Fresno, Calif.- Members of the international Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda are reportedly “super pissed” that they were recruited for the sole purpose of lacing Californian pistachios with salmonella.
Two members of the group—who requested anonymity due to fears for their safety—said after their basic training in Pakistan they were shipped to California with specific orders: hit America where it hurts.
Once in the U.S., they were told more specifics of the plot.
“Some men, they die in September 11 attacks,” said one of the men. “Us? We are left with poisoning the nation’s pistachios. It’s a real slap in the face.”
The two men went on to say that the Al-Qaeda members responsible for last winter’s salmonella outbreak in peanuts were true heroes.
“I mean peanuts, they at least have a butter,” one of the men said. “But pistachios? Nothing. No butter, no brittle. Have you ever heard of pistachio butter cups? No.”
The two men were hired by Berra Tella Inc., the nation’s second-largest pistachio producer, in January, company records indicate. Once employed, the two men snuck vials of salmonella into the factory and poured the liquid over the roasted nuts, they said.
Vials of salmonella are not readily available in the United States, though they are commonplace in the Pakistani streets of Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, the two men said.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, 2 million pounds of pistachios were recalled yesterday due to salmonella fears.
When asked by a reporter whether they believed they succeeded in their mission, the two men hung their heads.
“That’s not the point,” one man said. “Sure, we brought the western pistachio industry to its knees, but for what? I have a PhD in engineering! My skills could be better utilized.”
“He has a PhD, damn it,” the other man said, hanging his head. “Worst jihad ever.”
Note: This is NOT TRUE. This is an absolute satire. Please don't arrest me.
Meet Kaitlyn. Meet Sam. Meet nameless child that I don't know.
Kaitlyn and Sam are getting married, and they need our help. See they are currently in the running for a free wedding, sponsored by the nuptials blog The Not Wedding.
Eight couples are currently in the competition, and quite frankly most of them look pretty lame. George? Come on man, a soul patch? Kirby and David? "He's my rascal and I'm his square," their bio reads. Enough said.
And while I've never met Kaitlyn, she seems pretty cool. And I trust Sam's judgment.
So ya'll need to RISE UP, head to The Not Wedding, and vote for them. Voting ends Friday.
“In a suburban Illinois backyard, little Tommy Pickler sets up a ramp to test his new Huffy. His father, Bill, lays down under the ramp so his son can jump him. Tommy rides his bike onto the ramp, the ramp collapses, and Tommy rides his shiny new Huffy right over daddy’s throat!”
In 1989, this was a reason to go to the hospital. By 1990, it was an opportunity to win $10,000.
America’s Funniest Home Videos took the most basic comedic effect – physical comedy- and turned it into an American phenomenon. Sure, The Three Stooges made physical comedy the norm in the 1930s, but those were actors. By 1990, the same shtick of Larry, Curley and Moe was being acted out (usually unprompted) in living rooms.
The show appealed to simple human weaknesses: dogs, babies, and people getting smacked in the groin. It’s actually kind of amazing someone didn’t think of it before 1990.
I remember watching AFHV when I was young, laughing at some cat swinging from a fan, or some dad jumping out from behind a curtain, scaring the hell out of his two-year-old. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized just how important AFHV was to American history. Yeah, I said it, AMERICAN HISTORY.
Think about it: in 1990, Americans would sit on their couch for 30 minutes and watch dogs, babies, and groin-shots. Now, Americans sit at their computers and watch hours of dogs, babies and groin-shots on YouTube.
Twenty years ago, “David Goes to the Dentist” and Star Wars Kid would’ve each won $10,000, and then been eligible for the super-duper spectacular $100,000 show at the end of the season. Now they get their 15 minutes, then go back to whatever subdivision in middle America they came from.
So yeah, AFHV paved the way for YouTube. And as much as Bob Saget really hated hosting the show, he should pat himself on the back for this one.
The "My Case For:" feature is going to consistently appear late Sunday night/ Monday morning from now on. So if this is the only reason you read every week, make sure to check in then.
New feature alert! Every Friday here in the Funhouse I'll post a couple of items to get you through your Friday: songs, links, stupid quotes, polls, whatever. It will basically be a dump of all the stuff I couldn't write about over the course of the week.
It will be quick and simple, and I hope you like it.
Song of the Week: I know little to nothing about this band, but this song kills.
Young Hearts Spark Fire - Japandroids
Link of the Week: This is Why You're Fat
When I started this site, my girlfriend said I should put this link up. I scoffed at the idea, saying something about "originality." Ha! Well, K*, you were right.
Yup, that's a pizza with a pigs-in-a-blanket crust, covered with 11 toppings.
Other than my own site (THIS site), I have not been to a blog more often than TIWYF in the past month. Enjoy, then go out and eat as much as you possibly can.
Quote of the Day: Digger Phelps, ESPN commentator, speaking about Oklahoma's game against Syracuse tonight...
"The real key to this game is going to be Blake's brother, Taylor Swift," speaking about Taylor Griffin, forward for the Oklahoma Sooners.
So I hope you like this new little thing I'm doing, check out the other links, but make sure to come back here when you're done.
* I decided that whenever I mention my girlfriend on this site I'm just going to use the letter K (her first initial) because she is a fancy law student at a fancy law school who works for a fancy federal court that may not like her name associated with Miller High Life, videos that only use the word f*ck, and Heart. I blatantly stole this idea from Yellaphant.
Also, in case any one was confused, this is NOT the final movie of the Wild Things, Wild Things 2 (straight to video!) trilogy. Just trying to clear up any misinformation out there, Denise Richards and Neve Campbell will not be appearing in a pool scene with Max.
And has any one else noticed that Arcade Fire had never allowed one of their songs used in a movie trailer before, and now they have two in the past year? Weird. Anyway, here's the second one.
Where The Wild Things Are comes out Oct. 16.
In what can only be described as an epic FAIL, producer Pharrell tried to persuade the cashiers at a Parisian McDonald's to open early so he could get his breakfast on Tuesday morning.
After some superb dance moves and a musical recitation of the menu (in English, which may have been part of the problem), the cashiers ended up treating him just like every customer: poorly.
Now if he incorporated the menu items into one of his tracks, maybe that would've worked better (to the tune of "I Just Wanna Love U"):
"Give it to me
Gimme that fish, that burg', dem fries, that dipping sauce
But don't bullshit me
C'mon, gimme that fish, that burg', dem fries, that dipping sauce"
Judging by the cashiers' stunned looks on the video, maybe they would've recognized him then.
If you have a TV, you’ve seen the commercials for Subway’s $5 foot-long. The song has undoubtedly gotten stuck in your head, prompting you to sing it in the shower or stare, shell-shocked, at a karaoke DJ when he doesn’t have “That $5 foot-long song” on that tiny TV he lugs around with him.
Well, it seems there’s another horse in town. Not content to let Subway dominate the $5 and under sandwich market, Quiznos is now offering their $4 Toasty Torpedo. Not quite the ring of $5 foot-long, but I’m sure they’ll come up with something soon enough.
The catch, though, is that the sandwich is both cheaper and (here’s the kicker) AN INCH LONGER. That’s right folks, if 12 inches of processed, water-added, boiled-down-to-muck roast beef and a slathering of “au jus” just isn’t enough to satisfy your midday hunger pains, stumble over to Quiznos, where they’ll be sure to give you that little bit extra to get you through your day.
Seriously, though, I imagine the madness ending something like this (use movie trailer voice-over voice when reading this section):
In a galaxy far, far away, Jared from Subway will meet, in an epic death match, those little singing Quiznos rat/hamster hybrids. Jared’s weapon of choice? A 12-inch sub roll. The rats? A 13-inch sub roll. May the best deal win...THE WORLD.
Or, they could both undersell each other to the point where each sub will be, like, a dollar and the two companies will go out of business. I like the first scenario better.
I saw this video this morning and couldn't stop laughing.
It also reminds me of this scene from The Squid and the Whale, a movie you should absolutely see if you haven't yet:
Sophie: [about The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka] Yeah. I mean, it's gross when he turns into the bug, but I love how matter of fact everything is.
Walt: Yeah, it's very Kafkaesque.
Sophie: [She looks at him oddly and laughs] 'Cause it's written by Franz Kafka.
Walt: Right. I mean, clearly.
Thanks to Erin D. for this clip.
UPDATE: So I'm watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night, and, lo and behold, during his monologue he starts talking about the Franz Kafka International Airport! My ears perk up just at the time I realize HE ACTUALLY THINKS THERE IS A FRANZ KAFKA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. His joke went something like this:
"So a study came out that showed that Prague's Franz Kafka International Airport is the worst airport in the world. It's true, it's true. Second worse? The Hudson River! (ba-dum chaaaa)"
Jimmy, (to steal an old Weekend Update trick) REALLY? Really Jimmy? Your writing staff couldn't differentiate between a satirical video that included a questionnaire with the line "Are You a Human?" on it? Really?
Oh, and Mr. Fallon? The real airport in Prague is the Ruzyně International Airport.
When I first moved to Maryland two years ago, I was (somehow) poorer than I am now.
Every Friday after work, I would stop at the local grocery store, Magruder’s, and pick up a 12-pack, usually in lieu of going out. And no matter what deals were at the store, or what fancy new beer with a shark on the bottle or lime in the recipe were at the end of the aisle, I would always come home with the same beer: Miller High Life.
My friends would laugh: tastes like urine blah blah blah this beer is disgusting blah blah blah. So I would sit there and enjoy them all (Not in one sitting. Usually.).
I would counter that if they could find a better beer at a more reasonable price than Miller High Life, I’d stop buying it. There were never any counter-arguments. Now this could’ve been because no one cared enough to argue with me, but I like to think it’s because they knew I was right.
I mean, c’mon, there’s a reason it’s been around since 1903, and it sure isn’t because the Miller family has some beer monopoly in the United States. It tastes good, it’s easy to drink, and it’s the Champagne of Beers for Pete’s sake. I could think of no higher compliment. Well, technically I suppose Pabst’s Blue Ribbon is a LITERAL higher compliment (earning a blue ribbon and all) but now we’re splitting hairs.
Some of you are going to say it's a cop-out that I'm defending a beer, since, in the end, every beer gets you to the same place. To you I say you've obviously never drank Icehouse, an indefensible beer.
And I know it’s hip for people my age to drink crappy beers like High Life and PBR to make themselves feel blue collar and ironic while they live off their parent’s money that also paid for their Swarthmore/ Williams/ Northwestern education (bitter much, Brad?), but, in all honesty, they aren’t actually that crappy at all. Maybe that’s the real irony in the end.
Or not. I've never really figured out the true definition of irony.
UPDATE: Apparently, the folks at GQ and Details stole my idea (two weeks before I thought of it) and have a poll online about the best blue-collar beers. So go and vote for the High Life!
So I've written this blog for a little over three months now, and I've enjoyed it a lot. Readership has grown tremendously, although when you start with zero readers, pretty much everything is a win.
The next couple months will bring some changes (for the better, I hope) to the site, including some expanded features, and some special events. I'll be writing each day during a cross-country trip in June, stopping in some of the grimiest, most delicious restaurants the Midwest has to offer, taking some photos, shooting some videos, and (fingers crossed) interviewing good, old fashioned mom and pop diner owners. Hopefully they let me at the griddle.
And that brings me to you. Yes, you, the one reading this instead of paying attention to your meeting.
What do you like about the site? What do you hate? Are you just reading this because your my sympathetic girlfriend? I aim to please, so if you think there is something I should improve on, or write about more often, let me know.
Feel free to leave your complaints/ glowing praises in the comments section or send me and e-mail, and seriously thanks for reading.
Ya'll like fightin'? Well who the hell doesn't?
Story of the year:
“DALLAS- The principal and other staff members at South Oak Cliff High School were supposed to be breaking up fights. Instead, they sent troubled students into a steel utility cage in an athletic locker room to battle it out with bare fists and no head protection, records show.”
And if you need a greater incentive to read this, apparently school employees taped the fights, a la Bum Fights.
In this corner, weighing in at a scrawny 135 pounds, a 5’8” 15-year-old freshman with who spends most of his time playing video games, Michaelllllllll “The Mouth” Masterson!
And his opponent, a self-described “new kid” from Peoria, Illinois, fighting for self-respect, 152 pound 5’10” Luis “El Tigre” Ignnnnnnnnnacio!
Seriously, though, this is ridiculous. Kids fight enough in high school without assorted janitors, band directors, assistant principals and substitute teachers betting paychecks against them in the showers. Then again, they might have been thinking that this could save the cost of some of those pesky school psychologist salaries, and, hell, maybe even bet on the fights and make the district some money!
I think there is a bigger question at hand here, though: why was there a steel cage- big enough to fit two fighting high schoolers-in this locker room? And why didn’t my high school have one?
The best part of this whole story is that The Dallas Morning News felt that they had to include the phrase “and no head protection,” as if the only problem with the situation was that the kids weren’t properly equipped.
So I stumbled across this while on a livejournal site yesterday, and it was too good not to share. Since I can’t post the strip in its full size, I’ll transcribe what the comic- which is apparently the smallest game of Shirts vs. Skins I’ve ever seen- reads:
Tank-Topped Man: Come on, Tariq, shoot the ball!
Bare-Chested Man: Oh, I got this bruh!
Second panel, with no transition whatsoever:
BCM: Darnell, you mess around with dudes, right?
TTM: Yeah, and…?
BCM: I thought maybe you could school me on what to do…?
TTM: Tariq, are you trying to tell me that you want to date men?
Fourth, and final, glorious panel:
BCM: I’m just tryin’ to kick it with a dude, yo! I ain’t tryin’ to marry one!
BCM: Let’s go talk about this somewhere else…
To Be Continued…
To learn more about HIV, get free condoms or take an HIV test, Contact....
What jumps out at me- aside from the fact that neither of these guys are wearing shoes with laces-is that the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (who sponsored the strip) thought that this was the best way to teach gay, African-American men about safe sex.
I imagine the story meeting went something like this:
Boss: “Johnson, we need ideas, damn it!”
Johnson: “Well, black men play basketball right?”
Boss: “You’re a goddamn genius. Put together some story boards! Gold mine!”
Can anyone think of a more blatant stereotype of black men?
You can find the serialized “graphic novel”- presumably the continued tales of Tariq, Darnell, and who ever Tariq wants to sleep with but not marry- here.
And does everyone else think this is an odd marketing plan, or am I on my own?
NOTE: You can click on the strip for the full-size image.
Like this post? There are plenty of ways to subscribe to the right.
The recession, it seems, has worked its way from Wall Street, to Main Street, and now, in one last (?) horrifying twist, to Sesame Street.
Last week, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that runs the show, announced it was laying off 20 percent of its workers.
So I started thinking about how each of the individual characters on the show would be affected, and this is how it shook out:
Dude has nothing to worry about. He made so much money with those damn “Tickle Me Elmo” dolls in 1996, he hasn’t lived on Sesame Street since. Flies in once a month from Corsica or Fiji to film his segments, then bounces out. Probably isn’t even aware there is a recession. Only reason he could be going broke is if he was involved in the Madoff scheme.
Chance he’ll be in line at a soup kitchen in a week: 2 percent
May need to trim back his budget, focus more on fruits and vegetables since they’re cheaper than cookies. Then again, he also eats license plates and trash, so he could find food just about anywhere.
Chance he’ll be in line at a soup kitchen in a week: 60 percent, mostly due to fact that he will not stop eating cookies
Bert and Ernie:
These guys had it figured out since day one. For the past forty years, they’ve saved by living together in a one-bedroom, basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street, splitting the utilities I assume and, at least on camera, eating very rarely. It’s plausible that the building is rent-controlled, meaning they could each be dropping, like, 100 bones a month on rent.
Then again, it doesn’t seem like they’ve worked a damn day in their lives.
Chance they’ll be in line at a soup kitchen in a week: 30 percent, but only because of Bert’s expensive habit of collecting bottle caps.
The guy lives on a pile of sticks in an abandoned lot. The only way he’d get bumped from there is if a developer bought the site, which isn’t going to happen for at least a few years.
Chance he’ll be in line at a soup kitchen in a week: 0 percent, unless that’s already where he gets his meals. Vagrant.
Count Von Count:
This was a foregone conclusion. There’s no way Count could afford to live in that impressive castle all by himself, especially with his limited mathematical skills (Only able to count to 10? C’mon guy.) His seclusion from Sesame Street’s other residents did him no good when the castle was foreclosed on: unable to find an apartment, he was forced to move into the abandoned lot with Big Bird.
Chance he’ll be in line at a soup kitchen in a week: 100 percent
Oscar the Grouch:
My man must be loving this! Total economic chaos, people crying, kids rooting through the trash to eat. I couldn’t imagine a better scenario for Oscar.
Chance he’ll be in line at a soup kitchen in a week: 0 percent, gets his meals from the garbage.
On Sesame Street, he was a TV reporter. C’mon, this is a joke, right? He was laid off last year and now works as a word-processing temp for a chemical company.
Chance he’ll be in line at a soup kitchen in a week: 75 percent. The other 25 percent of his time he gets his meals from the free happy hour buffet at assorted seedy bars.
Other casualties: Mr. Hooper’s Store (couldn’t pay the rent, despite the fact that the store had been open for 40 years), Linda the Librarian (took early retirement package at 58), and Mr. Snuffleupagus (offs himself due to chronic depression).
Girl Talk at Loyola College from Patrick Smith on Vimeo.
Girl Talk played a secret show after Loyola College's Battle of the Bands Friday, and I missed it! Damn!
Anyway, Patrick Smith took some killer stills of the show and looped them in with some tracks. Check out the rest of his awesome work, and you can find the original video here.
I didn’t want to write back-to-back “My Case For:” segments about specific songs, but this number is a true classic.
So let’s gets things right on the table: Bubba Sparxxx is not a good rapper. He’s not a mediocre rapper with decent personality (Busta Rhymes), or even a respectable lyricist with boring beats (early Aesop Rock). He’s simply not that good.
But this video, excuse me this POST-MODERN MASTERPIECE, completely wipes the slate clean for, as his momma calls him, Warren Anderson Mathis.
First of all it’s set in, like, the 1920s or something, which sort-of worked in the incredibly over-the-top video for the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight.”
Secondly, it features the Three G’s every good rap video should: girls, guns, and God.
After Bubba and his crew escape from prison for some untold crime (presumably breaking his contract with Beat Club Records) he somehow shacks up a beautiful blond in the middle of a marsh. Seemingly unlikely for a bald white man with “New South” tattooed on his forearms, Bubba pulls it off with convincing élan.
The whole video, Bubba and his pals are being chased through the woods by some fellas toting shotguns, pausing way too often to engage the audience in the next verse of the song. Seriously, Bubba, hit the bricks man, you don’t have all day.
By the end though, like every good rapper, he’s eventually brought his “Deliverance” by an old fashion Southern Baptist baptism. Awwwww.
Ok so the post-modern part. There is not one original idea in the entire video. Not. One. Everything from “O Brother Where Art Thou?” to Everlast’s video for “What It’s Like” to THE NAME OF THE FREAKING SONG. And you know what? The video’s better for it. Bubba couldn’t have come up something half as entertaining as this on his own, especially when Timbaland (pre-steroids, so still chunky) performs the worst possible imitation of Robert Johnson at the crossroads I’ve ever seen.
A few notes: My roommate Sean noticed the Everlast connection, not me, so I want to give him credit for that.
And if you like this post and the rest of the site, there are plenty of ways that you can follow me to the right. Sign up for the RSS feed, become a follower (not a leader), or tag my site on Technorati.
Thanks, and I appreciate you stopping by.
I never watched The Wire when it was on TV originally, due to not having HBO during college, and, to be truthful, not really knowing about the show.
In the past four months, though, I plowed through all five seasons of the show on DVD, sometimes watching four hour-long episodes a night. I was hooked, dissecting each character every night, their faults, their strengths, their extra-marital affairs.
So when the show ended after the fifth season, to say I was sad would be a gross understatement.
But now, hope has been renewed.
HBO is pushing a new show, “Treme,” by Wire mastermind David Simon, with an air date in 2010. But the fun doesn’t stop there: Wire favorites Wendell "Bunk Moreland" Pierce and Clarke "Lester Freamon" Peters will return as well.
Word is Pierce will play a trombone player and Peters the leader of a Mardi Gras Indian tribe.
The show will revolve around the post-Katrina New Orleans neighborhood Treme, so hopefully it will be, like, The Wire-New Orleans. The pilot began shooting on Monday, directed by Polish New Wave director Agnieszka Holland, who also directed three episodes of The Wire.
As a super-duper bonus, Academy Award-nominated actress Melissa Leo (Hudson Valley in the house!) just signed on to the show as well, according to Variety.
Usually I try to add some funny quip about whatever I write about, but I’m too excited to joke. I’m giddy.
This video is hands-down the best scene from The Wire. It's got some adult language, to say the least. Also, NSFW.
Anyone who knows me well knows my affinity towards mash-ups. Despite some early hang-ups (I remember specifically making fun of a friend in high school for a Shania Twain/ The Verve mash-up he downloaded. With Napster probably.), I've grown to appreciate the amount of work it takes for an artist to layer the sounds, synch the harmonies, and still produce a track that sounds good.
Mash-ups have come a long way since the "You're Still The One"/ "Bitter Sweet Symphony" catastrophe, and this is a fine example of that. Beatles songs are great for mash-ups, partly because of the abundance of hooks the DJ can loop. Likewise, dance artists like LCD Soundsystem are also perfect, because, well, dance music is supposed to be fiddled with.
The track kind of fades when The Kinks song kicks in, but an otherwise solid tune.
Word to Popped Culture for this; the artist is FAROFF
“Til now I always got by on my own
I never really cared until I met you
And now it chills me to the bone
How do I get you alone
How do I get you alone”
To say that all 80s music was bad is a bit of a misnomer. Hidden among Duran Duran, Wham!, and Culture Club was a cadre of bands like The Replacements, Gang of Four and The Smiths, who all took the punk sentiments of the 70s and twisted them to fit their own vision of music.
And then there was also one of the greatest songs ever recorded.
Throughout the 70s, Heart was known primarily as a hard rock band for their songs “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” and “Barracuda.” But by 1985 the band’s star had dimmed, the royalty checks had less zeros on the end, and it was time to look for a new sound.
Someone at a band meeting (probably) said something like “Hey, let’s start recording some ass-kicking power ballads.” Nancy and Ann Wilson said “sure,” and “Alone,” the most ridiculously awesome song ever recorded by a woman (we can debate this at another time, but it fits my argument now) came to life.
It had already been recorded by John Stamos for the CBS sitcom “Dreams,” but the Wilson sisters flipped Stamos the bird and said (most likely):
“Listen. John. We know you don’t know that in three years you’re going to be Uncle Jesse on Full House, but we do. On that show, you’re going to record an awesome song named “Forever”, and become a god to your Japanese fans. So throw us a bone here, aight?”
Stamos threw them the bone and Heart took “Alone” to number one on the charts and in our hearts (pun intended). The song is so over the top, it makes ZZ Top look like Cat Stevens. Ridiculous guitar solos, screaming, it's got it all.
If you need more evidence to explain this song’s awesomeness, in the Paula Abdul(!)- choreographed music video, a piano explodes. That’s right, A FREAKING PIANO STRAIGHT UP DISINTEGRATES. Plus, the fatter Wilson (Ann I think) rocks a pretty sweet duster in it.
So The New York Times had some interesting news this morning.
Apparently, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer will be getting back together for some episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which stars “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David. For those unfamiliar with the show, take “Seinfeld,” and ratchet the cynicism up to 11, the cringe-worthy moments to 12, and general disregard for human emotion and consequence of action to 100.
In other words, my perfect show.
So now, after almost a decade of thinking “THAT was the finale?” Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis Dreyfuss and Michael Richards will team up again. I remember hearing that the reason the “Seinfeld” DVDs took so long to release was because the other three lead actors pretty much hated Seinfeld. I guess if he made 30 times as much money off a show than I did I'd be pretty pissed, too.
But if there’s any one who can play off that hostility, Larry David is the man.
The season is slated to start this fall; no word yet on whether Crazy Joe Davola, Franklin Delano Romanowski or Tim Whatley have signed on for the episodes.
Compilations, tribute albums, and charity albums usually all start with some grandiose idea: save the world, or at least someone’s legacy. Usually they end up butchering someone’s legacy or raising much less money than anyone thought possible.
Dark Was The Night, the latest compilation to scare the hell out of me before I listened to it —Yo La Tengo! The National! My Morning Jacket! It must be good!—is also the latest installment from the Red Hot Organization, a group dedicated to AIDS education since 1989.
The group has released 14 albums since then, including 1993’s epic No Alternative, which included tracks from Nirvana, Bob Mould of Husker Du, and a ridiculous Soul Asylum cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” Since the 1993 album, the albums—I admit, I’ve only heard a few of them—have been hit or miss, usually falling on miss.
But where Red Hot + Rhapsody: The Gershwin Groove (Duncan Sheik! Sinead O’Connor! Ugh!) stumbles, Dark Was The Night soars.
The two-disc sets takes off with a David Byrne/ Dirty Projectors song, “Knotty Pine.” (No not a remake of the Gordon Lightfoot song, though I know that would enthrall one of my girlfriend’s friends.) The staccato-laced track serves as an upbeat intro, and David Byrne’s vocals mesh well with the sparse piano.
From there the first of two discs falls into chamber pop (which is fine with me), with tracks by Bon Iver, The National and The Decembrists, but not before a killer duet by Feist and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. A bare (in a good way) take on Vashti Bunyan’s “Train Song,” the song makes me wonder why these two haven’t done more collaborations before.
The second disc starts out strong with a Spoon track, but is mostly full of secondhand tracks by groups who should know better. Arcade Fire’s “Lenin” sounds rushed, and I think My Morning Jacket’s “El Caporal” may have been written while on the toilet.
Still, there are bright spots. The New Pornographers cover Destroyer’s “Hey, Snow White,” to great effect (wait, does it count as a cover if Dan Bejar is in both bands?), and Dave Sitek’s take on The Troggs' “With a Girl Like You,” complete with horns, brings the classic to a new level.
I highly recommend this album, even if you don’t know any on the artists involved.
There are worse ways you could spend $13.99, plus you get to support a good cause while you’re doing it. And for the cheapskates, it’s on sale at Best Buy this week for $11.99.
Since I don't own any Apple products beside an I Pod, this video is straight-up blowing my mind right now, and I can't decide whether or not I like it.
On one hand, they are playing an awesome song ("Kids" by MGMT— the best song off last year's Oracular Spectacular) and doing it in a unique, 21st-century way.
In a crotchety, grew-up-listening-to-CDs (!) kind of way, I'm not sure about it. Sure, the pace of technology is quickening to the point that instruments are no longer necessary. But at the same time, isn't that why we listen to music?
Kudos to Yvynyl for this one. Check out his site; it's fun.
Let’s put aside the fact that he is married to Scarlett Johansson (If my tastes in everything boiled down to how attractive someone’s girlfriend/wife/former girlfriend was, we would have posts on Tobey Maguire (ick, but Kirsten Dunst), Jonathan Rice (creepy eyes, but Jenny Lewis) and Devendra Banhart (just insane on so many levels, but, c’mon, Natalie Portman). Those will hopefully be the last time I mention any of those three men on this site.)
Let’s put aside his terrible, terrible movies (Smoking Aces and The Amityville Horror come to mind).
If you just take Ryan Reynolds at face value, as a kind of douchy, but still lovable, mildly-talented comic actor, his movies and TV appearances aren’t only palatable, they can sometimes be hilarious.
Take his first break in American comedy, “Two Guys and a Girl” (originally “Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, but the show didn’t do too well, needed a rewrite, blah blah). Yes, it’s a typical buddy-comedy, with weird sexual tension between their female friends, hi-jinx in a major American metropolis (Boston) and reside in an apartment that doesn’t seem to fit the incomes of any of the characters (Friends, anyone?).
But where every other actor in the show has been doing bit roles on USA and TNT originals, Reynolds took those 81 episodes and turned himself into a movie star.
Sure, “Van Wilder” and “Waiting…” were gross, sophomoric attempts to recreate “Animal House,” but they were also tight, well-written movies that let each character stick to their own, limited acting chops. Ok, well-written is a bit of a stretch, but they each had their moments. In both films, Reynolds plays a somewhat dickish, somewhat likable character, but it works because everyone knows someone just like him in real life.
I know he isn’t going to win any Academy Awards, but Reynolds exudes a charm that allows audiences to feel comfortable around him, despite their misgivings. “Van Wilder” isn’t “Rushmore” or “Caddyshack” —two of the funniest movies ever written, in my book— but, you know what? Who cares?
P.S.- This clip must be from when Reynolds was dating Alanis Morissette. They broke up in 2006, and I'm not really sure where that puts him on the dick-awesome scale. Discuss.