Christ, Sarahcuda's already been accused of covering up her daughter's first pregnancy by claiming the child as her own. It's not like I have to festoon the case with transgender dwarf hookers to pass Jerry Springer's sniff test.

So, yeah. Li'l baby Tripp--I guess "Tramp" was already taken for Bristol's Secret Service tag--joined the world today. Can't wait for the nup-chals. They should make a chav wedding look like Charles and Diana at St. Paul's Cathedral, and a NASCAR tailgate party like Act One of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hey Paula, Dept.

I may have written in these pages about my opinion of Paula Cole's song, "Feelin' Love." My uncertainty is rooted in the fact that I can't be arsed to rummage about my archives, 'cause that's just the kind of lazy shitsack I am.

At any rate, Paula Cole. I myself was not a huge fan of hers back when dried semen on a blue dress was the greatest of this nation's problems. I didn't particularly like "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone" or "I Don't Want to Wait," but mine was a lonely dissenting voice in Lilith Fair America. Young women were discovering not only the magick of their bodies but also their God-given right to give vent, bitterly if tunefully, to their crippling penis envy. We owned the CD, heard those two songs and that was about that for the oeuvre of Paula Cole.

Fast-forward to the mid-Oughties. The country is, by this point, well and truly screwed without a smile. Your sobsister is aimlessly trawling the Webs, when I come upon a site at break.com. For those of you who are still here, having resisted the temptation to open a new tab and bail, break.com is aimed at those young fellows who find maxim.com a tad too intellectually rigorous. Features like "Dude Slips Pipe Inbetween (sic) Bikers (sic) Tire" and "Hot Chick Kicks Boyfriends (sic) Ass." Yes?

At any rate, I land there and see some sort of competition they sponsor. Videos of "babes" or "chix" or "gashes" or however they refer to women are voted upon, and one lucky damsel becomes "Break Girl of the Day." This was the winner the day I visited.

Yes. Lalita. La. Lee. Ta. Not to get all Vlad the Impaler on y'all. But I have to thank her for a number of things, not least of which is the fact that she burned "Feelin' Love" onto my musical motherboard. I'm usually not a huge fan of the YouTube Lipsync. Gawky girls flying their goofy flag high. Or smudgily aping moves kiped from BET videos. The 21st century equivalent of singing into a hairbrush while jumping up and down on the bed. But this particular effort I found...engaging. Yes. Engaging. All the more so given that it appears to have been shot in an attic closet. And, then, when I found out that homegirl is based here in Choc City, well, how could I help but admire her achievement. By which I mean her apparent ability to transcribe the Declaration of Independence by using a pen attached to her pelvis.

"Lalita" has a MySpace page where fellows can apparently implore her to slip their straining members from the surly bonds of denim, and on which she notes, "I'm a laid-back girl that can be girly as hell but I can also kick it wit da boys. So holla atcha girl if your interested in being friends or something more." Yes. Opening at Feinstein's next week.

But, yeah, "Feelin' Love." Hottest fucking song EVER. And the referenced a perfect video introduction to it. I have a newfound admiration for Paula Cole as a songwriter. To begin with.

The lyrics:

You make me feel like a sticky pistil leanin' into a stamen.
You make me feel like a Mr. Sunshine, himself.
You make me feel like splendor in the grass, while we're rollin'.
Damn skippy, baby!
You make me feel like the Amazon's runnin' between my thighs.

You make me feel love, love, love, love, love.
Love, love, love, love, love.
You make me feel love, love, love, love, love.
Love, love, love-ah, love-ah.

You make me feel like a candy apple, red and horny.
You make me feel like I wanna be a dumb blonde in a centerfold,
the girl next door.
And I would open the door, and I'd be all wet,
With my tits soaking through this tiny flannel t-shirt
that I'm wearing,
And you would open the door and tie me up to the bed.


Lover, I don't know who I am.
Am I Barry White, am I Isis?
Lover, I'm laced with your unconscience.
I will be your Desdemona.
(take you home)

Damn skippy, baby.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Love My Cigar, Too, But I Take It Out of My Mouth Once in a While, Dept

From the page:

"Duggar Family Already Thinking About 19th Child

For Jim and Michelle Duggar, eighteen isn't enough.

After welcoming a 7-lb., 3 oz. daughter via C-section on Thursday to join their 17 other children, the proud papa tells the Associated Press: "We both would love to have more."

The Duggars now have 10 sons and eight daughters, ranging in age from 17 months to 20 years, all with first names starting with the letter J, including the newborn addition, Jordyn-Grace Makiya Duggar.

'The ultimate Christmas gift from God,' said Jim tells AP. 'She's just absolutely beautiful, like her mom and her sisters.'"

Yow. Seems like only yesterday Michelle squeezed out no.17, and I was all up in her shit about being a Jesus-bothering uterus with legs...and, wouldn't'cha know it! Out pops another one! Christ on a cracker, her snatch is like a clown car, isn't it? What else is up there? A set of World Book encyclopedias and a case of Budweiser, at a minimum.

Well, better enjoy this one fast 'cause she's got that look in her eye that says, "I'm a hollow vessel for my Lord Jim Bob's holy seed, and I need to be topped up right about now." Good thing she never found out about oral, huh, kids? Our nation would've been shy 18 fewer cult members.

And "Jordyn-Grace Makiya"...stripper or child bride? Stripper or child bride? Stripper or child bride? Wait! What about both?! Anything's possible when you come from a family so large that you have no sense of self or of anything, really, but the discipline that your egomaniacal father metes out in equal doses with camera-ready "affection."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Jim Bob, keep that fucking thing in your pants, cowboy! Even the Lone Ranger holsters his gun sometimes! *ha ha!*

They make me want to puke.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Telling Shit from Shinola, Dept.

Arts, Briefly - That’s All, She Wrote - NYTimes.com

Who says the American public has the taste of a famished buzzard?

"That's All, She Wrote

Rosie O'Donnell's homage to television variety shows of the 1970s,
Rosie Live, seems destined to be a one-night-only event. On the Ask Ro feature on the Web site, rosie.com, Ms. O'Donnell wrote, 'there will b no more' in response to a question about the future of the show, which was broadcast on NBC on Wednesday. The special was supposed to be a trial balloon and could have led to a series, depending on its success. But Rosie Live� which featured performances by Liza Minnelli, Alanis Morissette and others, attracted just five million viewers, according to Nielsen's estimates, finishing a distant third in the 8 p.m. hour. Ms. O'Donnell...responded to many messages on her Web site over the weekend, writing in her style that eschews traditional spellings. To another viewer she acknowledged, 'I gave it my best shot.' She also wrote that "its up to nbc," but added, 'bad ratings and reviews usually mean no more.'"

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Vacuum That Both Sucks and Blows, Dept.

Well, it's been a while--a mega-long, fucking while, children--since your sobsister viewed anything on network television as wretched as Friday's Rosie Live!. The "return" of the variety show. Or, as it turned out, the wooden stake, silver bullet and garlic shiv through the heart of the variety show format.

Christ, I mean, even the network felt compelled to weasel-word its P.R. puffery:

Just as Ed Sullivan, Carol Burnett and ROWAN & MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN, captivated the hearts of audiences across the country, the unpredictable Rosie O'Donnell will bring that grand tradition to a whole new level!

Would that "whole new level" be up or down? Who can say? Not the network, clearly.

Rosie will kick off the hour doing what she does best -- sounding off about current events, pop culture and whatever is on her mind. From there, anything can happen as Rosie, her celebrity friends and fans sing, dance, and laugh in a primetime variety show like no other.

Yes, it truly is "like no other." In the same way that a two-headed calf and a shit sandwich are sui generis.

But, sobsister, what exactly made it so relentlessly, irredeemably sucktastic, I hear you ask? Oh, very many things. So very goddamn many. For your convenience, here's a short list.

1) Rosie O'Donnell has zero fucking talent. She actually sucks talent out of those around her like a talent vampire. I remember watching her host Stand-Up Spotlight on VH-1 in the '90s and thinking she must've fucked the entire crew to get the gig. I mean, even the grips and crafts service. Because she was so unbelievably charmless and unfunny. And, now, America's Favorite Eternal Amateur™ is trying to bring back the variety show format that she supposedly loved as a child, but tragically forgetting that those shows were founded on entertainment. Not on an unbreakable fascination with one's self in the televisual equivalent of a dog licking its balls. For example, if you're hosting a renaissance of the variety show format, an opening monologue that describes in Proustian detail the undergarment you're wearing that reshapes your copious body fat into breasts is probably not the sort of material that Ed Sullivan would've chosen to deliver in a comparable situation. Your audience is no longer comprised exclusively of self-medicating housewives and graveyard shift stoners, Ro, and there's a significant difference between "host" and "star," so, before you vanish up the asshole of your self-regard, you may want to take into consideration the fact that, for example, no-one outside your immediate family ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever wants to see you sing and dance. Because--reality check and spoiler alert!-- you can't do either. Not even a little. I mean, you make Ashlee Simpson look and sound like the second coming of Ethel Merman, Mary Martin and Gwen Verdon, capeesh? And, honest, it's not enough that you're "trying." That shit flies on the tee ball field, but not on television and not on my time.

2) Liza Minnelli really needn't be seen in public any more. Leave me with the memory of Cabaret and Liza with a 'Z'. I mean, I can see how a prime time gig on a Big Three network would be attractive to her--the unenviable price being a duet with the Talent Vampire--but the unfortunate cosmetic work she's had done and the shit through which she's had to wade as a function of her illnesses and lifestyle have made her look and sound at least twenty years older than 62. It's like watching a high school hygiene film on the ravages of drugs, booze and neediness. And who was it, exactly, who thought that an opening number featuring a woman who can neither sing nor dance doing both and another woman whose appeal would seem to be founded entirely on how well she's doing, you know, considering would attract anyone outside a coterie of those who rubberneck at highway mishaps?

3) Who the fuck is Ne-Yo? Is he Usher's considerably less charismatic brother? And why is he on my screen? Did I lost a bet with Good Black Music?

4) The Talent Vampire actually has the brass knockers to feature a musical segment--featuring the otherwise-charming and -underutilized Jane Krakowski--in which she lists the crap she's giving away to audience members. So classy. She makes Oprah seem like Alistair Cooke at Edward R. Murrow's.

5) Ha ha! A segment with Clay Aiken in which both of them are cutesy-coy about being homosexuals! Oh, this must be considered ever so cosmopolitan and risqué by very, very old people in Des Moines.

6) Oh, Alanis Morrissette? 1995 called. Asked why you'd left your talent and appeal back there. She sang an interminable, nasally song about something. Life? Love? Wolverines? The sort of performance where the audience started applauding before she was finished. As a hint. Thanks a fucking load, Canada. Bastards

7) No, really, Rosie. This isn't your ghastly daytime show. You don't have to be in every number, sketch and scene. And you don't have to pretend to be even vaguely "turned on" by Alec Baldwin and Harry Connick Jr. You're a lesbian. We totally got that. And no shout-outs to your four children. This isn't PTA Talent Night at Commack High. Fuck, you're annoying.

8) Ah, novelty talent numbers. Jugglers. Acrobats. It's like watching European weekend programming. Or the lounge act at a Las Vegas hotel too chintzy to host a Cirque de Soleil spin-off. What, no quick-change artists? No human Slinkies? What a rip. I'm totally writing to the programming director at RAI.

9) Wow, a big finale with Gloria Estefan! I feel fifteen years younger! Is it time for President Clinton's first inauguration? *ha ha!* But seriously, the fact that it's been fifteen years since Li'l Gloria was even vaguely relevant doesn't in any way diminish the entertainment value of having her tell a couple of lame jokes and then do a duet--but, of course, a duet; Gawd forbid anyone should steal the Stand-Up Spotlight--with Rosie. (I wonder who else Rosie could feature in the handful of future episodes before network executives release themselves from the basement in which she's apparently locked them. The Baha Men? The Rico Suave guy? The ghost of the "where's the beef?" lady?) And, not content with a closing musical number that features both Gloria Estefan and boy dancers dressed as foodstuffs, she brings out Rachael "Ray-Ray" Ray! To sing!! Christ alfuckingmighty! Talk about a black hole of talent. I'm amazed that the audience didn't find its face sucked off by the vacuum on that stage.

Yes, indeed. Rosie O'Donnell "brought back" the variety show on Wednesday. Much like Jack Kevorkian offers wellness care to his patients. Or Hitler sponsoring a Hadassah summer camp. Sweet Jesus, it both sucked and blew. A hundred years of songwriters and entertainers spinning at 78 RPM in their graves. Catch it next time. It's so wretched, it'll clear your sinus passages like wasabi and your colon like an all-bran depth charge. And the Talent Vampire, having mutilated both the daytime talk show and the variety show, will surely soon decamp to feast on another genre.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clueless, Dept.

Now, you know that your sobsister is all about the local television commercial programming. Particularly as regards advertising. None of this high-concept, CGI-heavy, oil-slick eyewash. Just guys and gals in ill-considered outfits standing next to quality, previously owned Fords, Hondas and Subarus in footage that appears to have been shot on Super 8 and dubbed over a bad cell connection. And, hey, their messages haven't been "focus grouped" or "audience tested" or "edited." It's just straight-talking shovel-fisted entrepreneurialism, podner!

Case in point for your consideration: your sobsister is seated before the teevee after having watched another episode of Jeopardy! and again marveled at how many degrees off geosynchronous orbit Alex Trebek, on occasion, can be.
An ad comes on.
A fellow in a cheapass knockoff of a London chimney sweep's uniform ca. Mary Poppins IV: Supercalifuckingpointless pulls up to the curb in front of a suburban house and hops out.
Quick cut to the interior of the house.
Three teenage girls are playing "Clue." We know it's "Clue," because one of them is helpfully propping the box up on her knees for our edification.

clue girl

Over this action, a toy piano is doubling a woman's tuneless voice chantsinging, "A step in time, a step in time, gonna make your chimneys shine." The kind of performance that usually precedes all the children in the village taking up pitchforks against the unsuspecting adults.
Exterior shot: he rings the doorbell.
If it weren't for the grating jingle, I'd expect the chick-waka-waka-boom porn soundtrack to kick in: "Morning, ladies. I heard someone needed their chimney poled."
Inside, one of the three little louts--who clearly can't be arsed to answer the door three feet away--screams, "Hey, MOMMM! The chimney sweep is here!!"
Down the stairs comes "Mom" under a big load...of laundry. Chick-waka-waka-boom.
She lets the sweep in her...house. He proceeds to look up her...fireplace, then up the ladder outside to pound her...chimney with his long, black...brush.
Wow, this is like Porn Mad Libs! More fun to make than they are to read, I bet!

Anyhoo, he finishes his work, shakes her hand and drives off. The screen dissolves to this still:


Ummm...exsqueeze me, but is that a fish next to the Web address for this business? What is that, the chimney sweep's prison tat? Did a teardrop not make for a good graphic?
I'm sorry...what's that you say?
He's a Christian?
Ohhh...that explains ever so much. Is this what we're coming to in post-secular America? Flagging one's religious affiliation in teevee spots for knowing co-religionists? Is that what the teen mannequin was doing? Giving us a "clue" as to the chimbley sweep's post-Rapture forwarding address?
I hope to see similarly subtle hints in future advertisements. A smiling cow for a Hindu-owned clothing store. A frowny brain for a zombie-owned dry cleaner.

Heck, why stop at religious affiliation? I'd like to see an erect cock advertising a gay-owned business. Or a flatline EEG for a Republican-owned business.

Yes, I say! Let us all give each other a "clue" as to our leanings in our television advertisements. Otherwise, how will we know to whom to give our custom? "Quality"? "Customer service"? "Value"? Yeah. How're things in Cloud Cuckoo Land, Fantasy Boy?

I don't know about you, but I'm voting with my wallet and supporting Pornstar Xtian Chimney Dude. He may or may not know shit about chimneys or pleasuring suburban housewives, but at least I know where he stands on salvation.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Shout Bam-a-Lam!, Dept.

As afterglow fades into sweet memory, a few thoughts about the events of Tuesday night.

1) A lot of folks are waxing poetic--which is somewhere along the taint--about how "classy" Johnny Mac's concession speech was, how he nobly quieted those among his audience who booed the very mention of Barry's name, how he divided the fishes and loaves to feed the multitude. To them I say, Hooey! I also say, Nertz! Before I fall completely into 1944, I'll also say that them as says that are speaking through their posteriors, because offering your rape victim a breath mint don't make you a gentleman, capeesh? I've read no end of commentary to the tune of "This was the McCain of 2000" and "Where was this John McCain?" and, really, I'm...not "amused," not "bemused"...what's the word I'm thinking of...? Right: I'm gobsmacked that, after months of hearing Johnny Mac impugn every and anything about Barack Obama short of his manhood, anyone would be suckered in by this 11th hour show of "sportsmanship." Oh, yes, he quieted the selfsame crowds he'd been goosing to take up pitchfork, torch and noose. Why, he's practically Gandhi meets Mother Teresa at Albert Schweitzer's house!


2) Much more satisfying was watching the extreme discomfiture of Sarahcuda even as Cholly Chipmunk played the Good Loser. This was just like losing Miss Alaska! Only, this time, there were actual people watching! Not just tundra fauna and a grizzled prospector beating his jerky. You could just see the wheels turning behind her bitter, briny, streaky face: Fuckity fuck FUCK!!, plucky Sarah-Pie thought to herself, Now, I have to go back to the ass-end of the Ass-End of Nowhere with this clodhopping jagoff, four kids and two grandkids! And there's no Neiman for, like, ten thousand miles! And I have to eat Dinty Moore out of the fucking can with Sasquatch here when I could've been dining on foie gras mousse and porcini en croute with Condi Rice at Citronelle! FUCK!! My agent better get me that daytime talk show, or I'm going to kick Grandpa over there so hard in the goolies, he's going to have two sets of eyeballs!

3) Telling contrast of the evening: the demographics of the crowd at the McCain election night bash at the Arizona Biltmore versus those of the Obama crowd at Grant Park. The Obama crowd was, in the man's words, "young and old, rich and poor...black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled." The McCain crowd, on the other hand, looked like they still can't quite understand why there's a federal holiday in January honoring an uppity nigger.

4) Related to the preceding, as your sobsister looks at the electoral map and the electoral figures, the ineluctable question nudges and pokes me: were 46 percent of Americans so retarded as to think that McCain/Palin was anything short of a screaming Kazakhstani clusterfuck? I mean, yeah, I'm all for a Big Tent and divergent views and honest disagreement but, really? Honest to dingdong goodness?! Y'all, hands to the Bible, really thought this doddering weasel with the twitching ethics impairment and the chuckleheaded mannequin who made most of the English-speaking world plus Jesus want to slap the aw-shucks out of her mouth represented our best hope for leadership in our nation's most trying period in 75 years?!?

Get out of my country.
And leave the cows, corn and cotton.

5) I only switched to FOX once, but they looked and sounded like they were trying to call the best game possible for the Washington Generals even as all five Globetrotters did the elastic ball trick. Not to worry about these viperfanged guys and gals, though. They're backing the calumny, disinformation and untruth trucks up to the FOX warehouse. `Cause feeding on your own is fun, but slashing at the legs of those trying to climb is even funner.

6) That Obama feller, he can talk right purty.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Dept.


If we, as a civilization, have plucked from the storehouse of eastern Mediterranean myth and legend the name of Oedipus to represent Freud's urge to kill his father and bone his mother, and the name of Sisyphus to symbolize profound frustration and fruitless endeavor, then where in that storehouse can we find a figure to represent the ingrained need on the part of mothers to throw out their sons' valuable shit?

Case in point: I know a guy who came home from college to learn his mother had thrown out his entire baseball card collection. That he didn't express his pique with the business end of a Louisville Slugger is unimpeachable testimony to his saintly forebearance. But, really, no foolin': what sort of confluence of bad chemicals, bad juju and bad judgment could possibly cause a person to do such a thing? "Tum-te-tum, just cleaning up my son's room, tum-te-tum, oh, look, here are several boxes of those baseball cards he loves so much, he's worked so hard to collect them all, how he used to save his lawnmowing money just to buy them, I remember the twinkle in his eye when he'd run back to the car, so excited to see which cards he'd gotten, such memories... welp, I guess I'll chuck them all out and then go shave the cat."

Such tales are Legion, for they are many. I, too, have had my life blighted by this scourge of maternal malice enrobed in cluelessness wrapped in a tissue of lies. After your sobsister graduated from college, I left my hometown to attend graduate school and then begin work. A few years passed, during which I was mostly overseas. Then, once back in the States, I thought to relieve my parents of the books and things I'd left with them. I went through several closets and retrieved books, mainly paperbacks that had formed part of a collegiate corpus of Required Reading that I'd taken great pains to avoid but also some of my old favorites from high school and college days. But danged if I could find my stash of Harlan Ellison novels and anthologies.

I had been a huge Harlan Ellison fan. I had first bought his better-known collections of speculative fiction, then his books of essays, then went back and bought his early novels. It was at a science-fiction convention that I'd had the opportunity to approach the Great Man, who was accompanied by a tall and leggy brunette I utterly ignored in my bedazzlement at the Presence, and ask him, tremulously, for an autograph. He smiled, took the book I'd just bought--one of his earliest novels, bound as a two-fer with someone else's equally minor work--and whipped off the dedication, "This is a terrible book and I apologize - Harlan Ellison."

This collection of paperbacks by my once-favorite author, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is what I was seeking in the closets and boxes of my parents' apartment. After opening and peering and moving and craning, I asked my mother where my Harlan Ellison books were. With the very eyes of guilelessness, she responded that she didn't know. Hadn't you taken them? No, mater, if I had taken them, I wouldn't be rearranging family-size bags of Cheez Doodles in the upper reaches of your storage areas. Well, you must've taken them; I haven't touched them.

At this point, I began to feel much as I imagine Orestes felt before Clytemnestra or, possibly, Stewie before Lois. The berserker fury was building in my head like pitcher beer in a puny bladder. Everything before me snapped into razorsharp focus then turned deep red. I remember little of what ensued, except, I think, I was fairly peckish and dinner was ready.

I cannot explain her behavior. I cannot explain the behavior of any mother who would so despoil the treasures of her son's youth. Is it payback for leaving the maternal bosom? Is it punishment for ineffaceable stretch marks? Is it transitory menopausal dementia? Wiser minds than mine may know, and they ain't saying. All I can offer by way of conclusion is this: don't leave your good shit in your mother's care. Ever. Because maternal instinct does not extend to your possessions, and if your boxes of near-mint Golden Age comic books are blocking her access to the Swiffer, kiss your run of All Star Comics goodbye, brother.

Oh, and I'm nominating Medea.

Friday, October 31, 2008

?taerT ro kcirT, Dept.


Yeah. This is the shit.

Family fucking Circus plunges into the Coney Island whitefish-infested waters of political humor by having li'l Dolly dress as Sarah "What, Me Talent?" Palin in celebration of a repurposed pagan holiday of darkness. And Jeffy as some sort of 19th-century stage imagining of Mephistopheles, Lord of Darkness. Wait...I'm picking up a theme here...fuck, what's going on inside the house? Is Thel cutting herself while listening to The Cure? Is Bill whacking it to The Shining?

Damn, this shit is hardcore! Props to Bil "All hail Lord Satan!" Keane.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Does This Orange Jumpsuit Make My Liver Spots Look Big?, Dept.


And in other news, noted irascible fuckwit, technophobe and influence whore, Sen. Ted Stevens, was found guilty by a jury of his peers. By whom, I don't mean "12 corrupt coots who think Wi-Fi is where you play your Lawrence Welk records."

Unfortunately, Teddy Boy will most likely see no jail time, and, given the mindbogglingly bad judgment of Alaskan voters, will probably be re-elected next Tuesday. But, still...the Eternal Black Mark on his long record of public service humping the porkbarrel on behalf of the Rogue State...it is, you guessed it, Schadenfreude Monday chez sobsister.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An LCD Screen..."Lowest Common Denominator," Amirite?!?, Dept.

After the liberation of Paris, Sarge and his men are on liberty one evening, looking for the brothels of which they'd heard their doughboy fathers and uncles speak. They wander the streets and boulevards with no luck, until, finally, they enter a saloon of sorts and approach the bartender. Dumbshow and loud English both fail to communicate their need to their froggish interlocutor. Finally, frustrated beyond human endurance, Sarge drops his pants and thwacks his member onto the zinc bar. "Ah, oui, oui!", exclaims the Frenchman. "Wee-wee, my ass!", retorts Sarge, "It's the biggest one in the regiment!"

*ha ha*
Yes. I wish I could claim authorship of that gem, but it was actually delivered by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of her ascension to the throne. It's funnier with corgis.

At any rate and speaking of humor, that cruel and seductive mistress, I finally watched Sarahcuda's appearance on Saturday Night Live (available here for the time being), and I must say that, contrary to my initial impression of her as a talentless mannequin hoisted onto the national stage by cynical political paymasters on break from boning the blind underage prostitutes they shortchange with fins they claim are dubs, she is, instead, a solid candidate for her own afternoon talk show, perhaps to be carried by one of the religious channels I invariably surf past as they feature Time-Life CD sets with names like "Songs of Faith, Songs of Hope," featuring tunes with oddly defensive titles like "My Savior Lives" and "I Love My Redeemer."

I can totally see it.

It would, of course, be called "Sarah!" and would feature a live studio audience of women of all races, White and Other, in ill-fitting foundation wear poorly masked by synthetics-rich sportswear and pantsuits. Her theme would be just funky enough to not be mistaken for a hymn but not funky enough to encourage rhythmic movement while seated, lest those stretch pants rub the devil's eraser unduly. Her sidekick would be a bubbly young man, deeply closeted, to the extent that he'd have a wife and six children, all blond, named after cities in Texas. Thus, through the magical medium of television, she'd have an echo chamber in which to bray her wrongheaded notions of religion, sexuality, politics, society, media, education, science, economics and culture, and no-one would need be harmed, save the hapless members of her studio audience, who might profitably be drawn from the nation's penal population in a sort of "Dirty Dozen" program.

Next on "Sarah!": Did Jesus Ride a Dinosaur?, plus abstinence-ready fashions and three black people you'd be proud to have over for dinner!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Rue with a View, Dept.

But not everything is about The Divine Sarah (although I do like how the Wicked Witch of the North let her Babymakin' Man, Todd, help with the governance of the WTF? State. Were I a resident of Alaska, I'd feel better knowing that the First D00d is on the case. He's won a flock of snowmobile races, don'tchaknow, yah, you betcha, and worked in the oil fields, too. Take THAT, Jill Biden, with your lah-dee-dah Doctorate of Education and your Snobby McSnobshoes breast health awareness programs.)

No, instead, I thought today I might share with you some thoughts on our recent vacation. Your sobsister spent a week in Gay Paree, a leather bar just outside Waukesha, Wisconsin...*ha ha* I'm just joshing; I am so much more into Asian twinks than leathermen...*ha ha* just joshing again; I am totally into leather, especially on long-stemmed Lithuanian supermodels who'll show me what a worm I truly am...*ha ha* the law of diminishing comedic returns is truly making its presence felt.

Seriously, though, we were in Paris for six lovely days. And following are some snapshots of, and observations on, this lovely land of the lovely–

1) do the French exile their fat people to Corsica? Devil's Island? Alabama? Because, really, the herds of the morbidly obese who galumph around Choc City and its suburban dewlaps do not find an analogue in the Big Brioche. Now, I myself ate much in the way of animal fat enrobed in rich sauces, chased by agglomerations of sugar, cream and chocolate or nuts (the "Paris-Brest" at Le Bistro Paul Bert...nomnomnom) and returned home to find I'd lost a pound-and-a-half. So, yeah, maybe French calories work in reverse. Like French tanks! *ha ha* See how I worked in that trenchant reference to Gallic failures on the field of manly combat? It's in honor of the upcoming bicentennial. 200 years since France has won a war. There's gonna be parades'n'everything.

2) now, one possible reason behind your sobsister's weight loss might've been the vigorous exercise regimen to which I subjected myself once arrived in Paris. Each day, as we walked down the street, I would aerobically whip my head right and left to catch the lovely mam'zelles in their softflesh'd trajectories, the same question trailing behind each of them: "Avez-vous des frites pour accompagner ce milk-shake?"

3) in that vein, we're walking behind a family on the Quai Anatole France: a guy, mid-40s; his little son, eight or so; and his daughter, 16 or a smidge older. The guy is Pierre Average, wearing some schlubby jacket, noticeably middle-class in tony Saint-Germain-des-Prés; the boy is a good-looking little fellow, not wearing anything particularly distinctive; and the daughter...yes, the daughter. Honey hair just below shoulder length, blue eyes, bright smile; she's dressed quite fashionably or, at least, well. Suede-ish jacket, tan miniskirt, kneehigh boots. What makes this vignette memorable in my foie gras-bleared memory is the fact that this young woman was possessed of an ass like you read about. Particularly if you're the sort of person who reads books or periodicals featuring post-pubescent heroines with asses like a) two puppies playing in a sack, b) two melons on a miniature see-saw or c) you read about. In short, she was an eye magnet. Not that your sobsister is personally into that whole Lolita/Barely Legal/Daddy's Little Hotbox continuum of sclerotica. I am merely a camera. More Brownie than Hasselblad, perhaps, with just a hint of Lomo, but there you have it. At any rate, down the street walks this happy family scene: schlubby père, playful fils, eye magnet fille. Little Pierre (which sounds like a sweet pet name for a fella's tallywhacker) is hopping up and down and running all around, just a bundle of energy. So, he starts playing with his sister. By spanking her and running away. Spanking her and running away. Spanking her and running away. She's laughing and trying to avoid him. But he always manages to land solid spanks on her ass. I turn from this spectacle to observe grown men, chainsmoking, weeping with bitter envy. The ghost of Maurice Chevalier croons, "Sank heffen foor lee-tall gurrls..." And...scene.

4) as intimated above, the women of Paris wore boots, mostly knee-high, some higher. Leather, brown or black. Or they wore Chucks a/k/a Cons née the Chuck Taylor® All-Star®, in a wide variety of colors and heights. Here's what they didn't wear: UGGs and flip-flops. Here's what else they didn't wear: baggy sweats with their alma mater's name stamped on their ass. Here's a generalization: women in upscale Paris do not allow childbirth or childrearing to interfere with their patriotic duty to look fabulous. Mom fashion dans la ville: knee-high boots, skintight jeans, snug top, leather jacket. Grandma fashion: leather pumps, leather pants, silk blouse or cashmere sweater, leather jacket, Jackie O sunglasses. Here's what I didn't see in Paris: muffintops. Even on muffins.

5) on the flight over, the Eastern European fellow to my left asked me if he could have my half-eaten salad. (And here I would normally launch into an extended diatribe about how astonishingly crap United's food is, but, instead, I'll content myself with noting that the "balsamic vinegarette" accompanying said salad was both offputtingly peppery and searingly acidic; perhaps originally intended to prime furniture or repel garden varmints but repurposed for human, or, at least, "coach passenger," consumption.) I gladly gave him my leavings, which he quickly wolfed down. Later and in the same spirit, I asked a passenger a few rows back if I could have his wife, whom he'd barely touched. His hatred of me was palpable.

6) one of my personal sightseeing highlights for the trip: the catacombs of Paris. While not recommended as an excursion for those who might have "issues" with being 100 feet underground in a seemingly interminable low, dark, narrow passageway scored by seeping water or in a labyrinth of rooms lined with the skulls and bones of six million dead Parisians, it is an enjoyable escape from the commonplace tourist scene. Plaques in each room, written in the three languages of educated man--Latin, Greek, French--offer useful advice from the Bible and the classical canon regarding one's ineluctable proximity to death. All in all, a lovely getaway for the whole family, particularly if the whole family enjoys being reminded of its mortality. Not, as I mentioned previously, for the bathophobic...and I don't mean HIPPIES! AMIRITE?!

7) the Louvre is full of many people of all descriptions. No small percentage Asian. Like, a LOT. We walked up the long staircase to the Winged Victory of Samothrace, weaving around and past large clots of humanity, ascent arrested, to hear their tour guide's energetic explanation of what those big-nosed barbarians were up to, exactly. I'd love to know, for the participants, how this all fits into their cultural and intellectual cabinet. Does everyone know the Mona Lisa and Liberty Leading the People? Is it a Big Deal to have schlepped all the way from Busan or Shanghai or Osaka to have seen it and other Old Masters? Or is it simply the Sort of Thing One Does when abroad? After leaving the museum, we stood across a narrow internal road from two Asian couples. If I had to guess: Chinese. And by "Chinese," I mean: vice-assistant manager at the No. 3 People's Melamine and Lead Paint Collective. The men were both dressed in the kind of generic gray suit that, despite pants and jacket being cut from the same cloth, still looks mismatched. The kind of suit a Zhejiang farmer wears to a court date, with the label of a brand like "Flying Dragon" still visible on the sleeve just above the wrist. The women both had dyed orange hair--and I mean, Halloween orange--permed to full curl. They were dressed in snug red wool dresses that combined with their hair color to poke onlookers in the eye. What does "Paris" as reality and concept mean to them? I would've asked them, but, after staring into that maelstrom of red and orange, it took a while for my eyesight to return.

8) you can buy things in Paris that you can't find back home. Like "Pall Mall" and "Lucky Strike" cigarette rolling tobacco. They probably also have Everclear baby formula, but I didn't see any. As a nation, we're pretty laissez-faire. Which is quite French-sounding, I know. Translated, it means that we sell things overseas whose toxicity would feed a dozen law firms for years.

9) dang, but those Frenchies make good bread!

At any rate, just a taste of your sobsister's sojourn into deepest Paris. Or at least arrondissements one through 13. With that, our whirlwind trip to the City of Lights sputters, coughs and comes to a noisy little end. As they say on the Champs Elysees, À bientôt. Which, spelled backwards, is "Natures."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Que Sarah, Sarah, Dept.

Your sobsister was watching the teevee just the other day, some televisual feast or another, possibly involving puppies dressed as U.S. presidents. And, just after viewing puppy Coolidge, the network cut to an ad.

In it, people were having the kind of fun one only associates with New Year's Eve, the last day of school and Heaven. All sorts of people: white, young, attractive, white. And the reason they were so rooty-toot-tootin' happy was because they were glugging down some Sunny D!

Sunny Delight, the announcer brayed, it contains five percent real juice!

And two things immediately sprang to mind. The first was: who the fuck brags about a fruit juice product that only features five percent real juice? Doesn't that immediately--and, no, I'm not going to say "beg the question"--raise the question: what comprises the other 95 percent?

Though one might default to "bull semen," one might be wrong, both because bull semen is frightfully expensive and because Sunny D's ingredients are, in fact, as follows--

Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Concentrated Juices (Orange, Tangerine, Apple, Lime, Grapefruit). Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene, Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Natural Flavors, Food Starch-Modified, Canola Oil, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Benzoate To Protect Flavor, Yellow #5, Yellow #6

"Hey, Mom, can I have some more sodium hexametaphosphate?!?"
"Well, Billy, it is used in industry as a thinning agent for suspensions and slurries, such as might be used in certain ceramic techniques; as a whitening ingredient in dental hygiene products; and as a dispersing agent to break down certain soil types...so, yes, darling, pour yourself another tall, icy-cold glass!"

Upon further reflection on Sunny D, a beverage perfectly and absolutely repellent in concept and execution--why drink actual, you know, fucking juice when you can drink a micturition of water, high fructose corn syrup and less fruit than the vermouth one waves over a bone-dry martini?--I had a moment of sweet epiphany, the second of the two things that, as I mentioned way up there, sprang to mind.

Sarah Palin is the Sunny D of American politics. Sure, you see people of every description--white, bigoted, illiterate, benighted, white--having heaps and heaps of fun around her. But when you look at what comprises Sarah P, you realize that the sweetness is artificial, the substance is minimal and the balance is repurposed toxicity.

"More Sarah P., Mom, pleeez?!?"
"Billy, you little scamp! If I weren't so numb to the degrading conditions that comprise my existence, I'd brain you with this frying pan. But, more to the point, drink a case of Sarah P., my beamish boy! Maybe you, too, will grow up to be a crack'd vessel for the bile and nightblack humours of powerful men."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

From the page:


Looking for a Sarah Palin lookalike for an adult film to be shot in next 10 days.

Major adult studio.

Please send pix, stats etc. ASAP

Pay: $2000-3000

No anal required"

Boy...I bet Sarah P. wishes she'd seen this advert before she took her current gig, which makes her do book-larnin' and thinkin' and stuff. And the très ironique bitch of it is: her current gig does require anal! Who'da thunk, right?

What the ad doesn't mention, however, is that this film will also feature adult cinema legend Lexington Steele in the role of "Barack Oh-Bang'er."

Baked Alaska!, coming soon to your local stroke emporium.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin, Garbage Out, Dept.

Y'know, I haven't posted in a little bit. A cold and work and a bunch of other petty shit about which I could tug on your coattails ad infifuckingnitum. But I just wanted to say one li'l thing this cool Wednesday evening.

My incredulity in any viability at all of a vice-presidential bid by a person whose apparent qualifications for the post consist of a clear day's view of a U.S. rival, a working uterus and a belief system that involves rolling your eyes up into your head while babbling warga-warga in a church pew, beggars description, people. You might as well have tried to convince me two months ago that John McCain was going to select a half-eaten Domino's pizza for his running mate. Or a ball-peen hammer. Or the word "marzipan."

She's not a MILF. She's not a GILF. I can't imagine that anyone could even tolerate sharing an elevator for five flights with this nasal, ignorant harpy, much less convening sexual congress.

I'm starting my novena tonight. I'm asking God to let the National Enquirer find out exactly where the bodies are buried in Wasilla. I was going to ask that the upcoming Spirit movie not suck, but I'm sacrificing on everyone's behalf.

Thank you for your time and attention. In the saccharine phrase with which Red Skelton rotted my baby teeth, "Good night and may Gawd bless."
Oh, oh, wait! I have a joke. I have a joke. Listen, here it is:

What's the difference between the Panama Canal and Sarah Palin?

One's an international waterway and the other's a dizzy bitch.

*ha ha!* Oh, laughter is the best medicine, isn't it?

Except for herpes. You can laugh your ass off, that shit ain't going away.
Oh wait, wait! I remembered my other joke! I did! Listen, listen:

What's the difference between the Panama Canal and Sarah Palin?

One's a busy ditch and the other's an overreaching opportunist with little or no education, little or no culture, little or no sense, little or no experience and few or no scruples.

*ha ha!* It's all in the delivery, y'know? That half beat between "experience" and "and." It makes or breaks the fucking thing.

My name is the sobsister and I approved this message.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour, Dept.

On tonight's episode of Love That Sarah!

-But, Mom, Jamie Lynn Spears and those 17 girls in Gloucester, Mass., they all got pregnant before they were old enough to vote!
-Young lady, if your friends all jumped off the Bridge to Nowhere, would you jump too?
-Oh, Mommmm...!!
(raucous audience laughter and applause)

A short burst of thought on this Bible-bothering, backwater bluenose.

If, at one of the most critical junctures in our nation's history, the Republican Party views the American political system and the future of our way of life with enough bilious contempt that it nominates for our country's second-highest position of power, just behind a 72-year-old man with one foot in the grave and the other on a can of WD-40, a malicious smalltown busybody whose opportunism and ambition swamp the natural modesty that would cause anyone short of an attention whore in six-inch platforms, a fuchsia tube top and fishnets to demur when offered a position for which they are manifestly unqualified by even the most generous measure, and whose qualifications for national service would be trumped by those of the humblest junior-year political science major enjoying a boozy year abroad, all I can say is that the entirety of that party's leadership should be pilloried, caned and hot-iron branded as traitors to absolutely everything for which this country has ever purported to stand.

If I thought the eight benighted, bemerded and bedamned years of the Idiot Bush's administration were a blight on the American dream, the nomination of Doddering Gaffer and Eve Harrington in mukluks is the GOP skullfucking the Statue of Liberty.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Cream of the Glass Teat, Dept.

Okay, there're only two reasons why you haven't been watching the premiere season of The Middleman.

You either a) do not have cable television in your home, or b) you hate puppies and the Baby Jesus.

Because any show that features a cute, deadpan, Latina smartgirl like Natalie Morales, a Dudley Do-Right dead-on classic like Matt Keeslar and jokes that riff on, say, Gene Colan's run on Tomb of Dracula and Stan Sakai's rabbit ronin Usagi Yojimbo is playing to the band BIGfuckingtime.

I came in halfway through the season, and me likee bookoo.
So, watch it.
Because every time you do, an angel gets HBO.
The Snowman Goeth, Dept.

Well, the Good Lord gathered unto Hisself one of our nation's fine'n'funky pickers. Jerry Reed passed on August 31.

Now, somewhere in Sobsister Manor, there is a box. A record box, like you used to use to keep all your bestest and most favoreet 45s. And inside this box that has defied my every motherfrackin' effort to find it are a number of classic bits of vinyl. Nestled there, maybe cheek by jowl with "Rain Dance" and "Mr. Big Stuff" and other klassic kuts, is "Amos Moses," as fonky a slab of Southern fatback as you could ever hope to find.

Now, I didn't know Mr. Jerry Reed from his movies like Smokey and the Bandit or Hot Stuff or High Ballin', films that I know have won a warm spot in the collective heart of those who enjoy seeing the humiliation of stupid sheriffs and the unassisted flight of 18-wheelers and the like. But this one plateful of chicken-pickin' heaven alone etched Mr. Reed indelibly into my brainbox.

So, now, direct from deepest, darkest nineteen-hundred and seventy-one, Amos Moses.

I double-dog dare you not to bobblehead to this one.
Dick's Picks, Dept.

Y'know, your sobsister doesn't post the pink. Nothing against them as does, but the children, you know, are our future, and I hate to think that little Johnny and Janie's introduction to the sacred and guilt-inducing act would be my posting of a bukkake glue-fest.

That said, I offer this in the spirit of something in the prurient vein (from L. prurire via pres. part. pruriens, "to itch," as in the one you cannot scratch because Jessica Alba not only is never going to answer your letters, but she wouldn't fuck you if it came down to the two of you repopulating a devasted Earth) for y'all to enjoy.

The animated story of Eveready Horton (aka "Eveready Harton" or "Eveready Hardon"), a fellow with rather a long, you know, thing, and the misadventures into which his concupiscence leads him.

Perhaps the first "blue" cartoon, it is close kin to the "Tijuana bibles" that were seeing their Golden Age just around that time. For the uninitiated, Tijuana bibles were crudely drawn pornographic comic books, usually eight pages long, which featured celebrities, both real and fictional, fucking and sucking in ways more usually depicted in Japanese shunga than in Hollywood fodder.

No, don't thank me. Your sweaty-palmed happiness is thanks enough.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mama Don't Preach, Dept.


Gol-DINGUS! If this ain't the most humoresk campaign season in many a moon, I'll salt a possum and eat it!

So, Bristol Palin, daughter of GOP Veep-wannabe Sarah and her half-man/half-wolf Inuit shaman superhero husband, is, umm, how you say...enceinte? Yes? She took ze weewee of ze boy in her woowoo and now ze baby, he grows big in her 17-year-old belly.

Man oh Manischewitz! Some might look at this turn of events as li'l Bristol squattin' over Mama's punch bowl at the Sunday social and gruntin' out a big ol' turd right into the dipper. Ah, but not the Unsinkable Sarah P. Quoth she:

"Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned."

Talk about taking lemons and making a horribly astringent lemon-scented douche out of them! I mean, sure, something like, say...college, just to pluck an example out of thin air, might have made li'l Bristol grow up faster than they'd planned. But, fuck, why bother with book larnin' when you can just do what comes natural? I can only imagine Gov. Palin's rose-colored view of shitstorms could be pretty darn handy should she ascend to national service. "Well, yes, that reactor meltdown did kill millions...but parking downtown is now a breeze! Tee hee." But, yeah, "Our beautiful daughter..." Sweet, right? Translated with the Sobsister Alethiometer, it reads, "Jesus Hashimoto Christ on a crumpet, young lady! You are grounded with no texting and no VeggieTales until the Rapture!!"

So, yeah. Li'l Bristol preggers at 17. She will, of course, marry her baby daddy, 'cause if abstinence-only education has taught us anything, besides the worthlessness of abstinence-only education, it's that two wrongs most definitely make a right. Poor, dumb bastid. He could've just gone for the b.j., but, nooo, he had to get all ambitious an' whatnot...

I bet Hill'n'Bill are soooo glad they welded Chelsea's knees shut when she turned 12.

Friday, August 29, 2008

That GILF!, Dept.

Yeah, she's a pro-life beauty queen who hunts and supports the teaching of creationism.

It's like Karl Rove found a bottle on the shore, rubbed it and out she wiggled with a ruby in her navel.

Well, maybe not. But somewhere in there, the story involves Karl Rove rubbing it.

I wish Jack Kirby were alive. He could totally draw...the Anti-Hillary!!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Look at me, I'm Cassandra Dee, Dept.

My powers of mystic prognostication have manifested themselves in a way that even I, with my powers of mystic prognostication, could not have predicted.

On August 9, I posited–and you'll have to take my word on this–that the only way London would be able to follow Beijing's budget-shattering, quasi-Biblical opening ceremonies extravaganza would be to have, in 2012, Led Zeppelin parachute into Wembley while playing.

August 24, the closing ceremonies at the "Bird's Nest" stadium in Beijing. Jimmy Page of, yes, of course, Led Zeppelin launches into "Whola Lotta Love," with Leona Lewis on vocals.

Watch this space, as I'll be revealing the Powerball numbers in advance of Wednesday's drawing.
The Erotics of Flying Hoops, Dept.


As the Olympics of Compassionate Totalitarianism wind down, a few thoughts on viewing the rhythmic gymnastics team finals this afternoon (I missed the individual event finals last night, darn it to heck, because NBC decided to show the fucking marathon or some shit. Yeah, go Eritrea! Or Kenya. Or Ethiopia. Or whichever country breeds champion long-distance runners by maintaining a political, social and economic environment of such shitastic dimensions that citizens are required to run 26.2 miles each day to obtain potable water.).

At any rate, five lovelies each from a flock of countries where cars are built with lawnmower engines and a wad of bubblewrap substitutes for an airbag. And Italy. Where cars are built with lawnmower engines and the smokin' hot raggaza on your lap substitutes for an airbag.

Two rounds, they showed. The first involved what appeared to be jump ropes; the second hoops and Indian clubs. At first, I was disappointed that I'd missed the individual finals, which, as I've previously noted, involve women--and, yes, actual women compete, versus the barely pubescent children in "regular", big-Wheaties-money gymnastics--performing floor exercises that borrow as much from the Ars Amatoria as from any bible of tumbling passes. But, as the performances unfurled, particularly that of the Russian team, I was frackin' amazed at the timing, skill and agility of these teams.

One woman throws four clubs with one hand and has them land spot on four different receivers.
One woman throws a hoop and three women extend a leg apiece to snag it like a brass ring off a carousel.
Two hoops go twenty, thirty feet in the air, then land to bounce off the back or foot or whatever of two women only to go flying exactly into the hands of two of their colleagues.

Not a single major mistake, absolutely amazing given the amount of shit flying up, down and across. Why they insist on showing children mincing through cutesy-poo floor routines when they could be airing this in primetime, I'm sure I cannot say. But rhythmic gymnastics rule school.

The Rooskies won gold, btw, totally deservedly so. Their routine was complex and artistic. The host country won silver, despite a minor fuckup. Belarus won silver. And the lovely ladies of Italia, despite their fetching neo-togas and excellent, excellent performances, wuz totally robbed by the Chinese.

I shall presently be starting a petition to get rhythmic gymnastics the primetime coverage it so richly deserves at the 2012 London Games. I invite you to sign it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Follow the Bouncing Ball, Dept.

Right, so we flick on the televisual apparatus on Monday 'cause we're shakin' with Olympic Fever™. Oh, and there's women's beach volleyball. Kerri Walsh and Misty May. We're told they're major players on the gridiron or in the sandbox or however sports scribes characterize the field of bikini-bound battle. Sure enough, they're kicking some lesser nation-state's ass. Okay. Interesting enough.

We flick on the apparatus on Tuesday and...oh, there's women's beach volleyball again. Misty and Kerri. They're in the middle of some major win streak. They're apparently the '92 Chicago Bulls-meets-the-'45 Château Haut-Brion of volleyball, except with firmer tannins, leaner mouthfeel and zero black people. So, yeah, they're still playing and still winning on the teevee.

Come Wednesday and...hoppla! it's beach volleyball bingo! Now it's a couple of dudes. They're winning too.

Thursday, hey, it's Mistyvision, now with Kerriophonic sound!

Friday, indoor men's volleyball!

Ummm...I don't want to piss in anyone's punchbowl but what the fuck, amigos? I mean, I totally get that U.S. women's beach volleyball combines two of our nation's defining themes, i.e., scantily clad women and crushing sports superiority, but aren't there, like, other, less-Tom-Hanks-evocative events we could be viewing?

For example, whatever happened to the most erotic of all Olympic events: rhythmic gymnastics (and please dial down the astonishingly crap soundtrack on the linked clip and substitute something like Prince's Gett Off)? I mean, can anything top a sport that instantly conjures up the Expert chapters of the Kama Sutra? Short answer: no. Longer answer: move over, chump, you're blocking my view of that lithe, gorgeous woman who can touch the tips of her toes to her chin. From behind.

I mean, mad props to Kerri and Misty (possibly also to Brandi, Kaylee, Shauntay and all the girls down at the Hard Knight's Day Gentlemen's Club) but I have needs, you know? And among them is the need to see something other than beach/indoor/underwater/freefall/transwarp volleyball every time I turn on my furshlugginer television.

But, in our Syllogism of the Day:

i) you can't argue with success and bikinis
ii) Kerri/Misty are undeniably successful, ergo
iii) Olympic Fever™: Go Pound Sand, America!


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Penis Envoy, Dept.

Ummm...what the fuck, John Edwards? I mean, Bubba Clinton I understand; Jesse Jackson I understand; Christ, Strom Thurmond I understand. But I actually thought Edwards and his wife were bulletproof in the scandalous adultery department.

Was I not on distro for the memo? You know...the one that said political office is carte blanche to bang any/everything with a pulse and a perm? I mean, I have not walked a mile in John Edwards' shoes, so who am I to judge...BUT I'm kind of an asshole, so I will. "Rielle Hunter" née Lisa Druck--and I'm sure that reinvention is a tale worth hearing over a saucy Chardonnay or twelve--may be a fascinating conversationalist or a conversant fellatrix, I don't know. But godDAMN, motherfucker, why exactly would you be slipping the salam' to some bim just around the time, you know, YOU'RE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT?!? Did he figure, "eh, between the black dude and the hag, who's gonna notice me porking off the reservation?" And "Rielle" (apparently pronounced "Riley" for no discernible reason; might as well pronounce it "Throat Warbler Mangrove") apparently has quite the backstory. From what I understand, she ended up in Jay McInerney's crowd in the mid-'80s. She apparently "intrigued and appalled" the novelist. And she apparently was no stranger to Hoovering up piles of inspiration off saliva-sticky mirrors.

So, yeah.
Go Johnny go!
That better've been some mad pussy you got, given that it's put paid to your political career.

My favorite part of the story? "Rielle" bears a child out of wedlock in February 2008. Everyone thinks Big John is the paterfamilias. Nuh-uh, Crimestoppers! It's apparently/supposedly/reportedly some other dude who worked for the Edwards campaign!!

Shit, tit and caramba! That must've been one block-rockin' campaign bus. What'd, they pass "Rielle" around like a blunt?

Ah, Johnny, we hardly knew ye. But, damn, motherfucker, what we did know of ye did not prepare me for this shit.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Only the Good Die Young, Dept.

And now I managed to miss the entire month of June. Linear time, what up?

But I break my blogfast with truly important news: Senator Jesse Helms kicked the Whites-Only bucket yesterday at age 86.

Now, on the one hand, some may say that he was a venomous bigot, a homophobe, a cretinous conservative ideologue, a rabidly censorious know-nothing, a smarmy, frogfaced mudslinger and rabble rouser who ran polarizing campaigns designed to pit citizen against citizen, a racist, reactionary fossil with little culture, class or compassion.

On the other hand, he's now facing an eternity of black, gays and artists kicking him in the junk on a daily basis.

So, slap one in the "win" column, America!

And in a footnote from the ever-principled conservative movement, the multiply defeated Constitutional Marriage Amendment resolution has been reintroduced by, among others, Sens. David "Big Bad John" Vitter and Larry "Love/Hate Relationship with Cock" Craig.

My irony meter having blown a fuse at the news, I leave this item for the comment of others.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Make-Up Sex, Dept.

Okay, so I managed to miss the entire frackin' month of April. And we're a good bit into May already. Fine. Sue me, sue me, what can you do me, I love you. No, wait, that's Nathan Detroit from Guys and Dolls.

At any rate, just to rekindle the romance, here's a short story:

I'm sitting in front of the teevee watching the Discovery Channel. Now, I never watch the DC usually because I only have a limited attention span for fish that eat humans or insects that eat fish or whatever, but that notwithstanding, there I was, watching the DC. Some dude was talking about how difficult it would be to survive in the Everglades if one had to walk across it. Which had, you know, never occurred to me. Possibly because of its retina-searing obviousness. So, roll footage of dude standing in the middle of identical-looking-in-every-direction expanse, dude examining body of water for 'gators, dude walking with large stick held before him to fool short-bus snakes. Then, drama! dude bounds ahead of the camera! Has he found the Lost Treasure of Ponce de León?! No. But he has found the Cutest Little Tree Frog Evar™! The little tree frog sits in dude's hand as dude gives us mission-critical info. Apparently, we're told, if one is to walk across the Everglades, one really needs protein to maintain one's strength, yadda yadda, nature talk nature talk, and he pops the cute li'l tree frog into his mouth, chews him briskly and swallows him. In high-def.



I was hating you for being a clueless twunt stupid enough to even think about walking across the fucking Everglades, and now you go and cap your exhibition of twuntishness by eating--alive, let me remind you--the cutest thing on the screen since I started watching your fucking show?!

I've channel-blocked Discovery.

At least until I hear that a Kodiak bear mistook this shitwit for a blow-up fucky doll.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Well, gosh darn but it's been a little while since I last trod these boards. Or whatever.

A return to posting hopefully forthcoming. Begging your indulgence, your humble servant, &c., &c.

Oh, and in the interim check out Muxtape. It's quite the brilliant way to hear buckets of good music. Figurative buckets, but buckets nonetheless.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Republican Intellectual and Philosopher Dies at 98, Dept.

Butz, Former Agriculture Secretary, Dies

Earl L. Butz, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1971 to 1976, died in his son's home in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.

Although Butz can be said to have fostered the rise of large-scale agribusiness in the United States, he is best known for propounding political, economic, and social philosophies that expressed his unique view of life in the United States.

His best-known pensée was recorded in 1976. On an airplane flight to California following that year's Republican National Convention, he was speaking with fellow Republicans, entertainer Pat Boone and former White House counsel John Dean. In response to Boone's question as to why the GOP was not able to attract more African-Americans to its ranks, Butz furrowed his brow, thought a moment and responded, "the only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight pussy, loose shoes and a warm place to shit."

Butz was 98.
Turnabout Is Fair Play, Dept.

Cajuns Fete Carnival With Pig Slaughter|ABC 7 News

I was, briefly, very excited when I thought the headline read:
"Pigs Fete Carnival With Cajun Slaughter."

Then, when I realized my error, my excitement faded like the last ribbons of day over Atchafalaya Bay.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ya Can't Keep A Good Man Down...or, for that matter, Paul Wolfowitz, Dept.

Wolfowitz Picked for Arms Control Panel - New York Times

Well, heck, you can kill off an army of the undead easier than you can put down Paul Wolfowitz. You may recall as of our last installment, Wolfie had been shitcanned from the World Bank on account of some administrative hanky-panky involving his shorty, Shaha Riza. Exiled he was, to the ice planet Hoth American Enterprise Institute to "work" as a "defense and foreign policy studies expert". This is called a "Beltway time-out", not unlike the kind imposed on imploding toddlers. According to the AEI website, Castle Wolfenstein is working on "development issues". Like, "how do I develop an onward gig where I can continue to implement my chickenhawk neo-con crack'd-mirror version of foreign policy?"

And, hocus-pocus alakazam!, here it is! Wolfie is going to head the State Department's International Security Advisory Board, an expert panel "charged with supplying independent advice on arms control, disarmament, nonproliferation and related subjects". Hellz yeah! I mean, sure, his work on pre-emption and Afghanistan and Iraq could charitably be characterized as "a bloody cock-up" or possibly "a disgraceful fiasco" or maybe even "a grotesque abortion". But here in Choc City, we believe in Second Chances. Then, after the recipient fucks up, in Third Chances. Then, after the recipient screws the proverbial pooch, in Fourth Chances. I'm not sure how far down the Chance queue The Wolfinator is right now, but, from where I'm standing, only the top of his head is visible over the horizon.

So, yeah, Wolfman Jackoff is going to be offering his most expertish advice to Condoleeza "the extra long-grain" Rice on some trifling little matters like "pending nuclear deals with India and North Korea and an offer to negotiate with Iran over its disputed nuclear program," so what's the worst that could happen?
Well, besides that.
And besides that too.
And, of course, that.
See? Nothing to worry about.
Sleep easy, America. The Wolf is at your door.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An American Story, Dept.

joey h

By art or nature, by choice or force, Joey Heatherton was a Sex Kitten.

Most memories of her that are still clattering around boomer brainboxes involve a mini-dress, go-go boots, and blonde hair flailing wildly in the energetic execution of any of the dances popular in the days of "discotheques". Here, for example, we see a typical dance number from Ms. Heatherton. She is demonstrating to the audience "The Hullabaloo" on the show of the same name. In the course of her performance, she appears, both in her jerking, thrusting movements and in her facial expressions, to be in the throes of a particularly-intense orgasm. This, I believe, was part of her appeal to a generation of youngsters who had heard a great deal about this thing Sex, but had no personal experience of its appearance or nature. This, I believe, was also part of her appeal to a generation of middle-aged men who knew something of Sex, but nothing of it in connection with a lithe, limber, smoldering blonde Kitten who apparently was Hurting For It, and rather badly at that.

Joey Heatherton had the misfortune of coming to prominence at the end of the era of musicals and near the end of the era of television variety shows, the only two large-scale media venues where a traditional singer/dancer such as herself could ply her trade. The type of music she performed was too "square" by half for the hippies and flower children who had elbowed aside the discotheque bourgeoisie dipping their toes in the pool of Different. The cover of her first and only LP, 1972's The Joey Heatherton Album, finds her in a funky denim shirt and beads, but the songs are a mix of country ("Crazy", "Gone"), pop ("God Only Knows"), gospel ("Shake-A-Hand"), and standards ("Someone To Watch Over Me"). The album photographs are taken by Harry Langdon, Jr., a son of Hollywood (his father was silent film comedian Harry Langdon) just as she was one of Broadway's daughters (her father was theater, radio, and television veteran Ray Heatherton). Langdon and she would work together again in the print half of the ad campaign that sealed her Kitten fate: Serta Perfect Sleeper Mattresses. One of the television spots, with JH in a revealing pink bellbottom'd jumpsuit, is available here, and a two-part mini-documentary about the Making Of these ads is here, then here. The second installment ends with a second TV spot, this one featuring her in a long white négligée, in which she talks about how "firmness and comfort" are the keys to a great night's sleep. This said as her plunging neckline displays the firmness and comfort of her breasts.

And that's what it came down to: Joey Heatherton as eminently-fuckable celebrity. She shimmies and jerks and grinds and works the mattress-top. She stretches and lolls and undulates and works the mattress-top. Hellcat or pussycat. Which one'll it be, buddy?

Which, as in most such cases, was a shame. She had a good voice and could sell a song strong or subtle. She was an energetic dancer who was straitjacketed into one style. She was, by most accounts, a decent actress; reportedly Stanley Kubrick's first choice to play Lolita. But she became a fixture on the Bob Hope USO shows. Whether she did this out of patriotism or out of a desire to be desired by tens of thousands of horny young men is unknowable. Whatever her motivation, she wore the Kitten role for twelve years before many, many uniforms and even more viewers at home.

Two more clips for you. This is an early appearance on The Dean Martin Show, a show she would later co-host in its summer-replacement incarnation. This, a comedy version of "I Get A Kick Out Of You" featuring some classic Paul Lynde muggery. She finishes the first chorus ("I get no kick from champagne"), jumps to the bridge ("I get a kick every time I see you"), then back for a mangled third chorus, avoiding the troublesome second chorus ("Some get a kick from cocaine"). She, unfortunately, was unable to do so in real life, and thence at least part of the story of her decline.

So, Sex Kitten emerita it is. And with the passage of time, memory elides the scandals and the suffering, and showcases the girl who brought Abandon into Middle America's living rooms.
It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated...Oh, Wait..., Dept.

Fred Thompson quits presidential race - Yahoo! News

File this under "historical inevitability": former Senator Fred "but, but, but you liked me on Law & Order, didn't you...?" Thompson dropped out of the race after finishing behind the GOP front-runners, the GOP also-rans, the GOP losers, Rex the Wonder Horse, and Amanda Hugginkiss in early primary and caucus voting.

In bowing out, Fred said, "Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort."

I'm sure he meant that in a way that didn't sound like he thought the hopes and dreams of the republic rose and set on his ass.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ridi, Pagliaccio!, Dept.

Don't send in the clowns - Yahoo! News

"Don't send in the clowns

Bad news for Coco and Blinko -- children don't like clowns and even older kids are scared of them.

The news that will no doubt have clowns shedding tears was revealed in a poll of youngsters by researchers from the University of Sheffield who were examining how to improve the decor of hospital children's wards.

The study, reported in the Nursing Standard magazine, found all the 250 patients aged between four and 16 they quizzed disliked the use of clowns, with even the older ones finding them scary.

'As adults we make assumptions about what works for children,' said Penny Curtis, a senior lecturer in research at the university.

'We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable.'

A word to researchers at the University of Sheffield and any other institutes of higher learning in the English-speaking world: next time, just ask your sobsister.

For I could have told you--for only half the money you spent on this study--that not only sick children, but well children, adults in any state of health, household pets, and even God's little angels fucking hate clowns.

Reason no. 1: clowns are not funny.
Reason no. 2: see Reason no. 1
Reason no. 3: clowns are irredeemably creepy. not as creepy as ventriloquists' dummies, I'll grant you. but, in the words traditionally attributed to Lon Chaney, "A clown is funny in the circus ring, but what would be the normal reaction to opening a door at midnight and finding the same clown standing there in the moonlight?"
Reason no. 4: clowns are only funny in the way a pack of rabid raccoons in the neo-natal ward of your local hospital might be considered "funny". which is to say: not at all.

I mean, there's even a phobia centered around an "abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns", called coulrophobia, from the Greek for "I HATE you, joy-sucking painted-face man! I HATE you!!"

So, to sum up: clowns not funny ever.
Don't get me started on the notion of a "clown college".
Or, dear God, a "clown ministry".
Thank you.
"Cruise Control"?...no..."See Cruise"?...no..."Cruising Attitude"?...no..., Dept.

Alright, so the Tinfoil-Hat Spotters are slavering and sputtering at the latest seeming outrage by America's Favorite Celebrity Cult Zealot™, Thomas Cruise Mapother IV d/b/a "Tom Cruise". A video, referred to by Gawker.com as an "indoctrination video", that has surfaced and sunk and resurfaced and resunk shows Cruise waxing enthusiastic about the Church of Scientology (CoS) and its benefits.

Cruise's demeanor in the video will not be unfamiliar to those who have had any exposure to TC in his moments of transport. What may be new--and, choose your term: surprising, disturbing, incredibly-creepy--to readers and viewers is the view of his chosen belief system that Cruise rather vigorously propounds. One set of quotes from the clip gives a wee bit of the flavor:

When you're a Scientologist, and you drive by an accident, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you're the only one who can really help. We are the authorities on getting people off drugs. We are the authorities on the mind.... We are the way to happiness. We can bring peace and unite cultures. Now is the time.

Unsurprisingly, online commentators are interpreting this as another unwitting-if-revealing peek into the box of crazy that is Tom Cruise. The supposedly-clandestine nature of the video's contents being underscored by the fact that the clip has been pulled from YouTube and other venues several times "at the poster's request". Which most take to mean that the CoS' lawyers have threatened to sink their teeth deep, deep into the offender's ass.

But watch the video here and indulge your sobsister in a bit of speculation. What if this video was not inadvertently leaked but intentionally released under the guise of an inadvertent leak? The usual frenzy of media attention and Schadenfreudlichkeit that accompanies such mask-dropping incidents (whacked-out Britney on a gurney, glassy-eyed Paris on Rick Salomon's cock) is currently in full froth, with everyone from the New York Times to the gossip blogs featuring this latest apparent slip. Which just happens to follow on the heels of the release in the United States of Andrew Morton's unauthorized and unflattering bio of TC himself.

Walk with me here: the Morton bio is released and gets tons of media play; in return, TC/CoS accidentally-on-purpose let slip a promotional video that shows the charismatic worldwide movie star, in a setting where he controls the tone, tempo, and topic, speaking forcefully and persuasively about the power, the prestige, the mission of Scientologists. Now, let me conjure up a parallel scenario: Will Smith, in comparable full-on star charisma mode, featured in a "leaked" video talking about how fucking cool it is to be in the U.S. Army blowing jihadist heads off. Sure, some people would shout "outrage!" and some people would tut-tut the Hollywood crazy...but lots and lots of people who would otherwise never watch a U.S. Army propaganda video might say to themselves, "Hellz yeah, that shit sounds great!".

So, how many people, having watched one of America's Biggest Stars speak supposedly-secretly about how fucking cool it is to be a Scientologist, are saying to themselves, "Wow, this Scientology thing rocks!? The CoS has managed to get tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans to watch a Scientology promotional video and maybe forget all this Morton coverage. If only ten percent of the viewers don't think "eewwww!" and check out their local CoS outlet, then that's "game" for L. Ron's children.

You just have to know how to ride the froth.

Now, this is not to say that the content of this video is not four-ply fatuousness trimmed with sweeping vagueness and textbook smugness. But all you need is ten percent. And, Christ, scads of people watch Doctor Fucking Phil and think he's the second coming of Sigmund Freud and Ann Landers. So, ten percent is a totally achievable figure. Which gives me a Golden Glow of Wonder™ that we've survived this long as a species.

Apropos of all things Cruisean, I found this fascinating entry on a genetics blog regarding both a possible reason for TC's behavior and appearance, as well as the censorious cloud that floats above any discussions of TC that threaten to turn unflattering.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Redefining "Underwhelming", Dept.

Hey, last night your sobsister watched the Golden Globes Awards the announcement of the Golden Globe winners paint dry!

For those of you who may be unaware of the situation surrounding this broadcast, the Writers Guild strike put the kibosh on the scheduled awards show, by dint both of presenters not having "witty" "banter" to exchange before reading the nominees, and of stars boycotting the ceremony in solidarity with their pen-wielding brethren and sistren.

So, instead of the red carpet shmoozefests and the dissing of the outfits and the oohing and the aahing over Brangelina and George and Cate and Johnny and whomever else quickens our merely-mortal pulses, I got to watch Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell of Access Hollywood read the nominees and winners.

Did you know Nancy O'Dell was Miss South Carolina in 1987?! And did you know that Billy Bush, first cousin to Our Globe-Trotting, Peace-Bringing President, was once called "the most annoying man in show business" by Billy Crystal, himself no mean connoisseur of the annoying?!

Yeah, that's all I've got on the "exciting" side of the ledger.

On the "wretched" side, however, I have the on-screen sight for an entire hour of Nancy O'Dell's face seemingly sealed in some kind of NASA-grade epoxy or lacquer. Not only does she have no wrinkles, but she is reported to be able to survive re-entry temperatures up to 1510 °C. I also have the on-screen sight of Billy Bush, who looks and sounds a little like Conan O'Brien's slowish cousin, opining. Opining on who should've won and who shouldn't've won and why. Here's a short list of lodestars I do not care to follow: Billy Bush's taste. Also, on this selfsame "wretched" side of the ledger, I have the televisual experience of two people not particularly known for their wit, charisma, or charm being the only moving objects on my television screen.

Now, I can hear some of you asking, "Hey, sobsister (if that's your real name), why din'tcha just change the frackin' channel, ya big crybaby?!" What, and face Entertainment News Industry Standard™ Mary Hart, herself a former Miss South Dakota, announcing the winners with a voice reported to cause seizures in epileptics and getting her perky on with a force that could bleach muslin at twenty paces? I don't think so. No, I don't think so at all.

So, on it staggered for an hour in objective time. Watching these mannequins read the Golden Globe nominees and winners was a bit like drinking soup through a winter coat. Or perhaps like reading erotic fiction in semaphore. Or maybe like warming one's hands by a photo of a fireplace. At any rate, not an experience I'm eager to try again. Plus, soon-to-be-nonagenarian Ernest Borgnine did not win an award for his performance in The Hallmark Channel production of A Grandpa for Christmas, so you know the fix was in.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

SuperNoVa, Dept.
So, we're patrolling in the superannuated sobsistermobile on Sunday and find ourselves, as we often do, in Northern Virginia.

For those of you outside the Greater Metropolitan Washington Sprawl, a little perspective. Which cities and counties actually comprise Northern Virginia can be tallied in many confusing ways. My own definition is that Northern Virginia extends south from the Potomac until the Korean bulgogi joints and Latino markets cede to bait shops, shooting ranges, and roadside billboards that try to make you feel bad about turning your back on Jesus. That said, however one chooses to define and demarcate the sub-region, one thing is manifestly true: Northern Virginia makes no sense. Roads begin, stop, resume, end, run at angles, then curve back on themselves. It's as if stoned urban planners had Silly String'd a topographic map of the region, then called it a day. If, as Thomas Wolfe wrote, only the dead know Brooklyn, I shudder to think of the entities that can claim to know Northern Virginia.

All this notwithstanding, there we are, driving down the road, looking for masoor lentils for a recipe I'm wanting to try, and we encounter four things within a mile:
1) fine chicken salteñas at a Bolivian bakery, the crisp brown shells brimming with so much unadulterated shortening that it's like applying a fat patch to one's carotid artery;
2) the best baba ghanoush in the Western world at a Lebanese hole-in-the-wall;
3) a thrift store with a large cache of LPs for a buck apiece (about which, more separately);
4) a tiny Vietnamese market where we bought a head of garlic, said head having been completely stripped of its papery skin by the diminutive woman behind the register.

This last was particularly remarkable. An entire head of garlic, denuded. As we approached to pay, she was working on another one with a little paring knife. Just stripping the excess skin away. Leaving an organic sculpture of clustered pink cloves like piglets at their mother's teats.

Thus, for this, the above, and other reasons, we regularly brave a Cthulhian road grid, one that has left lesser men broken and mad by the gravelly side of Route 50, to sample the polyglot pleasures of Northern Virginia.
The rest of Virginia, as I understand it, is peopled by hillbillies who sodomize unsuspecting visitors, then force them to smoke cigarettes and vote Republican.
As a consequence, it remains largely unexplored by your sobsister.
Thought for Food, Dept.

At the risk of having this space become Pollyanna's Paradise, your sobsister thought of something else that tickles my fancy (Crimestopper's Textbook: it's located just next to the uvula). Now, regular readers are aware of the deep and abiding distaste, not to say "full-blown disgust", I feel towards the hosts on the Food Network. The braying Rachael Ray, the unctuous Paula Deen, the unnecessary Ingrid Hoffmann, the...you get the picture. But...there is one person whose show by dint of personality, content, and presentation brings me back time and again, and that person, ladies and gentlemen, is Alton Brown.

I don't talk much about the men of Food Network. They tend to operate under the dark and noxious cloud blown up by the channel's distaff "personalities". And they are not as repellent as their female counterparts, more inclined to focus on content than cute, however mercilessly one need to stretch that latter term to include Ray and Deen. And Alton Brown is the best of them. His flagship show, Good Eats, is a combination of food science, kitchen tips, recurring characters, props, puppets, and smartness that I can only call, in the best possible light of comparison, "Pee Wee's Kitchen". Every episode, Brown focuses on a different dish or ingredient and demonstrates how to buy the ingredients, what kitchen tools to use, what chemical/physical processes underpin the preparation, and, finally, how to make the meal(s), with a lessons learned/best practices approach that, despite the fun and skits, isn't pitched at slow fourth-graders. For that reason, perhaps, he is treated as something like the channel's "intellectual" in its advertising. And a lonely job that must be at Food Network. His two Feasting on Asphalt "movies" have featured him and his crew riding motorcycles, first, across the U.S. east-west, then, up along the Mississippi, sampling the best road food along the way. In each, Brown sets aside the whimsy to present meditations, serious and humorous both, on the history of America's relationship with food and the road. Both quite enjoyable and informative. Both likely to make one want to hop in the car and drive to that li'l B-B-Q stand five states over. Brown also acts as expert commentator for the US version of Iron Chef, which I don't watch as often because I prefer the over-the-top host and dubbed translations of the Japanese original.

At any rate, Alton Brown. Watch his shows, read his books. Like the ten righteous men who might've saved Sodom, he is one of the few reasons not to visit sulfurous destruction on the Food Network.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Double Entendre, Dept.

Ruth Wallis - Cabaret Singer - Obituary - New York Times

Risqué ditty queen Ruth Wallis died on December 22 at the age of 87.

In these days of witless profanity, the notion of finding amusement or entertainment or even titillation from a woman singing
"All night long he's trying to do
what he used to do all night long.
may be hard to understand.

But such was her stock-in-trade in over 150 naughty-but-nice songs she wrote herself. Your sobsister is a big fan of this sub-genre of music whose Golden Age began in the mid-1920s and ended in the late-1950s. An era of classic tunes like "Big Ten-Inch Record" or "Long John the Dentist".

Still not sure what I mean? Go to the source and enjoy this fine collection of her songs assembled by the Internet Archive.

After you've sampled her sonic wares, toddle over to this site for an eyeful of Ruth Wallis album covers.

I mean, you've got to like a woman who can make erectile dysfunction humorous.
"He couldn't get it up,
couldn't get it up.
He had the Cape Canaveral Blues.
To a man, I mean.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String" Aside, Dept.

Occasionally, your sobsister realizes that the tenor of this space tends to the bilious and hateful. This realization is occasionally prompted by messages like one I received recently which read, in part, "'Ey, Sobsister, what for you always gotta be hatin' everything, huh?! what for you gotta be hatin'?!" And while it's always nice to hear from my mother, this particular message reminded me that it's been a good, long while since the last time I'd listed things I'd been enjoying. Back then, I'd even used the old "correspondence" dodge as well, which goes to show you the shocking paucity of imagination with which I lead my life.

At any rate and without any further ado, let me list some things I've been enjoying recently in the hopes that you, Gentle Reader, may perhaps avail yourself of them and likewise be transported into a magical realm of pleasure and delight or, barring that, be transported into a state of dull-eyed stupor which would allow me to relieve you of your wallet or billfold.

1) Stop Forgetting To Remember, a graphic novel by Peter Kuper. Kuper, in the thinly-fictionalized guise of cartoonist Walter Kurtz, recalls and recounts early experiences with drugs and sex as his wife carries then delivers their first child. The writing's funny and fast, Kuper's artwork, by turns, dense and detailed, then spare and lyrical. I enjoyed "Kurtz"' reminiscences more than the current-day story of the impact of his child's birth, infancy, and childhood on his world, largely because those later chapters, also concerned with his career's fits and starts, seemed cramped and rushed. A worthwhile read nonetheless.

2) The Subtle Knife, a novel by Philip Pullman. Revisiting this excellent book, the second volume in the His Dark Materials trilogy, after seeing the recent film adaptation of The Golden Compass, the first in the trilogy, reminded me of how much of Pullman's style was lost on the screen and convinced me of how absolutely impossible will be translation of the second and third books to Xtian-friendly film without an evisceration or malformation that would render the story incomprehensible and the effort pointless.

3) Ratatouille, an animated film by Brad Bird for Pixar. A gorgeous film with a touching story and fine voice acting. I'd been wowed by The Incredibles and wondered if Bird could make this story of a rat with a flair for gourmet cookery as engaging and compelling. Suffice to say that he succeeds in a way that'll have you rooting for the stringy disease vectors by film's end.

4) "Did You See the Words", a song by Animal Collective. It's like The Dream Academy's "Life in a Northern Town". Only more so. The former here, the latter here.

5) Tin Man, a mini-series on the Sci-Fi network. Call it a steampunk retelling of The Wizard of Oz. Featuring a particularly-fine performance by Alan Cumming as Glitch, the man with half a brain, the film cleverly tweaks and adapts elements of the L. Frank Baum/MGM mythos and adapts them to its own ends. A fair amount of debate on the Sci-Fi Network boards on the merits and demerits of Zooey Deschanel as DG, the girl swept into a parallel dimension by a storm. Depends on how you feel about "deadpan". That said, likely the best of Sci-Fi Network's original films.

Well, that's a start, no? Before long, it'll be twittering birds and fluttering butterflies around here. More to come when I, you know, actually like more stuff.