Saturday, November 27, 2004
This blog's supposed to be about "Los Angeles," whatever that means. I kind of wrote that little "About this Blog" thing very early one morning, before noon, and I was not yet thinking clearly.
So I wanted to post a list of favorite rock songs about Los Angeles, 'cause that covers two bases at once (music and Los Angeles...come on, guys, try to keep up). And I discovered it was a lot harder than I thought...
I could think of a lot of songs about Los Angeles, but most of them are really stupid.
Allow me to clarify. I'm down on Los Angeles. I've lived here for nearly a decade now, but that's mainly because I'm too lazy to move all my shit to a different city where I don't know any pot dealers. So, I'm receptive to songs that are similarly down on my hometown. However, I understand that it's easy to take cheap shots at LA, and I generally resent East Coast or Midwest singer-songwriters bashing the City of Angels in trite or cliched ways.
Consider, if you will, The Decemberists' "Los Angeles, I'm Yours." It's a funny song and Colin Meloy's a great singer and I really like the band...but it's such a lame critique of LA, once you get past the fancy SAT words. Like, I get why you'd write a line like "oceans garbled vomit on the shores," and it rhymes with "I'm yours..." But it's not really a devastating insult.
Ooooohhhh, the Pacific is a dirty, unswimmable ocean! I knew that. And it really doesn't affect day to day life in the city. To be honest, you could run the entire Pacific Ocean through a Brita, and I'd still probably prefer sitting in my bedroom bitching about rock albums.
Or what about Death Cab For Cutie's truly obnoxious LA takedown, "Why You'd Want to Live Here." Take this excerpt:
I'm in Los Angles today: asked a gas station employee
if he ever had trouble breathing, he said
It varies from season to season, kid.
Hey, screw you, Ben Gibbard, you condescending jagoff!
Do you suppose that story is true? Did he actually drive into a gas station in LA and ask the attendant if he had trouble breathing? I mean, Ben, come on, babe, it's a little pollution. Let's buck up. You'll be back in the woods in a few days. Relax.
Then there's this nugget:
It's a lovely summer's day and I can almost see the skyline through a thickening shroud of egos.
(is this the city of angels or demons?)
You hear that, LA? Your city's not just so smoggy that it compels him to berate innocent gas station employees. It's friggin' full of DEMONS! Ben, please feel free to remain in lively Bellington, WA (now featuring a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf!) for the rest of your natural life. I realize you'll have to pass through LA whenever you want to appear on "The OC," but just keep the windows up in your Prius and you'll probably be alright.
And watch out for demons.
Is any other American city insulted this way so regularly in popular music? Even Detriot has a few songs about how great everything is there. But, no, LA is just a sewer filled with phonies, is that it?
So, anyway, here are some songs that, for me, evoke the rhythms of life in Los Angeles. Or, you know, they have Los Angeles in the title.
Calistan - Frank Black
Well, this song could be about any place in California, really, but it's always felt like LA to me (particularly the line about "Cigarette Butt beach." I'm convinced that the sand at Venice Beach must be, at this point, at least 70% tar. Plus, it's half in Spanish, which automatically makes it more of an "LA" song than anything Ben "Demon Shroud" Gibbard could ever write.
Quotable line about LA: "I took three days to drive down one street..."
L.A. Woman - The Doors
Okay, this one is a total gimme, an obvious choice. Arguably the greatest LA song of all time.
Quotable line about LA: The whole song, but in particular, "Are you a lucky Little Lady in the City of Light, or just another lost angel?"
Cracked Actor - David Bowie
This song's actually about being a drugged-out (and probably gay) Hollywood actor, but, hey, close enough.
Quotable line about LA: "You caught yourself a trick down on Sunset and Vine"
West LA Fadeaway - Grateful Dead
It's about the Chateau Marmont on Sunset, near where I used to work in West Hollywood. The dorky Grateful Dead website I just visited informs me that it's actually about how John Belushi died at the Chateau one night, but it's a bit hard to get that from the actual song itself.
Quotable line about LA: "I met a West LA girl/Already know what I need to know"
Screenwriter's Blues - Soul Coughing
Soul Coughing lead singer M. Doughty lived in LA for a while in a failed attempt to get work as a screenwriter, and he wrote this surreal song about it that's, for me, the most Los Angeles-y song of all time. Check it out on the band's overall excellent first CD Ruby Vroom. Or just download it for free. What do I care?
Quotable line about LA: "We are all, in some way or another going to Reseda someday, to die"
By the way, just to remind everyone of what a trailblazer I am, you should know that there really isn't another list like this on all of the Internets. I know, because I checked, hoping to rip someone else off. But, instead, I actually had to write my own list.
I did find one site, hosted by USC, called "Pop Songs on Los Angeles," but it's not what I consider accurate. It thinks Lou Reed's "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" is about Los Angeles, despite the fact that it namechecks several non-LA cities, and yet doesn't mention LA once. Maybe the "Miami, F-L-A" line threw them off.
Posted by Lons at 6:54 PM
I recently submitted an application to review CD's for Pitchfork, the very cool indie-rock website linked over on the right column of this very blog (and, yes, the highlighted underlined word "Pitchfork" above). Haven't heard anything back...But I'll keep you posted.
Anyway, they wanted me to list off my top five favorite bands from each decade, 1970's onward. Why no 60's? I don't know...it'd be pretty challenging, but I could probably have thrown something together. But the guys at the 'Fork hate hippies, I guess. I thought I'd publish my answers here, to stimulate conversation or something:
4. The Ramones
3. The Velvet Underground
2. Neil Young and Crazy Horse
1. David Bowie
5. Oingo Boingo
4. Meat Puppets
3. Sonic Youth
2. The Smiths
1. Talking Heads
5. [tie] Guided by Voices/Sebadoh
4. Soul Coughing
2. The Pixies
5. The Decemberists
4. The Flaming Lips
3. The Fiery Furnaces
2. The Shins
I goofed, kind of. I left off Built to Spill, obviously one of my favorite bands. And I totally forgot about Pink Floyd on that 70's list until I had sent it in! What was I thinking. It's so obnoxiously hipster of me to pick a band like Television and not pick Pink Floyd. (Meat Puppets over The Police on the 80's list is also annoying of me, at least it's how I really feel).
Other than that, I think it's a fairly accurate compilation of some (clearly not all) of my favorite bands and music. Lists like this are useless and not definitive, but they can provide you with a decent litmus test for whether or not a person has good taste. Like me.
Posted by Lons at 5:33 PM
Yeah, a tanker spilled 30,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware this morning between Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, an area that already has more oil spilled on it than the Chevron next to Muhammad Ali's house. Oh, man, that's a Parkinson's joke...the blog has hit rock bottom after less than a week.
So, here's my question: Why can't these oil tankers get the oil where it needs to go without losing their shit all over our lakes and rivers? According to the ABC News article, in 1995, a tanker spilled 40,000 gallons into the Delaware following, and I quote, "a strong wind." A strong wind? These are massive ships, right? It's not like we're shipping 40,000 gallons of crude in the Kon-Tiki, are we? But that's not all! In 1989, a tanker ran aground in Delaware spilling 30,000 gallons of heating oil! Why does this happen?
What are the trucks and ships that carry peanut butter made of? I have never heard of a major peanut butter spillage killing 1,000 ducks. Let's start making the oil tankers out of the peanut butter tanker stuff. Right now!
Posted by Lons at 5:22 PM
Friday, November 26, 2004
Thursday, November 25, 2004
You know what expression I hate? Turkey Day. Yes, I know, we eat turkey on Thanksgiving, I'm glad you noticed. But it still sounds stupid. It sounds like we've set aside a day to honor turkeys, but really, we're just going to eat them, which isn't really different from what we do with them the other 364 days of the year.
Posted by Lons at 1:11 PM
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
We all know the big FOX News lie, right? The one that tells the wacko religious nuts in the middle of the country that we elitist, latte-sipping coastal liberals want to stop them from loving Jesus. And we all know it's crap, right? Okay, good. Glad I have such a smart blog audience.
But, anyway, check out the latest lie Billy O, Rush, Sean "Helmet Hair of Doom" Hannity and their right-wing cabal are spreading around the country:
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE BANNED AT CALIF. SCHOOL
Follow that link and read a Reuters story about how a wacko Christian teacher was trying to hand out Christian propaganda to his students. Among the propaganda, he slipped in some actual, important historical documents, so that when the district stopped him, he could pretend to be an educator. He's now being defended by the Alliance Defense Fund, whose website today just wants to let us know that "it's okay to say Merry Christmas." Awwww, isn't that nice?
Anyway, folks, this is how it works, as I'm sure you already know (remember that opening paragraph?):
Some stupid story comes out with an inarticulate headline, such as "Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif. School," which what the story really means is "Religious asshole justifiably fired and humiliated." Simple enough mistake.
But then, the Rush Limbaugh assholes get a hold of this stuff, and contort it and twist it around on the radio and in the newspapers, until it isn't a story about some guy who wanted to tell kids about Jesus and the school district who stopped him, but a story about how all good, hard-working Americans love Jesus, and how all the evil Jew rich fatcat corporate hackey-sack-playing pothead burnout pseudo-intellectual Eurotrash immigrants who live in the big cities hate Jesus.
And then, when it's time to vote, Americans think, "Well, a lot of what John Kerry argued made sense, and I am really poor and sick of sending my neighbor's kids out to die in a war in the Midle East, but I can't let those evil Jew rich fatcat corporate hackey-sack-playing pothead burnout pseudo-intellectual Eurotrash immigrants who live in the big cities win an election! They hate Jesus, don't you know? They wanted to stop using the Declaration of Independence because it has the word God in it! Go Bush!"
So, if you hear anyone you know repeat this stupid lie, please, correct them. It sounds like a small, dumb kind of thing that no one would believe, but so does "Bush/Cheney '04," and plenty of people went for that one...
Posted by Lons at 7:41 PM
The National Institute for Media and the Family, that I just mocked in a previous post, actually screwed up and aired cartoon nudity on C-SPAN this afternoon. I'm not kidding! Here's Fleshbot:
No, you weren't hallucinating if you saw naked boobies on C-SPAN this evening while flipping channels (since it's unlikely you were actually sitting there watching it): uncensored, unpixelated clips from the M-rated "The Guy Game" and "Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude" were shown to a bored looking audience (including Senators Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl) as part of a National Institure for Media and the Family briefing on its annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card.
Way to go, NIMF! Your acronym kind of looks like MILF. And you have my good buddy Joe Lieberman to your events! He thinks "Friends" is inappropriate for a prime time audience.
Posted by Lons at 6:30 PM
...here's a helpful article, identifying the most violent (and therefore best) video games.
Coming in at #1? No surprise here. It's "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," which I have not yet played, but is the sequel to "Vice City," a game in which you could freely walk around and chainsaw people to death. So, I'm there.
Here's a surprise, though. "Half-Life 2," a game where you run around and kill aliens, came in second. Is killing insect-like aliens even considered violence? I squash insects every day, and they're from this planet.
Not to mention that there's a game out there called "Hitman," where you're, well, a professional hitman. Plus, there's about 500,000 fighting games out there, and they have the fighting right there in the name of the genre! None of those made the list. But "Doom 3," a game where you kill DEMONS on MARS, is on there...Cause, you know, the graphics are so realistic.
So, I started thinking, "who the hell are the people who made up this list, anyway?" And I Google'd them. It's The National Institute on Media and the Family, y'all! They have a hilarious website (click that name back there what is blue) that I suggest you check out.
Perhaps my favorite part is the movie review section, filled with nuggets such as this paragraph, about The Grudge:
There are many scary moments in the movie. Some of the violence is graphic and there is a suicide. There is some strong language and a sexual situation that is not graphic. We see various body parts lying around at times and there are several "jump out of your seat" scary moments. Why are we so entranced with horror movies, ghosts and death?
This is written by a woman, Linda Thomas, who the website swears is a real movie critic (and a native Minnesotan!), though it doesn't include the names of any publications where you can read her deep, penetrating insights, insights that include "horror movies are scary" and "people like ghosts and death."
Ms. Thomas also wrote this send-up of Team America: World Police for the same site:
The amount of swearing and crude language is tremendous. There is a sex scene between two of the marionettes that is several minutes long and very graphic. This movie could easily have been given an NC-17 rating.
There's a small part of me that takes a certain amount of glee in the fact that this woman was forced, due to her chosen occupation, to type the phrase "sex scene between two of the marionettes that is several minutes long and very graphic."
Now, those are funny...but they're nothing (NOTHING!) compared to the fun you will have at Christian Spotlight on the Movies.
Oh, man, this is like my favorite site on the 'Net. Just for starters, let's see what they have on The Grudge, a movie which I saw and rather enjoyed, though I found it frequently ridiculous and silly, and felt that the script could have used an extra polish.
Okay, the review (by Mr. Douglas Downs) starts with this witty (?) rejoinder:
Don’t let the title fool you. The Grudge may sound like the name of a new club band, but it has nearly the same intensity as The Ring.
What the hell's a "new club band"? Does he mean grunge? What?
Anyway, back to the issue at hand. The review. It continues thusly:
No, I do not believe in ghosts and spirit-power beyond the grave. Hebrews 9:27 - “Man is destined to die once and after that to face the judgment”. I do believe that Satan can appear as a malicious and deceptive spirit.
I John 4:1 “Dear Friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Having said that, I do like a good creepy haunted house flic [sic].
I don't know if you're getting a kick out of this in reader-land, but here at Crushed By Inertia-Central, we have Sprite coming out of our noses. Of course ghosts aren't real, you understand. But Satan can (and will!) appear as a malicious and deceptive spirit. Duh! HAVING SAID THAT, on to the review:
Director Shimizu wrote the original script in a traditional nonlinear fashion.
Guh? And here's the capper:
If you enjoy people vanishing, scary elevators, frightening shadows, a black cat and a lot of terrified people…then The Grudge is your ticket.
And who doesn't enjoy all of those things?
Seriously, this is just a taste. I recommend heading over to Christian Spotlight, thinking of the 2 or 3 most objectionable movies in your collection, and then getting ready for some Scriptural references mixed with bad undergraduate feature reporting!
Posted by Lons at 3:05 PM
Today's quote of the day comes from recently murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, killed by one of those nutbag Dutch terrorists we're heard so much about, because he dared to make a film criticizing how Muslims treat their women:
"Free debate is a war of ideas. It's a place where we should be able to hurt each other."
Posted by Lons at 3:00 PM
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
I've been thinking about this since Election 2004. When we have on our hands is a large group of Americans (namely, everyone between Salinas and Cleveland) who don't seem to understand what the word "freedom" means. They think it means something about eagles and stars and Toby Keith stomping Arabs with his cowboy boots. But when they turn around and try to legislate their own intolerance, as with, say, gay marriage, they prove through action an essential misunderstanding of this relatively simple concept.
See, freedom in America is supposed to mean that everyone can do what they want unless it directly brings some harm to another citizen. Now, I know it's never actually meant that in practice. I mean, hell, when we first invented these rules, we made women and black people exempt because it was convenient that way. But my point is that, this is what it's supposed to mean. And I think most people would agree with that, if you put it to them that way.
But then you have the gay marriage debate. People think that, because being gay is kind of gross to them, they have a right to make laws against it. What's the thinking here? "Well, I should be free, because nothing I do is gross, like two guys having anal sex is gross." Does anyone think in such myopic terms? I guess so.
So, this is why it bothers me when guys like, oh, I don't know, Pat Buchanan go on television and say things like, "We need to keep marriage as the union between a man and woman, because that's what the majority of Americans wants." See, cause it doesn't matter what most people want. We have a Constitution in place to protect individual rights against the power of mob rule. Even if everyone decided tomorrow that they were really sorry, but, they just don't think black people should be able to vote any more...It's just not working out...Well, they're not allowed to just take a vote on it and declare the right to vote repealed for black people. They're apparently allowed to intimidate black people at the polls, but that's a topic for another angry column some other time. It's against the law to strip anyone of their right to vote based on their race, of course, so even if it's what everyone wanted to do, it's still not allowed.
The same, naturally, should be true of gay marriage. Even if most Americans think it's gross and wrong, and that it will eventually erode the institution of marriage (though this argument is a patently ridiculous diversion from the actual issue at hand: homophobia), it still has to be legal. We have the 14th Amendment, and it guarantees equal protection under the law. Sorry, Jim DeMint, you crazed paranoid reptilian asshole.
So, basically, if you're reading this, just know that you should support anyone who wants to get married, whether they're gay or straight. It doesn't matter if they're born that way or if it's a choice, it doesn't matter if the Bible says it's an abomination or not, it doesn't matter what Jesus would do...Do it because it's the right thing to do, and it's the American thing to do, and because it really has nothing to do with you and your sanctimonious ass anyway. You don't have to go to the gay wedding, doofus. Just don't vote in a way that breaks up families and violates what this entire country is supposed to be about in the first place.
Posted by Lons at 6:14 PM
Classic stuff today, as always:
SWIFT BOAT VETS STILL HOUNDING KERRY:
"We've made great progress in spreading the truth about John Kerry's treasonous past, but our job isn't over just because he lost the presidency," said John O'Neill, founding member of the Swift Vets and author of Unfit For The Community, a new book arguing that Kerry's Vietnam service record indicates that he would make a dangerous neighbor. "John Kerry is a threat to every American he comes in contact with, whether he's running for president, getting his oil changed, or going to a movie with his wife."
Posted by Lons at 2:00 PM
I like reading Andrew Sullivan's blog (particularly when he digresses from politics and discusses the secret, underground world of bears and otters, but that's a conversation for another item). I generally disagree with him, but I don't find him as insufferable as most conservative hawks, so it's interesting to get a divergent viewpoint now and then.
But, today he's going off on Dan Rather again, and is beginning to tip over into unsufferable again:
"Why on earth is Rather staying on full-time at Sixty Minutes, the show whose reputation he besmirched by rashness and partisanship? Rather's tenure as CBS anchor was bound to end some time soon. Big deal. A simple question: How can you rehire a man for Sixty Minutes when you haven't even published your own investigation into the journalistic meltdown that he presided over? Shouldn't you wait until you know what actually happened before you declare that someone will stay on full-time? And how long does such an investigation take, for Pete's sake? My bullshit detector just went through the roof on this one."
Haven't we all had enough of this "Dan Rather and his tainted memos" nonsense. I watched that episode of 60 Minutes, and a very small part of his case was based on the fraudulent memos. This turn of events certainly hasn't vindicated Georgie W. or his stated position that there was no favoritism involved in his enrollment in the champagne unit of the Texas Air National Guard.
But, no, they have to continue to tear Rather to shreds for being a partisan.
I mean, he's a journalist, and it would have been a big story, right? Wouldn't any real journalist go after a big story, even if it violated their personal politics? What ever happened to that point of view? Why should we just assume all journalists are total partisan hacks who just want to advance their own side, and never question it?
And do right-wingers believe, say, Sean Hannity would come forward with damning evidence against his president because of his journalistic, erm, ethics?
Posted by Lons at 11:33 AM
I feel bad, because one of the main stated topics of this blog is politics, and I haven't yet sacked up entirely and gone political with one of the posts. Oh, sure, there's the President making an ass out of himself in that picture a few posts below this one, but finding a picture of our Commander-in-Chimp making an ass out of himself on a blog is about as difficult as finding an attractive set of twins in a beer commercial. Not very.
I hate this president. Hate him. I didn't just vote against him, I actively campaigned against him. I put a goofy photo of him on my computer as wallpaper, even! And he still won. Can you believe that?
He won because most Americans don't share my political values. And not just the value about how marijuana should be legalized (although that's a strong value you'll hear more about soon enough!)
We're using the word "values" in this country all wrong. Having strong values has nothing to do with being Christian, or hating gay people, or being anointed with oil every time you get elected (as John Ashcroft, our former Attorney General, used to do). It just means having some beliefs, some core concepts of right and wrong that you will not deviate from.
My values include: generosity, compassion and personal freedom. Therefore, I voted for John Kerry on values. I could get into all this stuff, but the election is over, and unfortunately, Americans made their horribly misinformed choice. I'm not one of these liberals who is crying foul over election fraud. I'm sure there was some election fraud, mind you, but enough to make up for 3.5 million votes? Nope, Georgie-Boy won this one outright. Not fairly, because to do it, he had to lie to everyone, but he won it by the rules and we have to now let him be president. Ugh.
I have a friend, who shall remain nameless, who is a Bush supporter and lifelong Republican. He thinks, I'd wager, like a lot of Bush supporters. They like what the president stands for, Big-Picture style. American strength, individualism, fairness and low taxes.
But that's not really what Bush & Co. are all about. That's the smoke-screen that he puts up to keep moderates in his camp. You have to look at what he keeps doing, not at what he says (or attempts to say between the stuttering and shuffling about like some autistic Man With No Name).
He believes in turning this country over to religious nut-jobs who will only be happy when you accept their religion as your own. He believes in limiting what you can say if you oppose him. And he believes, as he actually said over and over again in the Kerry debates, that the only way to keep America safe is to remain permanently on the offense.
But the election is over, this man is now in charge, and he'll begin his even dirtier 2nd term business any day now. What? He's already started!? Oh, crap.
All I can do is hope he does such a foul job, without totally ruining America, that the people Bill O'Reilly so charmingly refers to as "the folks," see the folly of their ways and vote for whomever my side puts up in '08.
And, by the way, I'm not some dumbass partisan wonk who's always going to tell you to vote "blue state." It just so happens that the Democrats have been totally the right side of the equation in every election in recent memory. They're not perfect, they're usually bland, self-serving and disconnected from the people they want to represent. But they say things that make sense, they want to pull this country together and figure out ways to move it forward, and they're not obsessed with the conquest of sovereign Arab nations.
And it's not my fault that the Republicans are putting up these assholes.
Posted by Lons at 10:52 AM
Just wanted to let you all know how surprised and delighted I am to have 2 whole comments on my blog after just 1 day. That's an average of two visitors per day, which is certainly more people than I can force to listen to my blather off of the Internet.
So, basically, I just want to welcome any potential readers to comment on these articles, or e-mail me if there's stuff you'd like to see more of (such as, for example, pictures of the President with his underwear sticking out). Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind seeing more of those, either. Perhaps that will be my niche.
Posted by Lons at 10:48 AM
As you don't know yet, because this blog just started, I am a huge fan of the Howard Stern Show. This morning, the Associated Press is reporting that Robin Quivers has been offered her own daytime talk show, and may be leaving the Stern show if she is picked up by a network!
Why does anyone watch these wretched daytime talk shows anyway? I mean, I know, unemployed people like myself are around all afternoon, but come on, people! Do something useful with your afternoon! For example, start a blog that no one reads and then use it to chew out people who watch daytime talk shows! Now, that's a productive use of time.
I've seen the Ellen DeGeneres show and even the Tony Danza show...Is anyone seriously telling me we need more shows like this? There are some mysterious pasta salad recipies that have yet to be made public? No one is discussing the fashion do's and dont's from this year's Country Music Awards? There's no where else CBS can introduce it's 8 new versions of CSI? I find it hard to believe...
Posted by Lons at 10:41 AM
Monday, November 22, 2004
So, I applied for a job as a "digital correspondant" with this new cable TV station that's starting up next year. They were gonna send young people out with digital cameras to make documentary/experimental film pieces for the network.
Anyway, I got in for an interview, and they're doing group interviews, which you just know is bogus, and one of the people in my group is this model. And, I mean, it's Los Angeles, you can't drive from your botox clinic to your pilates class without nearly colliding with the Escalades of at least four models, but this was a particularly hot model. She told me she'd even been a model in Japan, which according to last week's America's Next Top Model, is, like, totally one of the world's centers for hot new clothes. So, of course, the two male interviewers paid an extreme amount of attention to my short, stumpy male ass.
But I don't want to sound bitter. I am bitter, I just don't want to sound this way.
I figured I didn't get the job, and I didn't, but today I got this e-mail from the company (whose name I will leave out, because I want to be able to call their executives foul names with no fear of reprisal):
Are these guys douche-bags or what? First, they don't hire me for the job, then they want me to keep coming up wtih stuff to send them anyway? Oh, I get it...I can stay up nights coming up with brilliant ideas for TV shows, e-mail them to you, and then I can be participating as a "freelance producer"! For no money! It all makes sense now!
We are so impressed with the hard work, passion, and creative talent demonstrated by the 2000 Digital Correspondent applicants who have reached out to us. Thank you for being one of the pioneering participants in our effort to transform television. This recruiting process has been
instrumental in the shaping of our programming vision.
After a review of your application, we regret that we are unable to offer you a position as a full-time Digital Correspondent. But, we want you to stay involved. And we have a new framework for supporting your involvement.
While we can't possibly hire all of you in staff positions, the size and talent of our applicant pool has inspired us to do something bolder and with more impact. We are going to open our doors wide and invite all of our Digital Correspondent applicants, and anyone else who shares our aspirations and our values, to participate as a freelance producer who can submit content on-line and be rewarded for contributions that are broadcast on our television network.
But the letter continues!:
We know that waiting to hear from us has been frustrating. We apologize for our delay in communication. We were taking extra time and care as we crafted an expanded vision of our production model, and we are confident that the resulting open contribution platform will ultimately drive a stronger TV network and enable more participation.
"Hey, everyone, sorry it took so long for us to get back to you, but we were busy coming up with this dumbass form letter about how we want you to work for us for nothing! I would have let you know you didn't get the job sooner, but then I wouldn't have had time to come up with a clever plan to screw you out of your best ideas!"
Seriously, guys, you're not reading this, but if you were, I would tell you that you only get to use people's good ideas if you hire them and give them a chance. If you give them the shaft, that makes them angry, and then they don't want to give you their good ideas. They want, instead, to keep those ideas to themselves, and then to get out their frustration with your idiocy by posting a rant on their new blog.
Posted by Lons at 7:36 PM
I watched this new Adult Swim show last night. It's from Bob Odenkirk, one of the stars of the hilarious Mr. Show, among the best sketch comedy shows of all time.
And I just don't get it at all. I mean, I understand the concept. A guy moves to a new town and tries to make business deals with the mayor, who is unfortuantely insane. So that's fine.
But I don't really understand the style. It's all done with still characters over backgrounds, and the characters are made to look mimeographed or something (check out the link to the Adult Swim website for a sample). It's unattractive and kind of hard to watch. Why was it done that way? It certainly doesn't add anything to the show.
Plus, I just don't think it's funny. And I'm perfectly capable of finding non-sequiter antics funny. I like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab on the same network.
It's been a disappointing few months for Williams Street, the production company that stocks Cartoon Network with its most innovative original content. They've failed to deliver a new show of any merit in a while. Could their brief experiment in providing stoners with bizarre late-night cartoons be coming to an end so soon? I hope not, because I'm up late all the time, and I don't like infomercials or Carson Daly.
Posted by Lons at 6:22 PM
I hate people who deny that they like television. You know, you're talking to a group of people about how great America's Next Top Model was last week, and that one snot in the group has to mouth off with their cliched "television sucks" rant. Generic "television sucks" ranters are, fortunately, easily identified:
- They gratuitously include mention of how SUPER-BUSY they are, so they just DON'T HAVE TIME to watch TV. "Oh, well, now that I'm pulling double-shifts at the sanitation plant AND doing that gun maintenance correspondence course, I just don't have the half-hour a week to follow Curb Your Enthusiasm."
- The person will talk about how they inadvertently gave up television and have no come to love their newfound freedom. As if television is an addicted substance, and the rest of us who enjoy an occasional episode of The Ashlee Simpson Show are in its thrall like crackheads nervously tonguing the resinated end of a hot crack pipe.
- They will pretend not to know anything about what's going on in television, even if its been widely discussed in every other piece of media, as well as in approximately 90% of the week's small-talk conversations. "Scott Peterson? Who's THAT? Oh, I don't have time to follow trials. I'm doing eight concurrent 10k runs this weekend!"
Don't let these people dissuade you from enjoying reality TV!
Remember: Even a decent reality show is better than almost anything fictional TV has to offer. Don't get me wrong - a good scripted show is a great thing. I love South Park, The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, the aforementioned Curb and others. But reality TV gets a lot of undue heat, as if all the shows were as pathetic as Temptation Island. Well, they're not. And Temptation Island wasn't all bad, either.
Wow, that's a lot of writing already for what was supposed to just be the humorous lead-in to this article about my favorite reality shows. So, no time for segues! Here are my favorite reality shows:
This is arguably the best reality show of all time. I think it's the casting, but The Donald also exemplifies one of the odd rules of reality television. The more ridiculously ego-maniacal and annoying the host, the better the show. Don't believe me? Try Making the Band 2, with your host P. Diddy, or Top Model, with the bizarrely self-adoring Tyra Bands. Or even the new and delightfully amusing Big Fat Obnoxious Boss, which intentionally takes this rule to its next logical level, basing a whole reality show around a fictional executive asshole.
The Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes 2
Except for the name, which I feel ridiculous even typing, this is a killer show. I haven't been keeping up with MTV enough to know who all these young, attractive neuroses collections are, but they're very entertaining to watch as they attempt to tear one another to shreds for a chance to win a cheesy video phone. No, seriously, they're competing to eventually win $50,000, but the money's not the point. It's the unwarranted hostility. And watching it on TV is a great way to avoid working it out in your own daily life.
Plus, the fact that the show gives away video phones is hilarious to me. That's technology that never caught on, right? Now we all have cell phones with cameras on them instead. Why is some company still tapping this market? Do they sell laserdisc players and that astronaut ice cream, too?
EDITOR'S NOTE: I went to high school with Veronica from Road Rules, who currently appears on this show. I demonstrate no favoritism towards her by including the show on this list. I was not popular in high school, and did not ever get to know her very well.
The Ashlee Simpson Show
Yeah, I know, it's off the air. But this was the best reality show ever. At least, it included some of the reality show dialogue highlights of all time, such as this nugget from Ashlee's boyfriend/confidant/best friend Ryan Cabrera after seeing her first live performance:
"You've made me re-invent myself as an artist"
I mean, that's just good stuff. All Music Guide informs me that Cabrera himself became passionate about music "after hearing Dave Matthews." These people were born to be on television.
MTV, I know you say you've cancelled the show, but in light of the Saturday Night Live debacle and the overall devotion of Ashlee's hardcore fanbase, can't you please reconsider giving Ashlee the $500 million she'd certainly demand for a Season 2?
Where did HBO find the Evangelista Family? Speaking of people born to be on television...
They argue, they get plastic surgery, they argue some more, and then they go catch perps attempting to skip bail. All the camera guys have to do is follow them around, and you have a show. It doesn't hurt that father Tom is such a funny, aggressive guy, or that his nephew Chris an insecure, overweight bundle of quirks, either. Or that their aging wives gather at the Classy Lady nail boutique to discuss the sensitivity of their respective clitorises.
Which brings me to the real question I've been leading up to for this entire piece:
Is it clitorises or clitori?
Posted by Lons at 5:46 PM
Caught this at a screening room on the Fox lot last week. I've never worked at a studio for an extended period of time, but I've been on these backlots a whole bunch since my collegiate days, and it never fails...Every single time, I look around, expecting to see something insidery and cool. It never happens. Backlots are perhaps the most boring places on Earth. It would be like sitting around all day in the courtyard of an office park, waiting to see a merger. Like, it happens there, but not right there, you know?
So, anyway, I was there to see Kinsey, the new Bill Condon biography of influential sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. I will now proceed to tell you who he was, as if this was a regular movie review: Kinsey was a zoologist at the University of Indiana who, in the 1930's, began his career methodically studying gall wasps. He then moved into sex research on humans. And not the kind of sex research on humans included in most of the movies I see. The dull, interview-heavy kind. Basically, Kinsey interviewed thousands of subjects about their sex lives, and was shocked (shocked!) to discover that most American males regularly masturbated, had extra-marital affairs and pre-marital sex, and even homosexual encounters.
According to the film, Kinsey viewed sex methodically, coldly, the way any scientist views the subject of his intense study. He loved his wife, but cheated on her repeatedly, with both men and women, including some of his younger male colleagues. He was also prone to sexual experimentation that might strike even open-minded, easy-going, non-Puritanical persons such as myself as extreme. Examples, you say? Well, how about puncturing his foreskin to see what it would feel like? That do anything for you?
Based on my description, you might think Kinsey a strange movie, and you would be absolutely correct. It's strange, and difficult, and unfortunately not as interesting as it should be, considering how often people are openly discussing vaginas. Most of my problem with the film lies with Liam Neeson, who plays Kinsey as a sort of bizarre, perverted dork, utterly unable to connect to any of the people around him and yet obsessed with human sexuality.
Neeson already has a kind of large, lumbering, awkward presence in some films. It's why I thought he was all wrong to play a Jedi (one of the rare instances when I was displeased to be proved correct), and why he was a natural choice for Condon when casting the film. But, he overplays the part. His Alfred Kinsey is so disconnected from reality that it's very difficult to follow him as a lead character. More examples? Okay, well, he encourages his male staff members to sleep with each other and one another's wives, and is later surprised (even dumbfounded) and disappointed when this causes tension in the office. I mean, he's a sex professor, you know? Imagine Dr. Ruth giving that kind of advice.
All of these sequences struck me as particularly odd, considering that the real Kinsey must have had quite a way with people. He managed to get grants for his sex research from the Rockefellar Foundation, built a community of aides and graduate students who traveled with him around the country conducting his research, and, of course, managed to get thousands of strangers to tell him they liked vibrating anal thumbs.
Yet, watching Neeson ramble endlessly about the minutae of his collected sexual histories (around the dinner table, no less!) it's hard to imagine anyone could tolerate this guy for extended periods of time. Provided, of course, they were not currently contestant's on MTV's hot new game show, You've Got a Friend.
It doesn't help matters that Laura Linney, one of my favorite working actresses, plays Kinsey's wife, Clara. She's wonderful as always, providing Clara with an earthy kind of humanity that is the stark opposite of Neeson's calculated nerdiness. We're supposed to be touched by her devotion to this brilliant genius, but instead we're wondering how she tolerates living with such a creepy bore.
It's the same problem I had with the "courtship" scenes of Ron Howard's abysmal A Beautiful Mind. We're supposed to be taken by Jennifer Connelly's ability to see through Russell Crowe's quirks to his inner beauty, but instead we just think there must be something seriously wrong with this girl, because this dude is a SPAZ. I can think of plenty of movies about weirdos or losers who earn the love and devotion of the pretty girl, but this is ridicarous.
Other than the forementioned issues with Neeson's performance, everything goes along alright for a while, but the movie kind of falls apart after a stronger initial hour. John Lithgow has a nice scene about an hour in as Kinsey's stern, sex-and-God-fearing father. After he exits, it's all downhill.
There's a pretty dreadful scene with Bill Sadler as a sick child-molesting sex-crazed maniac who provides Kinsey with a particularly vile narrative for his records. I think it's supposed to demonstrate the end result of Kinsey's methods: if he is to study the sexual behavior of all people without bias, his research must therefore include even those with the most aberrant behavior. And to study and report such behavior grants it some level of legitimacy, at least statistically. His otherwise permissive attitude towards what was considered outrageous by a prudish society, then, has to have limits.
But, really, the scene plays as exploitation. It's gross and disturbing, and not in that good way, like, say, Barbed Wire Dolls. In that uncomfortable way.
Then, there's some tear-jerking melodramatic nonsense with Lynn Redgrave. It's really embarrassing stuff that I won't reveal, because I've already told you way too much about this movie. But it's surprising coming from Condon, whose Gods and Monsters was so restrained. That movie was tender and affectionate without being pedantic. If you're going to check out a Bill Condon movie, I recommend that one highly.
Posted by Lons at 1:53 PM
Why Crushed by Inertia?
It's a literary quote, and I wanted to name my blog after some hip literary reference, because it will let people know that I'm smarter than them. That's important, when you think about it, if I expect them to read all the goofy crap I'm writing off the top of my head.
Good question. I'm unemployed and bored, for starters. And I have a lot to say, goddammit!
So, who the hell are you anyway?
Name's Lonnie. I live in Los Angeles. I'm 26. I've worked as a journalist, screenwriter, lackey, bookseller, post-production coordinator, temp and, BRIEFLY, publicist's assistant. I'm interested in the things I'll be writing about here - movies, books, music, politics and the excruciating pain in which I live every day. No, no, I'm just kidding. I'm really not that fond of politics.
Thanks for laughing. You're welcome to stay.
So, what kind of things WILL you be writing on here?
Mostly the sort of thing you're reading right now.
No, stupid. Amusing little articles and essays that I'll post as I think of them. But I'll also write movie, book and music reviews, concert reviews if I ever have enough money to go to another concert, opinion pieces, news items I find significant, and so forth.
Do you know of any good places to eat in the downtown area.
Is it reasonable?
Well, you know, it's a Radisson, so it's pretty good.
Posted by Lons at 1:52 PM
Whew...glad that's over with. I feel much better now.
Posted by Lons at 1:45 PM
Okay, so this is just going to be a test post. I can't deal with the pressure of being really clever about my first post. I plan to have lots of clever things to say, mind you, or else this entire thing would be a pointless enterprise. But I can't say funny things on cue. I won't be your monkey.
Posted by Lons at 1:40 PM