Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Comic Three-In-One

Punisher Vol. 6: Barracuda

The Punisher kills a bunch of sleazy investment bankers. Satisfying, sure, but who's next, jaywalkers?

RATING: 67%



Ultimate Spider-man Vol. 6: Venom

Peter Parker's childhood friend turns into Venom and almost dies by Spider-man's hand. Lesson: Don't be Spider-man's friend.

RATING: 85%




Powers Vol. 2: Roleplay

A bunch of loser nerds learn about the dangers of cosplay (hint: the danger is death) in one of the best crime books being written.

RATING: 88%

The Poster for Rachel Getting Married

I don't get it - is this a poster for an Academy-Award nominated movie from 2008 or the straight-to-VHS box art for a Tiffani Amber Thiessen dramedy circa 1994?

RATING: 12%

Rachel Getting Married

Here's a movie that got a lot of what's referred to as "critical acclaim" by "critics" who don't like pesky things in movies like "enjoyability" or "likable characters." It's about a psychotic self-centered drug addict who is released from the mental hospital just in time for her sister's wedding two days later, fun! It's realistic, in that everybody gives insufferable speeches for most of the movie/wedding, and also since I know people like Anne Hathaway's character I just spent the whole movie hoping she wouldn't say something embarassing or dumb a million times (no dice). If this were fiction workshop, somebody might criticize the lack of direction, story arc, and moment of revelation, but also if this were fiction workshop I'd be asleep or listening to my crazy professor drone on about some bizarre insect bite she got on her scalp while explaining her half hour tardiness. Oh, now I get it - the movie is about every writing professor when he or she is young, that's why everybody I know loved it.

RATING: 53%

Roma Tomatoes

In the world of edible produce, the tomato definitely wins the "bag of guts" award. I like Roma tomatoes because they're smaller and firmer (there you go, perv), ergo they bruise and splatter less easily and seem to last a couple of days longer in the fridge. Plus they're cheaper than a handjob in a Phnom Penh karaoke bar. Why would you ever want to eat anything else?

RATING: 85%

(Image from www.freshchannels.com.)

Old Spice Classic (Round Stick Formula)

As far as I'm concerned, there are 2 criteria for a manly stick of deodorant: flammability, and pit hair stuck to it. Old Spice Classic will burn like a torch if you so much as point a lighter in its general direction, which makes up for the fact that it's rather too wet to rip out a respectable amount of your other short and curlies. Who cares if it smells like your cousin Anthony's bail bondsman and gives you a worse rash than Tijuana did? Once you're done brutalizing your pits you can take it out back and kill ants with it.

RATING: Not for pussies%

(Image from images.buzzillions.com.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Death Proof

Speaking of misogyny, how about 100 minutes of a man relentlessly terrorizing women followed by 13 minutes of women getting revenge? When Quentin Tarantino made Death Proof as part of the Grindhouse double feature/box office bomb, he said he set out to make the definitive car chase. What he forgot to do was to make any kind of coherent or interesting movie to surround the car chase, his bad. I know, I know-- the movie is supposed to be paying tribute to awful movies, so it's awful on purpose, if that's a compliment. It's clear there's an auteur at work here, but I've seen it a bunch of times and all it ever does is make me really uncomfortable which would raise the question "why do I keep watching it" if I hadn't ended a bunch of recent reviews on questions.

RATING: 25% (that's full marks for the car chase, which takes up the last quarter of the movie.)

The Grand Tour

Hey Magellan. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I mean, I’m glad you had a good time. I was perfectly fine with your superlative-heavy recounting of the night you and Sven (a distant relative to your cousin Anthony only, you know, with an accent!) took shrooms and stared at a Francis Bacon for hours. I didn’t mind your insistence to tell me, ad nauseam, how European culture is “just so different, you don’t even know.” I think what did me in was the 86th photo on your iMac slideshow of that fjord in Norway. You know, the one almost identical to the 85th photo on your iMac slideshow? Both of which you described as “soo soo magical”? I don’t mind you traveling—I’m kind of glad to have you out of the country—but please, if you happen to experience something deep and transcendent, something that drastically changes your understanding of The Self, please, keep it to The Self.

Rating:
Travel: Fun-and-Cool%
That Fjord in Norway: Boring%

Soccer (Football) Fans

What's so bad about hundreds of thousands of Europeans gathering in one place, getting drunk, waving flags and chanting? Is that so terrifying? I give big-ups (do the kids still say that?) for the chanting part. Whereas American fans seem to have only two real modes of cheering—Yay! and Boo-urns!—our overseas brethren (and sisteren) take it to a whole new level. One of my favo[u]rite little ditties is "Two World Wars and One World Cup," sung by the English when their natio[u]nal squad faces the Germans (the chant is to the tune of "Camptown Races," inandofitself a racist song). But if catchy tunes intended to conjure centuries of war and violence isn't edgy enough for you, check out the amount of racy (pun!) jingles these people come up with. On the bright side, it appears as if everybody gets a piece of the xenophobic pie[u].


Rating:
Originality 88%
Bigotry 0%

Depeche Mode


Sofa King Gay. Deliciously so! Anyone remember the video for Just Can't Get Enough, in which they're all dressed like Tom of Finland drawings (please, Sir, may I wear your leather hat)? Then they got all crypto-goth and made some really good songs like Personal Jesus and Enjoy the Silence, both found on Violator. Then it was the 90's and now they often suck, which is what happens when you're amazing DavidBowieToriAmosRollingStones and then you get all old and sentimental and stop dressing in drag and doing heroincocaineLSD. I actually bought Exciter. My bad.


Rating: WeInventedNineInchNails% (73% and diminishing with time) (wait, "73% and diminishing" sounds like a Depeche Mode album title...)

Pic from http://blogs.columbiatribune.com/politics/IMAGES/Depeche_Mode_Dk_46.jpg

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gourmet Garden Cilantro Herb Blend

Let's pretend that back around 1997, a disgusted Jolly Green Giant swore that he wouldn't wash his balls armpits until the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup again. Now imagine what those jolly, green balls armpits would be like in, say, 2014, and you'll be entering the approximate vicinity of the taste sensation that is Gourmet Garden Cilantro Herb Blend. Basically, take the robust, foul, quasi-creamy stank of week-old cilantro, and mix it with a hearty dollop of salty-sour relish and a soupçon of formaldehyde. My advice: don't buy it, don't borrow it, don't even look at it. Even the dodgiest "fresh" cilantro is better than this--hell, parsley would taste better in your salsa. Walk to the store, you lazy bastard.

RATING: Biohazard%

(Image from 3.bp.blogspot.com. It's actually a picture of their basil product, but the cilantro looks the same. Check out Love Carrots and Other Vegetables for fresh veggies that look like naughty bits.)

Panasonic RP-HTX7

So my Skull Candy Smokin' Buds crapped out yesterday after fewer than 6 months of use, and I found myself in need of a new set of headphones. Rather than go with more earbuds, the last 2 pairs of which have been rather disappointing in terms of sound and durability, I decided to spend an extra $15 at Target and get some real 'phones. I love the colour, but it doesn't really go with my Incredible Hulk t-shirt. The sound is a million times better than my previous buds, although some dude who actually might know what he's talking about says the high and low end of the RP-HTX7's are a little harsh and they need some EQ'ing to make the most of them. Whatever--I don't even need to listen to music, I'll just stand in front of the mirror and imagine myself directing air traffic at some sort of retro-futuristic slime green airport.

RATING: headphones: 80%
bags under eyes from late night+ 6 beer: priceless

Mellow Gold by Beck

In high school, everybody knew the song "Loser," but I didn't know one person who owned this actual album. And that's not surprising - it has an extremely lo-fi and abrasive sound, mixes bizarre electronic sampling with a folk sensibility, and could only be considered a "rock" album because it would have been impossible to classify it as anything else. That Beck ever even made it onto a major label with an album like this is nothing less than astonishing. In other words, it's a pretty good album if I do say so myself. So if you like hiss, sampling, acoustic guitars, yelling, and noise, this album is probably up your alley not to be dirty.

RATING: 73%

Trojan Ice Mint Condoms

There's nothing sexier than having the woman you love violently shove you aside as she runs to the bathroom to frantically douse her burning nether regions with water and soap.

Also, I guess Trojan makes mint condoms or something. Who knew?

RATING: A cool 2%

(Image from aleegold.com. The sample I ended up with was in a variety pack purchased [and used] several years ago in the Czech Republic, but I can't imagine they've got much better since then.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

An Open Letter to the Fathers of the World

Hey, dad, congratulations on that beautiful daughter you've got there! Would it be too much to ask for you to do her and the rest of the gene pool a favour and refrain from fucking her, please? It's hard enough for a bright young woman to make it in today's world without the man who donated half her genes laying up on her whenever he feels like it. Even if you're one of those people waaaaaaay out at the far end of the bell curve who actually finds his own offspring sexually attractive, there's a very good chance that she doesn't feel the same way about you. Wouldn't it be better if she learned what douchebags men are the old-fashioned way, by advancing to sexual maturity and then dating a worthless piece of shit who makes her cry? You can show her how much you love her in other ways, like sending her to medical school or buying her a car. There's really no need to lock her up at home and impregnate her with multiple offspring--that's why God gave you a wife.

RATING: Common sense%

(Image from img.thesun.co.uk. I love you, wife!)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

This video game is based on the small independent movie series Star Wars. In it, you play as some dude who is Darth Vader's secret apprentice between Episode III and IV (nerdspeak). The story, dialogue, and acting are all immensely better than any of the prequel trilogy, but I guess that's like saying I personally have more hockey ability than a quadruple amputee. Anyway, it's pretty fun to throw stormtroopers around with the force or punt a Jawa, but the game is really short so my professional opinion is to rent it or something, who am I, your accountant?

RATING: 63%

I Love You, Man

This movie is about a very short man named Paul Rudd who is getting married, but it turns out he really has no guy friends so who is going to be his best man?!? Well I don't know, how about his fucking brother? But I guess then the movie would only be ten minutes long. As it stands, it feels like it's ten hours long, thanks to endless adlibbing after each and every scene was obviously supposed to end. Look, America, you're better than the comedies you've been putting out lately, ok, and we're never going to get out of this recessiamabob if you don't buck up and produce some laughter, capice (Italian for broseph)?

RATING: 47%

Friday, March 27, 2009

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season 2 Disc 7

"Tribunal" - The Cardassians kidnap Chief O'Brien and try to kill him for a crime that they actually framed him for, but then they get caught (whoops).

RATING: 57%

"The Jem'Hadar" - In this episode the titular, recurring villains are introduced for the first time... on a camping trip Sisko and Jake go on? That's boring, but you know what's awesome? This part.

RATING: 66%

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Watermelons

The watermelon is a delicious, refreshing summer fruit filled with racism. The flesh and rinds come in many different colors, which is why I find their history so ironic. Most Northerners despise Southerners because of our affection for the watermelon. So why all the hate? Well, in the dark, cold North people are too busy with jobs, and living in cramped apartments with rats, instead of drinking cheap beer and sitting out on the porch. Hey, it's not my fault they can't ride bikes or swim, right? Check out a lot of the Mexican art depicting the afterlife. What the hell do you think that is they're eating? Watermelons. Skeletons love watermelons. Especially southern Mexican skeletons.

RATING: 77%

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism

This big, blue bastard isn't much fun to read, but at 2621 pages, it's heavy enough to kill rats in the basement apartment where you'll scour newspapers and the Internet in vain for an employer who thinks the ability to talk convoluted, academic nonsense about pop-cultural phenomena is a "skill" worth paying for. You can also burn it to stay warm. There you go, college boy.

RATING: 28%--Virginia Woolf is a genius, and John Crowe Ransom is awfully polite.

(Image from www.ebooknetworking.com.)

Watered Down American Beer

While some fat cats are drinking Ukrainian Platypus Urine Select IPA 400 yrs., the rest of us have some budgeting to do. My suggestion is to go with America! Go with American beer! It’s like any other beer, only a two-time World War winner; you can drink, like, fourteen of these mothers before you get all vomitous and lame. Of course, Budweiser is now owned by the Belgians, and before it was owned by the Belgians it was all sorts of teutonic plague. But hey, what is this, a g.d. geography exam? Cheap, reliable and tasty; just be sure to chill it. Otherwise, it tastes like piss.

Rating: 88%

(Image courtesy my uncle’s garage.)

Action Moves

Everybody in America and on Earth likes cool Action Moves in the movies and on the tv. Action Moves are when a dude might jump from a pile of boxes onto a truck carrying poison in order to kick that poison peddler in the face, or maybe a girl does a spin-o-rama kick while shooting guns akimbo at a bunch of cybernetic werewolves who want to steal our children. Typically you only see Action Moves in fake things like films and shows, but once I was in a parking lot and this car was pulling out of a space, and I guess the driver forgot her Big Gulp was on the roof. It started to fall off the car but she reached out the window and caught it mid tumble, right side up. That's probably as close to a cool Action Move I'll get in real life, but whatevs, you live and learn, am I right Ladies?

RATING: 92%

Weight Watchers Giant Latté Ice Cream Bar

"Hey, fatty, I got a movie for ya--A Fridge Too Far."

Weight Watchers Giant Latté Ice Cream Bars (or, as I like to call them, WWGLICB's) only have 90 calories each, so you can basically eat 3 of them at a time. Also, they contain an adorable little linear sulphated polysaccharide called carrageenan, which promotes long term weight loss by possibly giving you intestinal cancer. Funnily enough, it may also prevent herpes. Go figure.

RATING: 75%

(Image from s3.amazonaws.com.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Twenty-fourth Amendment

All the other amendments thus far in the countdown have been super boring, but now we finally get to a good one. After the Civil War, it was decreed by America that black people should be allowed to vote. The South was like "AHHH WHAT" so then they decided they would try to sneak around this new law by saying everybody had to pay a "poll tax" to vote, and it just so happened that a lot of black people were too poor to pay the amount (coincidence). Also, the tax would usually only be enforced when black people tried to vote, and the amount would fluctuate suddenly etc. Anyway, in 1965, a scant century later, America decided to put an end to that and passed this amendment, but you can't please everybody and Wyoming, Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and *ahem*texas*ahem* decided they'd show their resistance/dickery by never ratifying it to this day (your bad, fellas).

RATING: 89%

A Shoe

Well that's no good. A shoe is pretty much useless unless you happen to have another shoe, and then you can put them next to each other and they'll kiss and make baby shoes, or you can wear them to the store/bar/mosque/rollercoaster show. If you happen to have a shoe only, then maybe you can smash a bug or hit somebody or put it next to a mirror and make believe after all this is America. One bright side is that at least if somebody wants you to help them get their puppy off of the rocky ledge you can say "No dice, my foot will be all bloody, I mean the one without a shoe and also I'm eating."

RATING: 25% depending on make, model, fragrance

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fender Samarium Cobalt Noiseless 5 string Jazz Bass Pickups

Fender is the Ford of guitars--you either hate to love them, or love to hate them. My old Mexican Jazz bass pickups had a nice snarly, nasal sound, but the 60 cycle hum was bad enough to make your teeth hurt and the poles were kind of rusty. So I put in these fancy American custom pickups, which are aren't nearly as noisy but also seem to have less balls. I'm sure there's an ironic and/or racist metaphor here somewhere, but digging it up just seems like so much work.

RATING: 78%

(Image from pro-music-news.com.)

Cheap Smokes

The good? Four packs for eight bucks. The bad? Filters whose job it seems is to facilitate cancer. The ugly? Looking totally desperate for nicotine. Once, when I was in a hard place and smoking Pilots, He Who Looks Good in Jeans bought me a pack of Parliaments just so he didn’t have to watch me suffer.

Rating: 45%

C.D. Wright


Well, the liverish bureaucrats and yes-men in charge of Reviews Reviews Reviews, kowtowing to the bafflingly stupid wishes of the legions of cattle-brained readers that frequent this e-hovel, tell me I have only five sentences per review in which to lambast the verse peddlers and their insidious poetastery, so I'd better get to it. C.D. Wright is a bumpkin poet (...ahem) whose poems (...double ahem) read like they were pulled together with Wal-Mart bags and nonsense. She writes experimental verse meaning she wastes everyone's time scattering on paper the kitty-litter of her incomplete thoughts regarding the Bush administration or contemporary American life. Ms. Wright, if your goal was to bore our country out of its political and social complacency, I have one thing to say to you, missy: Mission Accomplished! (Really, the poems are boring!)

Rating: 3% (for her well-toned neck)

Hot Dog Toaster

So...for $50 I can have a toaster that simultaneously toasts BOTH hot dogs AND buns? Where do I sign? Or rather, not. I can think many other things I would rather buy for $50. Like these amazing travel dumbells. (Thank you, Skymall!)

Rating: 37% (Assuming it actually works.)

The New R3 Logo

Seeing this is the crowning achievement of my life. Please can we keep it?!

On only a marginal aside, a Darkhawk/Satan buddy cop movie would complete my life on so many levels.

An excerpt:

EXT. CONVENIENCE STORE, EVENING

(DARKHAWK and SATAN stand over JOHNNY TUNICCIO'S CORPSE)

SATAN: In all my years on the force, I've never seen anything like this.

DARKHAWK: I'm a series of cliches, wrapped up in some weird early-90's art.

SATAN: You're right...we can't tell the Chief. We're going to have to settle this on our own, and before this is over, we may have to turn in our badges.

DARKHAWK: Does anyone know who I am?

SATAN: Let's punch it, DH...I've gotta be back in Hell by midnight.


RATING: 99% (just about perfect)

(image courtesy of Glenn, I assume)

Contest Season


Give them $15 to read your writing. If you send it in online, you don't have to pay for a trip to the post office, but then again maybe your assy Dell computer has Word Perfect which will screw up the formatting of your poems and you can't risk emailing your work.

Maybe you could win $500 if the guest judge decides that your great entry stands out amongst a hundred or so great entries. You're up against everyone from Lady Sunshine, who writes haiku about turtles (by hand, using soy ink), to the Unabomber, and you know that he's had plenty of time to edit lately. Also, you're competing against people who already have books published. Good luck.

Rating: editors don't reject, they "select"% (40%)

Star Trek: Legacy

There hasn't been a great Star Trek game in 26 years, since the release of Star Trek: Judgment Rites, and this game from 2006 doesn't really change that. However, I can look past that and the trap of focusing solely on space combat that seems to beleaguer Star Trek games this time, because the graphics are great and skirmish mode is just so addictive. I can't tell you how satisfying it is to blow the Enterprise D out of space with the Enterprise A, but take my word for it, ole baldy and his Brady Bunch of a crew certainly had it coming.

RATING: 67%

Bun Dae Gi

Don't let the name fool you--it's not a bun! Bun dae gi are silkworm larvae stewed in a nasty broth and beloved by Koreans of all ages. In Seoul, you can usually smell them cooking for about 2 blocks before you actually see them--it's a rich, pungent odour sorta like the putrid womb of an insectoid Whore of Babylon. A student of mine told me that bun dae gi get even better if you let them sit for a while in their little paper cup until they're cold and chewy. Want my advice? Get a Big Mac. Yes, it's tacky to eat McDonald's abroad, but Koreans will be so busy looking for your tail that they won't even notice what you have in your hand.

RATING: Chewy-squirty%

(Image from www.thesneeze.com, whose fantastic feature "Steve, Don't Eat It!" is always a treat.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nintoaster

I'd definitely like to write something pithy about how this really makes a powerful statement about commercialization, postmodernism, America, or obesity. Frankly, this is far, far too awesome. The next step is trying to mod a Super Mario Brothers 3 catridge into an English muffin.

This really just opens up a larger discussion about what the next thing to mod in terms of video games and food. I'm partial to a Playstation3 embedded in an enormous wheel of cheese.

RATING: 89% (which means that it's better than an old pencil with an eraser on the end, but worse than a new pencil with an eraser on the end)

(image courtesy of engadget.com)

Tastespotting.com


You know how you spend years of your life walking home at 6AM with your pantyhose in your purse, and then you meet someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? I don't either, but I would imagine it feels the way I felt when I discovered this website. I'm a fan of both food and food-porn, and this site is my dream: drool-worthy photos of delicious-looking dishes from all over the 'net, links to the recipes, and even high-tech gadgets I could never afford to boot. The dishes range from fairly traditional (blueberry pancakes) to the exotic, the insane, and the genius. Hot dogs wrapped in bacon? Sure. Some cookies made with cheese cream and iberic ham? No problem. I had never heard of a Kaffir Lemongrass Martini, but now I must have one. With 776 pages of delectable food photos, I have weeks of food-porn to look forward to. That egg is sexy.

RATING: 91%

Fun with Anglish

Post-colonialism makes ESL humour problematic, and if Foucault was right about knowledge and power then most teachers are stooges anyway, but goddamn, non-native speakers of English say some funny things. For example...

CZECH GIRL IN CLUB: I know you like me.
MY FRIEND ROBIN: How can you tell?
GIRL: I can feel your pee against my leg.

or...

MAREK (Czech): "If I can't drive, I'll have to hedgehog" (hitchike).

SALAMA (Libyan): "The Muslims [sic] fanatics are dangerous, but Christmas fanatics can be just as bad."

SAD (Libyan, or maybe Sudanese): "Every morning I get up and then I get up my wife."

My all time favorite, however, isn't an anecdotal knee slapper, but an unassuming workhorse that always gets in under the radar, and has probably shown up in 60-80 different stories, papers, and journal entries that I've corrected over the years:

"Nice to meat you!"

Never fails to make me chuckle.

RATING: Anglo-saxon mongrel horde overruns the world%

(Image from eslfunland.com.)

Other People's Messes

Copy editing for money is good, because you get money, but it's also bad, because if your customer knows a copy editor is going to clean up her mess, she'll leave a whole bunch of mangled citations and misspelled words with the expectation that the copy editor will fix them. I used to wash dishes in this shitty restaurant, and it was kind of the same deal--cooks would drop salmon fillets and pork chops on the floor and just kind of kick them under the counter because they knew some minimum wage-making sucka (i.e. me) would end up getting down on his hands and knees and picking them up. Eventually, a stack of pans fell on my head and cut my dishwater-soaked hand open and I bled all over the floor so I quit, but not before I had to walk by the lineup of people waiting to get into the Rockin' Rodeo like 50 times in a dirty kitchen apron carrying a bunch of gross, leaking garbage bags. Hey, ladies.

RATING: Digital janitor%

(Image from cache.gawker.com.)

Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson is a leader of the religious right who owns and runs wonderful institutions such as the American Center for Law and Justice (because no one can argue against law and justice) and International Family Entertainment. He's also known for being a biggot, like the time in 1999 when he described Scotland as "a dark land" teeming with homosexuals. Actually, I think that's kind of funny. And while all men hate feminism we're not stupid enough to say it's a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." No, we just say that to each other when none of our bitches are around.

RATING: 3%

Splenda


"Splenda is made from sugar," claim the claimers, "so it tastes like sugar." Unless of course you've tasted sugar, such as turbinado or, heck, even refined white sugar, in which case Splenda tastes like Splenda, an ugly mix of pool water and flavored sex lube.

Splenda, get out of my yogurt! Get out of my tea! And you better stay the f**k away from my chocolate chip cookies or I'll cut you like an umbilical cord.

Rating: I'd rather just not have abs% (6%)

Storms in Teacups

For how crude and obnoxious I often am, it's kind of weird that when it comes to perceived criticism, I'm more sensitive than an 8 month old greyhound's clitoris. One doesn't even have to argue with me--just wind me up, and I'll argue with myself. What can I say? I'm a prima donna. At the end of the day, though, I'd rather have a little storm in a teacup than a different teacup full of, say, a dog's uterus and ovaries. And I'd also rather have the temporary autonomous zone that is R3 than some sort of PC vagtocracy where bourgeois mystifications like "common sense" and "good taste" reign supreme. Freedom doesn't have to be gratuitous, it's true, but I sure fucking do.

RATING: Balls%

(Image from howtosplitanatom.com.)

1990s Taboo

Theoretically, I like the game Taboo. But when you have a nearly ten-year-old version, like I do, the game either gets a lot easier or a lot harder. For “Rosie O’Donnell” and “Ellen Degeneres,” one of the words you can’t say isn’t “lesbian,” so you can make someone guess those in like 6 seconds. But then there are cards that ask you to describe things like a “Cyber Café,” and “El Nino.” There’s even a card for Linda Tripp – really took me a few to remember who she is. I am ready for the next generation of Taboo, with cards about Lindsay Lohan (“coke,” “SamRo”), Sarah Palin (“Alaska,” “gun,” “moose”) and Bernie Madoff, who I won't remember in ten years either.

RATING: 75%

Batman Knightfall Part 3: Knightsend

The conclusion to the "Knightfall" saga makes the first two parts all worthwhile. This collection begins with Az-Bat being insane and almost killing criminals while he imagines his dead father following him around, and meanwhile Bruce Wayne must fight his way through seven different martial arts masters to retrain himself. It plays like a samurai movie, and is really well done. Of course, it all ends with real Batman and Az-Bat duking it out over the course of five issues, but the action is tight and well drawn, and there's enough secondary story involving Robin and Nightwing keeping innocents out of harm's way to keep it engaging. It sucks that in order to understand the third part you'd have to read through the bad first two parts, but I guess that's life or something I don't read enough Nietzsche.

RATING: 83%

Dissonance

Dissonance has it's place in life. It provides a much needed sense of perspective and where would rock music be without it? But at some point, the sounds have to resolve or you just end up with entropy.

Rating: 50%

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Postmodernism

Oh, wait. I get it. That is sorta funny.










Rating: 50%

(Image courtesy www.answers.com. Postmodern?)

My Yoga Workout This Morning

I don't have the time to go to yoga as much as I'd like, so I was pretty happy to get in a good class this morning. It started a little late because Tom, the instructor, couldn't find the keys to get the closet where they keep the mats and blocks and things open, but a maintenance guy eventually showed up and opened it. So everything was great until I went home and changed my facebook status to reflect that I'd had a good workout, and then some asshole had to come along and talk shit about my status. I think he is jealous because he can't touch his toes. What a jerk.

Yoga Class Rating: 74%
John Trash Talk Rating: 0%

Richard Siken's "Crush"

Recently, one of your knock-kneed readers here at this blog suggested I read the book "Crush," by "poet" Richard Siken.

I'm not surprised. This is exactly the sort of existential claptrap I expect so-called fans of what passes for American "poetry" these days to fawn over, mouths agape and drooling slightly at a man who can list more things than any other man could even dream. To even begin to contemplate that the poetic world could be expected to move on the idea of things alone - fiddle faddle.

Walt Whitman and all his buggery are to blame, perhaps, but that raving lunatic Eliot is also culpable for American poets' obsession with objects and nonsense. They did it first, dear Siken, and even though they did it better than you, they should have never even picked up a pen to begin with. The doctors who delivered them screaming from their mothers' wombs should be damned to Hell for their irreconcilable sin of dooming American poetry to its current glut of litany and logorrhea.

"Crush" is a disaster of a book, but I'm not surprised at the accolades it has received, nor its cult following of young poet dimwits who revere its facade of imagery as actual mastery of the craft. If there's anything positive to be gained from this miserable piece of filth, Siken's book can be looked at as the funeral knell for American poetry, the last terrible sign that signals the death of everything wrong with verse this side of the Atlantic. There is a gleam of sunshine beyond this rotting heap.

RATING: 6% (The book uses a nice paper stock)

(Yes, it's common knowledge that my own poetry manuscript, "At The Birdhouse Singing," was turned down by the Yale Younger for decades, but as a highly educated academic I can separate supposed personal poetic bias from my career as a revered critic. Thank you)

Editing Wikipedia

I tell my students never to cite Wikipedia, but I often use it myself as starting point for research on a topic I know nothing about. However, every single time I've tried to edit a Wikipedia article, even just a talk page, I've been flamed by trolls in under 10 minutes. In fact, if one reads the discussion pages, one will notice that the supposedly neutral senior editors are often the most insulting, partisan, and juvenile posters on them. I've been berated for my lack of education, my apparent young age, and accused of being a sock puppet, all by people who are supposed to be "watching" the articles and protecting them from vandalism, and all for trying to fix errors and problems that even an 8 year old could identify. Lots of articles are pretty good, I suppose, and it's not like anyone's reputation is at stake for the bad ones, but I can't help but wonder if Wikipedia's current system is more about trolling and bureaucratic navel gazing than with actually having good encyclopædic articles that don't read like they've been written by 12 year olds or small town pseudo-activists trying to post their resumés on Wiki Biography.

RATING: Go to the library and read a book%

(Image from davidgerard.co.uk.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pencil w/ Eraser on the End

I hate when the eraser on the end of my mechanical pencil gets worn down to a nub and then I can't get it out to put new lead in. Whose stupid idea was that? Funny you should ask, because I don't know. The guy who registered the first patent for a pencil with an eraser on the end, however, was named Hyman Lipman. If that isn't simultaneously the gayest and straightest name in Anglophone history, I don't know what is.

RATING: new 99%
worn down 2%

(Image from www.pencils.com.)

Collections

A collection is a group of things that you might get over time by either buying, stealing, or holding on to (mostly) useless things. Collections can be cool, like my collection of miniature Star Trek ships or comics, or they can be kind of sad, like my collection of state quarters or bottle caps. A collection may also be used to judge a person's character, like if a dude has a collection of comic books he is probably a pretty cool dude, but if he has a collection of Nazi memorabilia then he is probably a Nazi or murderer or both. In conclusion, I also have a collection of rejection letters, a collection of Dia De Los Muertos figures, and a hefty collection of reviews on this very website that nobody reads.

RATING: 80%