Thursday, April 30, 2009

Comic Three-In-One

Doom

Dr. Doom is cool, this comic sucks, parallel earth, yawn.

RATING: 26%





Ultimate X-Men Vol. 6: Return Of The King

Everybody's favorite X-Man, Cyclops, saves planet Earth from Magneto amid a lot of great action, dialogue, etc.

RATING: 84%




Star Trek: Gold Key Comics

I'm not sure they ever really "got it," since the first issue ends with the Enterprise destroying an entire planet because there were man eating plants on the surface.

RATING: 47%

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cthulhu, 2008


This is a movie. It isn't really a horror movie or a gay movie or a gay horror movie, or even really a movie. And Cthulhu isn't in it. But Tori Spelling is. And she does horrible things to a gay man in a bad wig. She also works at the local sea lion caves. It seems like this was supposed to be an adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, but it's more like a David DeCoteau film without anyone hot in it. On the up side, it's not without camp value.


Rating: I want my 80 minutes back, Netflix!% (24%)


Top image courtesy of imdb.com

Bottom image courtesy of MSPaint.evan

Protestant Guilt

Is like Catholic Guilt, only with a cardigan. Is like Jewish Guilt, without the sitcom. Is like Muslim Guilt, without the HALALALALALALALALLAH! It's different than White Guilt or Hawaiian Indigenous Peoples Guilt. If you feel like experiencing it, try having a few pints with a crazy foreign person and then driving home and asking yourself, "Yes that was fun, but shouldn't I have been plowing a field instead?"



Rating: Youmightbeagoodpersonbutthatdoesn'tmeanyouaren'tgoingtohellanyway%

(Picture courtesy of John Calvin, motherfucker)

Square Eyes

When I was eight years old we got a Nintendo Entertainment System. It was one of the second or third generation models with the orange zapper gun. I never really understood why, since every time my mother saw us playing it she'd tell us to turn it off, but on that joyous Christmas afternoon when my brother and I were sitting down to play Rampage for the first time, a visiting family friend who was on her way out the door admonished us, "Don't get square eyes." I'm not sure what she'd make of my current enslavement to the MacBook pro, but I think she'd approve of my desire to dig a hole in my apartment complex's noisily manicured lawn for the purpose of burying my head in it for a few hours.

RATING: God, if you're out there, save me from information hell%

(Image from hagenillustration.blogspot.com.)

Tsingtao

Tsingtao is basically China's Heineken. When I drank it last I was in high school and I remember it being a lot bolder. In this Year of Our Lord 2009 it seems bland, but it passes Internet John's 3 AM test which means it contains more than 3% alcohol and probably won't cause immediate blindness. Thanks, China.

RATING: 50%

(Image from www.sohowines.hk.)

Old School-Ass Dodge Caravan

Back in the roaring 80's, when I was but a wee bairn, Glenn's folks had one of these. Then they sold it to mine, and we rode it hard and put it away wet for the first half of the 90's. This whole review was basically an excuse for me to use that expression.

RATING: Sexy%

(Image from some fucking car page that I had to look for for like 9 minutes. Also, ours wasn't that colour and it probably wasn't that year either.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Legend

Legend is like Pan's Labyrinth for the 80s only with less fascism and more 20 year old Tom Cruise in short shorts. I discovered this right around the same time as I discovered the Rocky Horror picture show and to this day I can't see a picture of satan's son from Legend without imagining him dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter

Rating: 74%

(And yeah, I ripped this from my facebook status. WHAT OF IT?)

Houston

I used to think that Houston was a pretty good city - it has a lot of world class museums, great independent restaurants, and is cosmopolitan in ethnic make up and world view. Then I got this job working with a bunch of people grading standardized tests, and it turns out I am the only person working there who lives inside the Loop (the center of the city, still pretty large), a place everybody else apparently considers to be a hub of crime and liberal gluttony. Seriously, when we talk about our favorite restaurants at work, everybody debates the merits of Cheddar's vs. Chili's, one person actually saying that with chain restaurants at least you know you'll always get a "good meal." I mentioned the Menil to somebody at work and he had never heard of it, and when describing Memorial Park to another person who lamented the lack of parks in Houston, she said she wouldn't go to a park inside the Loop for fear of being murdered by a homeless person (opposite). As somebody who spent much of his life growing up in the ass crack of nowhere, I can't imagine living next to a hub of culture and ignoring it, but I guess why go to a museum or ball game when there's a Dave & Buster's a mile away?

RATING: 35%

Monday, April 27, 2009

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

In The Black Dossier, Moore borrows liberally from Shakespeare, Lovecraft, and Orwell, among others. The book's departure from the traditional comic book format in favour of more heavily text-based, multi-genre dabbling may alienate visually oriented action junkies and lazy assholes, but patient readers and literature geeks will find much to love here. I'd compare TBD's scope and its relative lack of accessibility to Tolkien's Silmarillion, another odd and excellent book reviled by fanboys the world over. Especially cool are the Golliwog character's translation of moral gravity into actual physical gravity and the migraine-inducing and very trippy 3D section of the book.

RATING: 89%

(Image from www.rrr.org.au.)

Boom!

No one else has mentioned it, so I guess it’s up to your good ol’ sports uterus to take the reins: John Madden has retired. Madden is best known for his sometimes bizarre but always entertaining color commentary during NFL games, his best-selling video game and his use of the telestrator. But he also won a Super Bowl with the Raiders before they became a grotesque joke. I’ll miss Madden; he’s pretty much the background noise to my childhood, and anytime I hear a bumbling, corpulent, superlative-heavy commentator, I’ll think sweetly on Madden’s eyebrows.

Rating: 97%

Pearl

Sometimes you need to pick up a 12-pack of beer, but you don't want to spend 20 bones or drink something that's 30% ABV (you plan to drink at least 6). If so, then maybe Pearl is the beer for you. Sure, there's Lone Star, the "National Beer of Texas", but did you know Pearl is also from the "Country of 1,100 Springs"? Unfortunately Pearl is the bastard child of Pabst now (see MillerCoors), and Lone Star is the golden boy with the big ad budget, so you've probably never even heard of Pearl before. But Pearl is the oldest beer in Texas, and I'm pretty sure that means it's the oldest beer in America. Or the best. Whatever, it's from Texas so as we hicks say, "enuff said".

RATING: 70%

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 1

After Gotham has been ravaged by a plague and an earthquake, the government decides to bump all that noise and evacuate everybody and quarantine the city forever. Well, a lot of poor people and supervillains are left behind, and who has to clean up? Batman, and also the police I guess. This trade collects two stories, the first done pretty well by Bob Gale and Alex Maleev setting up the gang like nature of Gotham, and how the good guys have to rewrite the terms of justice in a new environment devoid of hope. The second story, by Devin Grayson and Dale Eaglesham, centers on Scarecrow and his efforts to rouse fear in a local church/shelter. As far as crossovers go, No Man's Land is one of the best, and the writers seemed to thrive working within this bleak, stripped of technology storyline.

RATING: 81%

Crank: High Voltage

I never even expected that this would be the kind of movie I'd see in the first place, much less that I'd think of it as the best movie of 2009 (so far). This is a sequel that picks up I guess after Chev Chelios falls 2000 feet from a helicopter to his death at the end of Crank 1, except then he is brought back withan artificial heart and has to electrocute himself every five minutes or so to stay alive while he chases down his own heart, which has been stolen by Chinese gangsters. Jason Statham certainly brings a lot of charm to this ridiculous affair, and the movie plays like a cross between a music video, a fever dream, and a sketch comedy show. There's something to be said about American culture within this convoluted mess of a movie that somehow, despite the hundred disparate directions it's pulling itself, ends up as the perfect brainless film, but I wouldn't know what it was.

RATING: 80%

Piano Concerto No. 2 by Prokofiev

You think you're sooooo good at piano, hotshot? Well, why not try giving Prokofiev's 2nd Piano Concerto a try and just learn how wrong you are, hoss. In contrast to his 1st Piano Concerto, Prokofiev's 2nd demonstrates a substantial shift, both into tonal expressionism (a VERY brief period for the Soviet composers, due to Stalin's relentless assertion that "modern" musical trends were anti-worker), and into a different instrumental structure-- here, it is the piano that leads the symphony along, rather than filling in gaps for the symphony, and indeed there are 5 or 6 minute stretches of a full, lush piano exploring a variety of conflicting, complex modal twists, dancing from playfulness to dread, from excitation to tragedy and back. Hey, here's a video of an 11 year old girl playing what is considered one of the hardest pieces of piano music ever composed almost flawlessly. Enjoy a delicious humility sandwich why don't you?

RATING: 93%

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bea Arthur (1922-2009)

Beatrice Arthur died of cancer this morning, less than a month away from her 87th birthday. She was always my favorite Golden Girl. We'll miss you, Mrs. Arthur. If there's patriarchs in heaven, I bet you're givin' 'em hell.

RATING: 95% (I know everyone's got to make a living, but those Shopper's Drug Mart ads were awful.)

Bill Callahan: Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle

Most of the things that I love are pretty and dark at the same time. Park, if you will. Or not. Anyway, except for cheeseburgers, which are just awesome in every way, most things I love musicwise (examples, Radiohead, Burial, Bon Iver) and otherwise (examples, dystopia stories, black dresses, Glenn) are pretty and dark at the same time. This album fits right in to this sweeping personality generalization. Callahan's weird deep voice pushes along through lilting sweet little tunes and bittersweet memories, and the lyrics include such gems as "I ended up in search of...ordinary things...like how can a wave, possibly be? I started runnin, and the concrete turned to sand...I started runnin, and things didn't pan out as planned," from "Jim Cain." Another song begs, "show me the way, show me the way, show me the way, to shake a memory." I certainly hope he'll let me know if he ever figures that one out, but for now I'll just keep myself distracted by listening to this album over and over again.

Rating: 80%

M&M's Characters

While we're talking about corporate mascots here, I've always been a little creeped out by the M&M's people. It's not that they talk or have faces that I have a problem with. It's those flesh colored arms that imply human beings are just dressed up as candies that bugs me. I don't want chocolate covered meat in a candy shell, thank you very much. Unless that's a euphemism in which case I'll take seven.

RATING: 15%

Kool Aid Man

Kool Aid Man is a huge pitcher of Kool Aid with limbs and a face who always smashes through the wall and says, "Oh yeah!" My wife insists that Kool Aid Man was invented in Sackville, NB, which makes me wonder if Kool Aid Man has a Kool Aid wife who lies to him, too.


RATING:70%

(Image from http://2.bp.blogspot.com.)

The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips

I'll be the first to admit that I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of contemporary music, but it always kind of astonished me that the band that did the song "She Don't Use Jelly" ended up being an incredible musical force just a few years later. The Soft Bulletin, while not being as amazing as Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, is a very complex album, both in instrumentation and structure. Don't worry, though, this ain't Washing Machine; it doesn't sacrifice any enjoyability for art (disclaimer: I like Washing Machine). My only regret is that the lyrics are terrible, for example "When you got that spider bite on your hand/I was worried we might have to break up the band." Oh well, one chicken bone doesn't ruin the delicious apple pie I guess.

RATING: 73%

PS - Sorry no Flaming Lips videos are on Youtube for some reason.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Comic Three-In-One

Punisher: Man Of Stone

This is probably as good as Punisher stories get: the Punisher is lured to Afghanistan to battle a crazy Russian general, while the side characters, his "friends," philosophize about the nature of somebody who murders to atone for his family's ancient deaths, and also people getting shot in the face nonstop.

RATING: 91%

Ulimate Spider-man Vol. 7: Irresponsible

A crazy exchange student named Geldoff is blowing up cars to get chicks, and also Spidey gets yelled at by his aunt after Mary Jane tells him she loves him. It's a strong book but you're probably tired of me saying so.

RATING: 80%


Sandman Vol. 4: Season Of Mists

I hate to shortchange one of my favorite graphic novels of all time in this comic three in one, but what more can I say than Neil Gaiman has created in this volume the greatest fantasy story ever put to graphic form. When Dream goes to Hell to confront Lucifer, Lucifer just decides to give Dream the key to Hell and sets all its denizens free. Of course this is a real pickle and all kinds of gods from various pantheons decide to make their cases to Dream as to why he should give them Hell. Also, there's a great story in the middle of it all about how Earth deals with all of the damned being released back into the realm of the living. This is probably the best place to start with Sandman, so buy it or borrow it, take your pick.

RATING: 97%

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Psychoanalysis: Like Psychology, but Creepy and Obscure

Let's reduce the full range of human motivation to greasy, sexualized energy metaphors and do a bunch of coke. Then when people inevitably tell us our ideas are stupid and wrong, we'll respond that they either want to have sex with their mothers or they're secretly in love with us. Finally, just when the world thinks it's rid of us, we'll all get tenured jobs in university English departments and make our students read how Lear's relationship with his daughters displays "all the characteristics of pseudo-incest."

Psychoanalysis, I want you to die.

RATING: 1% only because 0% looks too much like anyone's vag but my mom's.

(Image from www.andreixuereb.com.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Papers

Papers are a fucking pain in the ass to research and write, and the hilarious thing is that no one else ever believes they're real work:

ANTHONY: You look like shit. What have you been doing for the past 4 weeks?

YOU: Oh my God, it's been a nightmare! First I had to read about some imaginary characters and dead people, then I had to read some books and articles about them, then I had to sit in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and peck at a keyboard for 10 days straight.

ANTHONY: I dig ditches with my shirt off for 12 hours a day, and before that I was in jail. Also, me and Sheila put a new deck on the house.

You put in all that time and energy and then who wants to read 70 pages of scholarly gobbledygook? Not you. Not your friends. Not your mom. Certainly not your professors. It's pretty much exactly like masturbating into the toilet except not fun.

RATING: 18%

(Image from www.californiawinehikes.com.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Piano Concerto No. 1 by Prokofiev

There used to be a time when I was young that I was all like "Prokofiev is the fuckin PIMP." Then I got older and it turned into a bunch of garbage or some fucking shit, with all of his recurring motherfucking leitmotifs of Georgian themes and shit, and the same predictable chord progressions. Basically what had happened was I took Prokofibitch by the throat and said "Your ass is to the curb," and then I threw his ass to the curb (metaphor). But then the other day I bought all his concertos on sale for 10 FUCKING DOLLARS (true story) and after listening to his first piano concerto in D-flat major I have to admit that, yes, my bust, Prokofiev actually is one bad ass motherfucker, and while the first concerto is in and out quick like me with your moms last night, he still manages to build a furious emotional stake with some deft tonal shifts and sudden key changes, so fuck all you haters like I used to be, just get your ass to Border's and buy this shit.

RATING: 80%

Trompe Le Monde by The Pixies

Trompe Le Monde is in my opinion the best Pixies album, but in pretty much everybody else's opinion the worst. Maybe it's the nostalgia factor, since I heard it first of all their albums, and still have the tape floating around somewhere in this apartment next to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles original motion picture soundtrack. Whatever the case may be, it's a great album, if a little angrier and sloppier than their others. I feel like with a little work I could work in a great "your mom" joke there, but I've been grading standardized tests all day so cut me some slack.

RATING: 83%

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fever Ray: Fever Ray


Imagine if you crossed Air with Bjork, took away 15% of the fun, and added a splash of something kind of dark. And that's this album.

Rating: 72%

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Houston Aeros' Aero Dynamics

I can't imagine what it must be like to be a dancer for a minor league hockey team. Even dancers for pro sports don't get paid - it's all volunteer work, in addition to the chance to "meet" the stars of the team. Well, there are no real stars of the Houston Aeros, because anybody good gets called up to the Minnesota Wild, so basically if you're an Aero Dynamic all you get is to awkwardly dance to a bad mix of nu metal, Better Than Ezra, and 90s dance music while keeping a smile on your face, in some hope that you can relive the glory of your high school cheerleading days or a Hollywood producer somehow in the audience will see you and you'll make it big. Sorry, ya dumb broads, this is as good as it's going to get. Also, I guess it's your job whenever a section wins free pizza coupons for cheering the loudest to ignore the Arab dude on the end and not give him his fucking coupon even when he's looking right at you.

RATING: 32%

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Reserve [yellow tail] 2008 Shiraz

"The [yellow tail] 'Reserve Shiraz' has intense concentrated fruit flavors with aromas of ripe cherries, blackberries, chocolate and mocha. Delving deeper into this complex wine, cracked pepper and spice fragrance are apparent with with sweet French oak aromas always present. The vanilla softness on the nose takes you into a full palate crammed with ripe fruits reminiscent of a basket of sweet summer berries. Seamless and well structured tannins complete this full bodied red wine."

I want some of whatever those Australians are smoking. My own well-trained palate, on the other hand, detects notes of bitterness, anxiety, frustration, loneliness, and American Spirit cigarettes. Delving deeper into this colourful yellow bottle, a bouquet of sour grapes and alcohol marks a smooth transition to bleary, fleeting relief. Goes well with an undercooked grilled cheese sandwich.

RATING: $3 more than the other shiraz.

(Image from www.wjdeutsch.com. And just how is one supposed to delineate "ripe cherries [and] blackberries" from a "basket of sweet summer berries," anyway?)

Ben and Jerry's Half Baked Fro Yo

Half chocolate with chunks of brownie, half vanilla with chunks of cookie dough. The cookie dough is nice and salty, but the brownie chunks kind of have a raw egg taste that I'm not really down with. Low fat dairy's watery translucency has its own charm, I guess, but the best thing about this stuff was the old guy at the cash who rang through my organic bananas and inorganic navel oranges and then said, "You had to go and ruin it all with that Tom and Jerry's."

RATING: 69%

(Image from froyogirl.blogspot.com. I wonder what else Fro yo girl blogs about.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taxi Driver soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrmann did a lot of terrific movie soundtracks in his life (Psycho, The Day The Earth Stood Still, some Sinbad bullshit), but I think his last, Taxi Driver, is his best. A collage of disturbing brass and percussion builds mixed with a whining saxophone melody, this music fits the psychological tenor of the movie perfectly. According to everybody who has ever talked about this soundtrack, Herrmann agreed to score this film based solely on the scene where Travis Bickle pours brandy on his corn flakes. I guess we should be glad Herrmann liked the sauce (died age 64)?

RATING: 79%

Texas Secession

Yesterday, Governor Hair made a few comments that angered a few people. Relax. Texas isn't going to seceed. How can it when it's already a country? After hearing of Perry's remarks, a number of my good sweet liberal Facebook pals made comments like, "If Texas wants to seceed, I say let them!" and "So long as it's home to Bush, I don't care what happens to Texas!" Slow down. You don't really want us to leave. We're your drug dealer. And anyway, just go ahead and admit it: you love us. Sure, not as much as we love ourselves, but still. You really really love us!

Secession Rating: Unpatriotic%

Texas Rating: Whoop!%

Paying For Internet

I've had the luxury of sharing internet access with my neighbor for the past year; but there were many times during the year I considered paying for internet service, because I was tired of having to sit in the same place on my couch every time to get a decent signal. It sounds cheap, I know, but in this economic climate every twenty spot counts. But I finally broke down, and decided to fairly share internet service and split the bill. I figured I could deal without $10/month. Honestly, I can't say paying for the internet makes it anymore fun. It's actually less fun, but at least I have a stable connection. I believe in this technological age the internet is a right, and service should be subsidized by the federal government for the people. Otherwise, the internet is just another means for the man to keep us down. Just kidding. Do I look like a fucking commie?

RATING: 58%

SFW-porn.com

SFW-porn.com basically takes porn images and edits them with MS Paint so that they're no longer x-rated (some of them are still kind of gross so be careful with that link). Maybe everyone else has seen this already, but I hadn't and I think it's hilarious, despite the fact that the porn industry is 88% boring or gross and 95% degrading to women.

RATING: 80%

(Image from www.sfw-porn.com.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Comic Three-In-One

Ultimate X-Men Vol. 5: Ultimate War

The Ultimates take on the X-men after Magneto blows up the Brooklyn Bridge in the name of mutantkind, and while Chris Bachalo's art is great as always Mark Millar never really tried to make any sense as to why the Ultimates went to arrest the X-Men when their enemy did something terrible.

RATING: 48%



Batman: Cataclysm

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake strikes Gotham and it's up to Batman to save it? Shouldn't Superman or Green Lantern or one of the countless other heroes with near limitless powers be helping out rather than Batman, whose only power is immense wealth, and his harem of child sidekicks?

RATING: 42%




Thunderbolts: Justice, Like Lightning...

It was a brilliant idea, in the wake of Onslaught killing most of the major Marvel heroes to create a supposed new replacement band of heroes who are revealed to be villains at the end of the first issue. Unfortunately, based on this collection it looks like the book didn't have much direction past that idea, and sort of meandered around while the "heroes" plotted to conquer the world/started to like being heroes.

RATING: 56%

Insomnia

Insomnia is when you can't sleep even thought it is time for sleep and you desperately want to be sleeping (more or less, look it up on wikipedia if you want a "better" definition). And apparently, it is one of the many side effects of law school attendance. This probably has something to do with the stress, increased coffee/alcohol intake, long nights spent studying/writing etc., etc. Regardless of the cause, insomnia completely sucks, but I do occasionally get some extra work done when I can't sleep (which is good, because I have plenty to do). And maybe I'll even get to class on time today since I have been awake since 5:45am (but probably not).

Rating: 5%

(Photo courtesy of my macbook.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Anvil Bar & Refuge

It's not a Bar & Grill, you common slime, it's a Bar & Refuge. A refuge from what, though? Surely not a refuge from the scene, as when I stumbled into this place, I was happy I stumbled in wearing Betsey Johnson. Trendy little scenesters crowded the sparse leather seating, and the bar itself was packed -- some people even had to wait in line outside the bar, like we were in a real city or something! But despite the fact that I think I'm just too old for posturing, I did thoroughly enjoy the drinks at this place. They're all about mixology. A bartender handed me a paper menu and I asked for a First Growth -- try saying that one three times, fast. From what I could tell, it was pineapple juice and gin, but the bartender shook my drink so vigorously and poured it with such love through the most delicate strainer into my itsy cocktail glass, garnishing it with a shapely sage leaf. I felt utterly taken care of. Later I had a Pimm's Cup, and the bartender spent literally three minutes making it -- he beat the hell out of some cucumbers and handed me a drink that looked like a mother's day plant. I'm told the drinks are strong, but I'm too Irish to be able to tell anymore. The Curve tastes like delightfully alcoholic Scope, and the Pisco Sour looks like an elaborate dessert. I'm no scenester, but despite the Manhattan-circa-2004 prices -- $8-$9 for specialty cocktails -- I would return. It's refreshing to go to a bar without rats running overhead.

RATING: 82%

Common Curtsy

Sometimes you're a girl and you just meet somebody or do something amazing in which case don't bow, you uneducated proletariat! Gently nod your head forward, bend your knees slightly, and hold your dress up so it doesn't get dust/horse shit on it (if it's the second one you probably didn't do something amazing). This is known as the curtsy, in case you couldn't tell by context clues, and it is different than a courtesy because of letters or some such shit, who am I, Noam Chomsky? Men can sometimes do curtsies and that is either known as the ULTIMATE IN HIGH-BROW COMEDY or some gay crap. In closing I would just like to say that America has really gone down the drain ever since women started having abortions and wearing pants.

RATING: 64%

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

On the other hand, the twenty-nine men comprising SS Edmund Fitzgerald’s crew never cried. Not about music, not about art. They were well-seasoned, remember? And not in an Ed Gein way. The odd circumstances surrounding the wreck—a freak storm, no distress signal, the apparently quick sinking of one of the largest tankers working the Great Lakes—has led to wild speculation and a cult following of lame-o detective wannabes. Here’s the truth: The Lake, it is said, never gives up her dead. Lesson? Always trust an Indian. Gordon Lightfoot, for instance.


Rating: Sad%

"The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot

There are only a few pieces of art (and many knives) in the world that can make me cry, and the song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot is one of them. He takes a minor shipwreck that otherwise would have faded into obscurity and turns it into one of the most moving elegies ever put to music. Even just typing out the line "Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn minutes to hours?" makes me tear up. Uh oh, masculinity is almost gone, so in conclusion football, Camaros, Venus of Willendorf.

RATING: 93%

Written Courtesy

In a business letter or email*, a formal salutation lets the other person know you're civilized. Opening a business email with "Dear Mr. Crabbit" doesn't mean you want to be Mr. Crabbit's girlfriend or boyfriend, it lets him know that you're a regular user of shoes and toilet paper. I'm so sick of getting emails from American institutions that open with "Hi Jonathan," when 1) we're not on a first name basis; 2) if we were, they'd realize that no one calls me that except my mother and sisters; and 3) it's misspelled and missing a comma. Canadians, who tend to be more formal, will often open a business email with a simple "Hello," which is even worse. It says, "I barely give enough of a shit to greet you, let alone remember your name." And concerning To Whom it May Concern, if you're not the Queen of Sheba posting a royal decree for your unspecified subjects, the way to say it without sounding like a self-important twat is Dear Sir or Madam.

If this keeps up, we'll all be communicating in grunts and howls and eating our morning cereal out of the toilet in 30 years.

RATING: Ign'nt%

*Email etiquette is a contested issue. See the comments section for a different perspective.

(Image from www.point-spreads.com.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Remember when this movie came out and everybody you knew loved it and played the soundtrack incessantly, and while you yourself thought it was pretty good too you only felt the need to see it once and were just a little disappointed that it wasn't The Big Lebowski, and also annoyed with all the hype because you were too cool for school? Me too. Well friend, you can stop the hate because in my opinion this movie is still pretty fun and enjoyable almost a decade later. Sure, the movie might suffer from a minor case of Magical Negro syndrome, but the music is great and George Clooney's character is so charming that it's easy to forgive the movie's minor sins. Then the Coen Brothers made The Man Who Wasn't There, Intolerable Cruelty, and The Ladykillers, oops.

RATING: 78%

Half and Half

Half and half is like coffee cream with water in it. Unfortunately, it's usually the creamiest thing you can put in your coffee in the Dallas area, and probably elsewhere in the U.S. Since the cattle on American factory farms pretty much lactate pure pus anyway, I guess it's for the best.

RATING: 50%, duh.

(Image from jknz.co.nz. I despise Damien Hirst, but where else am I going to find a picture of half a cow?)

Stunts, Blunts And Hip Hop by Diamond D And The Psychotic Neurotics

Here's an album that none of you will probably care about, but take my word it's pretty good. Diamond D never got really famous as a rapper or anything, but as a producer he's had a pretty illustrious career. Listening to this album that's not really surprising, since most of the lyrics are pretty basic, and his style of delivery is just matter-of-fact, nothing flashy. However, the production on this album is terrific, and he pulls from a variety of jazz/r&b/kids music sources to create really great background tapestries for his mediocre lyrics. So I guess if we're riding in the car one day you can ask and I'll put this album on, but I can't really urge you to go out and buy it with all of my heart.

RATING: 67%

Starbucks London Fog Tea

Starbucks London Fog is a tea drink thats made of tea brewed from a bag of fancy longleaf earl grey and steamed milk. Its pretty good, but it certainly isn't $2 more good than putting half and half into a regular starbucks earl grey tea, which is what I normally do. In fact, it tasted pretty much exactly the same, so next time I will get the usual and keep my $2 to buy some cookies.

Rating: 75%
Value Rating: 4%

PS - Sorry about that lame picture. I'm too lazy to look for a better one.