Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I put my Christmas music on my iPod last Friday, and I'm already fucking sick of it all. That's part my fault, since the following is my Christmas music collection: On A Winter's Night: A Windham Hill Collection, Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Eve and Other Stories, More Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Christmas Attic (I'm pretty sure that if I had known what the Trans-Siberian Orchestra looked like — they're like a hair metal band reduced to playing holiday parties — I wouldn't own more than one of their CD's), and Mannheim Steamroller: Casio Keyboard New Age Christmas Carols. Gee, who wouldn't want to hear that every day for a month? I also own the Kenny G holiday album, but that one's quarantined in a special Level 4 biohazard container because I appreciate my sanity.

I feel tons of sympathy for those poor people who have to work in department stores and fast-food franchises and everyplace else where there's Christmas carols playing over the P.A. twenty-four/seven. Not that I don't enjoy some ambient music, possibly sprinkled with a subliminal message or two, while I'm spending my hard-earned money on other people... but during the holiday season, you're at the mall, minding your own business, and suddenly "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" gets a suction hold on your brain and you're humming till Martin Luther King Day. Starts off small, with genuine Christmas songs — "Greensleeves" and the unintelligible "Carol of the Bells" — and then your mind moves on to those Christmas songs you learned on the elementary school bus with the real lyrics replaced by dirty stuff you didn't quite understand at the time, and finally to those God-awful new Christmas carols they play on the pop-rock radio station. Because there's no better way to celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ than having greedy record labels put out sappy songs about some girl's boyfriend miraculously making it home for Christmas Eve. And he got a lift from Santa! And he's bringing presents for orphans! Happy holidays!

Therefore, no sympathy for the people mass-producing our twenty-first century Christmas music, even if their job requires them to rock around the Christmas tree twenty-four/seven, three-hundred sixty-five days a year. Or probably three-hundred sixy-four, since I imagine they don't go into the office on Christmas.... But, ironically, they won't escape the carols! Insert your own evil holiday cackling here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

But I'm Still Not Hot For Chess...

This is what happens when young people get purchasing power: they complain that chess, that thrill-a-minute board game for supercomputers, old Ruskies, and homeless guys on a park bench, needs some sexing up. According to this article in the always-superfluous New York Times Sunday Styles section, two Kazakh grandmasters thought it would be good for the so-called sport if they brought in some of the asinine misogyny of the Miss Teen USA pageant, and thus the World Chess Beauty Contest was born. It's basically Am I Hot Or Not but with chessboards in the photos. Seriously. (On the plus side, the WCBC does appear to be a Lorenzo Lamas-free zone.)

I guess the chess club needs some loving too, but can we perhaps have just one thing in the world that's purely an intellectual pursuit? Jay is saddened.

If you're hot, and you contribute to the dumbing down of chess, you can apply for the contest. I guess you need to send in some portraits or something of you, a chess set, and skimpy, totally-inappropriate-for-chess clothes. You also need to fill out a questionnaire, with questions ranging from the semi-understandable — "What attracts you in chess?" — to the unnecessary — "Where would you like to live besides your country?" — to the insipid — "What is your ideal of a man?" What, is this Blind Date all of a sudden? Oddly enough, it doesn't look like your actual ability to play chess factors at all into the judging. So, all you guys with a checkmate fetish, sorry but you're S.O.L.

Let's pretend that this whole chess beauty pageant thing is depressing enough without reading on the home page that the WCBC "arbiters" noticed some statistical abnormalities in the hotties' ELO sexiness ratings. And Diebold wasn't even involved in this election. So you've got some nerd in Romania or Bulgaria or Belarus or somwhere rigging the vote count on a horny chessmaster's website, which is even lamer than, say, rigging the election for class president or chairman of the condo board. Dude, write the Melissa worm or hack into the Pentagon or something, because the chess girls are probably looking for someone with a little... I don't know... ambition.

I should point out that the chess hotties website gets five to six hundred hits a day (or so they claim), while my blog gets about twelve. In that vein, I'm starting the Reasonably Attractive Readers of Jay's Blog Beauty Pageant. If you read my blog, and you're reasonably attractive (no extra appendages, all body parts more or less where they're supposed to be), you can send me a photo and answer this simple questionnaire:

  1. Brief bio.
  2. What reason for you reading my blog?
  3. What are your interests besides my blog?
  4. A mundane event in your life.
  5. Where would you like to live besides your planet?
  6. Who is the American Idol?
  7. Do you think that your BFF must read my blog?
  8. What is your ideal of a man? (Bonus points for describing me.)
  9. If I become a winner of RAROJBBP, I will...
  10. Your motto?
I'll put your pics on my site and have other readers rate you, and I'll keep a constant lookout for voting irregularities. Now, since my blog is at least twice as cool as chess, I expect to soon be seeing a thousand to twelve hundred hits a day. While I'm at it, I think I'll set up the Canasta Girls Gone Wild... or maybe I won't.

ABC announced that this will be the final season of that derivative Buffy hackfest Alias because, thankfully, all of America finally came to its senses and realized that pregnant women are not sexy. Go figure. Nevertheless, now seems like a perfect time start my online petition to give the one shining beacon of talent on that show, Kevin Weisman, his own spinoff. For the programming directors at ABC, here's my idea: Weisman continues playing his lovable, babbling alter ego Marshall Fleck, only Frinking the character up a few notches with a lab coat two sizes too big and a Jerry Lewis accent. He builds little gadgets and gizmos in his nerd lab, and also, he fights crime. But not with violence. He bores his enemies to death by reminiscing about the eighties. I even have plans for the obligatory episode where Weisman concocts a potion that makes him ultra-urbane, but also turns him into a total mimbo.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Mom's not letting me tell you how my Thanksgiving was, because certain people might read my blog and become offended. Suffice it to say that I learned how my generation is lazy, how we'll never change the world, how we have no imaginations, and how we don't know whatnot bout how to writing good. I have this strange feeling that, in a parallel universe somewhere, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson made a mediocre comedy about my family's Thanksgiving.

I think that last sentence was pretty well-written. I challenge anyone in the Greatest Generation or in the Baby Boom to improve on it.

Since I have a soul — albeit a withering, emaciated one — I'm more than a little overcome with guilt, considering that I live better than at least ninety-nine percent of the people on Earth and the ratio of time I spend appreciating my family, my health, my freedom, and my comfort to time I spend bitching about those same things is... well, let's be honest, I don't really spend any time at all appreciating what I have. This entry was originally a mean-spirited rant about that little bastard kid with muscular dystrophy or whatever who writes assy inspirational poetry, but it just takes one idiot reader to get offended before I'm in trouble with Mom, again, cause she can't understand why I can't muster up the constitution to be positive and gracious about anything.

Okay, Mom, here's something positive. Poetry Boy died last year. That means while he probably outshone me back then, when it comes to longevity, I win. Boo-yah!

Hmm... I'll bet Mom's not too happy with that. She's so difficult to satisfy.

But when I see someone who's life is in the shitter acting all Norman Vincent Peale while I'm hopelessly downing two Prozacs a day, it stings more than a little. It's like detox, and it's impossible to focus on the roof over my head or the comfortable bed I sleep in or the alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma I'm not suffering from till all the toxins wash away first. I think it would be great if Poetry Boy's heartfelt Heartsongs and Reflections of Heartsongs and Chicken Soup for the Heartsongs or whatever really did move me, but apparently happiness and gratitude and that living for the moment bullshit is a little too complicated to be reduced to a eighth-grader's creative writing class.

I almost feel like I should be grateful for something, but it's not on the standard list of friends and family and at least you've got your health. Something more transcendant: maybe God wants me to find someone even more miserable than I and pray, "Thank you, Lord, for not making me that guy." That sounds awfully cruel, but I think it also pretty accurately describes my barely masked contempt for God (assuming He exists, which I prefer not to assume). There's this charlatanry, and Norman Vincent Peale, and Poetry Boy, and the company that makes those inspirational posters hanging in the breakroom are all in on it, busy tricking us into thinking everything's okay so no one will feel compelled to actually go out and improve anything, like we're all Job, sitting around doing the same old things while things fall apart. If you're rich, if you're famous, if you're best friends with Oprah and fading pop-star Lance Bass — ahem, Poetry Boy — if your problems can all be solved with a few phone calls, that stuff, the things that put you in the top one percent of the top one percent of all six billion people in the world, you should be thankful for. But just living day to day, a piece of human meat to be used by society, ignored by nature, not really living for anything... that's literally the very least a moral God can do for you. It's not like I'm the one going around encouraging genocides or giving little kids cancer, and I'm a bit tired of being treated like I am — MOM.

Which is what really grinds my gears about Poetry Boy there. We all have problems, and I'm not going to start this pity contest to see who's problems are worse because that would be asinine: misery falls into two categories, that which you can handle and that which you can't. Experience has shown me that I can hardly handle my own crap, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle Poetry Boy's crap either — but God chose him, made him a prophet, inspiring millions of extremely vapid housewives (and Oprah — holy shit I despise Oprah). If I come down with ALS or mesothelioma, is the Make-A-Wish foundation going to turn my last days into something fulfilling? Would it be worth getting some terminal disease if they did? It seems telling that I'm not too willing to find out. (It's not telling, but it seems that way.) I'll just wait. Maybe by next Thanksgiving, God will grant me a reason for existing, and then I'll be grateful for that.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I was down in Atlantic City today, and I just have one suggestion for the management at the Sands casino: put some clothes on your goddamn cocktail waitresses! Yes, on TV and in the movies the casino cocktail waitresses are always these reasonably fuckable young women, but those chicks are all at the Borgata or somewhere else and the waitresses at the Sands are invariably in their mid-to-late hundreds and have no business traipsing around anywhere in a prison orange miniskirt. You can take my drink order just as easily wearing a muumuu like all the other grandmas in Atlantic City, thank you very much.

No, I'm sure this is just another nefarious casino technique to get me drunk and impaired. Too bad that I'd die from alcohol poisoning long before booze would make Eileen the over-botoxed drink girl even remotely attractive.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Harry Potter and the Insidious Marketing Franchise

Harry Potter and the Something Or Another Whatever opened this weekend, thrilling Gen-Y geeks, nerds, and dweebs everywhere, as well as their poor geek, nerd, and dweeb children. Let's do a little math here: Thanks to the war in Iraq, increased oil prices, and the greedy bastards at Sony, movie tickets are now eleven dollars... times four movies so far, plus you need to bring a friend or two, so that's already between eighty and a hundred dollars donated to Warner Brothers. The books are like twenty bucks apiece — and you could borrow them from the library, but the waiting lists are so long your grandkids will be asking for the Harry Potter books by the time you get them in your hands — so that's another hundred and twenty dollars you've given to the corporate execs at Scholastic. Thirty dollars each for the DVD's, so there's another ninety out of your kid's college fund. And there's seven books in the series. Jeez, Rowling, why not fifty? Keep the kids sending you royalties till they're collecting social security.

I can see how some spoiled-ass kid (or some puerile adult without a budget in place) can easily spend over a thousand bucks on this Pottermania crap, considering all the merchandising, the special edition DVD's, the McDonald's Happy Meal tie-ins, the inevitable Harry Potter and the Great White Way Broadway musical starring Haley Joel Osment as Harry and Christy Carlson Romano as Hermione, the Official Harry Potter trivia game (I know people who own Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit or whatever it's called — it's an awesome game to play when you're stoned), the action figures, the collector's edition DVD's, and the special ten-year anniversary DVD's. I really need to get into this children's serialized fiction racket.

You see, now I feel bad too. I haven't spent a damn penny on any British children's lit since C. S. Lewis, back when I actually was a child, but I did read the first Harry Potter book, and I saw the first two movies, which were directed by hackmeister Chris Columbus. It's that last part that makes me feel guilty of crimes against art, since if I'm gonna... um... tolerate the work of the Hollywood prostitute who brought the world Mrs. Doubtfire and Bicentennial Man, I no longer have any excuse to avoid Alfonso CuarĂ³n's installment of the series. Here's what I'd do if I were world dictator: double feature — we put Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on second (in IMAX of course) but first we show Cuarón's brilliant Spanish-language erotic homosexual coming-of-age film Y Tu Mamá También, just to give the kids some culture. Besides, I'd feel like my eleven dollar ticket is worth it if I get to see parents covering their kids' eyes, plugging their ears, and generally freaking out about the awkward conversations sure to ensue.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What Would Jesus Wear?

Prada, apparently. Turns out Pope Benedict has a Bradshaw-esque shoe fetish and a penchant for Gucci sunglasses to go along with the pointy-hat fixation that What Not To Wear tells me is a fashion faux pas. Uh... a dude wearing $800 shoes and $200 sunglasses? Sounds a little gay to me, Benny.

At least John Paul's gluttonous vice was pimping out the Popemobile. Maybe a little ghetto, but at least he wasn't falling in with the fashionista sodomites.

I'd like to know when the church is going to collapse under the weight of its own haughtiness: the sex abuse scandals, dwindling numbers of seminarians, now the pope has the same fashion sense as Brittney Gastineau. It reminds of me of the story in the Decameron about the Jew who converts to Christianity after travelling to Rome and seeing all the corruption in the church:

"It seemed to me the churchmen were all so steeped in lust, greed, avarice, fraud, envy, pride, and other like sins and worse, that I regard the place as a hotbed for diabolical rather than devotional activities. As far as I can judge, it seems to me that your pontiff, and all the others too, are trying to reduce the Christian religion to nought and drive it from the face of the earth... But since it is evident to me that their attempts are unavailing, and that your religion continues to grow in popularity, and become more splendid and illustrious, I can only conclude that it deservedly has the Holy Ghost as its foundation and support."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"Getting out of jury duty is easy. The trick is to say you're prejudiced against all races." — Homer Simpson

I had to report to jury duty today, which I've been dreading for months. Because I believe it's important to do my civic duty, I tried my best to get out of jury duty. They mailed me that summons with the dreaded "under penalty of perjury" questionnaire and my excuse was basically that I'd make a crappy juror. I believe my exact words were "passive-aggressive, easily pressured, misanthropic, and bigoted," although my parents made me take out "bigoted" because they don't own a fucking dictionary. Mom thinks the court will interpret "bigoted" as "racist," while I believe that there's no goddamn point in communicating if we're all just going to make up our own definitions for words. Needless to say, that didn't work... which is disturbing.

So I didn't have very high expectations for the whole jury duty thing. The summons and the jury office voicemail message that you have to call are kind of... um... bossy, and if I wanted to be told where I "must report" and at what time and what the dress code is, I'd join the army. But as it turns out, the court people were all totally cordial and professional, so kudos to them for living up to the bare minimum standards we expect of well-mannered people in a civilized society.

I get to the courthouse, and the first thing we have to do is watch this amazingly asinine video about the New Jersey judicial system. When I say "amazingly asinine," I mean this movie doesn't have the production value of those videos you'd watch in drivers' ed class — it has the production value of those filmstrips you'd watch in drivers' ed class. At least in drivers' ed, we got to see auto carnage. The court video is just interviews with random judges and jurors about how awesome New Jersey's court system is, then they showed us how the court's much more efficient with these new-fangled computer gizmos — now in color! How about showing us a bootleg of the new Harry Potter film or something?

What's sad is that's pretty much the high point of the jury duty experience. We all went back to the jurors' lounge, then there's some name calling. It's basically the lottery in reverse, or The Lottery in forward. If your name's called, you get to go down to a courtroom, where there's a lottery semi-final to see if you get called for the jury. I didn't win the first lottery, so I spent like six hours in the lounge doing crossword puzzles.

On the plus side, I don't have to go back tomorrow, and I'm civic-obligation-free for the next three years. Suck it, county government bitches! The down side is I won't get a forum to expound my judicial philosophy, which not only involves my patent-pending plutonium mines but also has a few shreds of logic and reason buried within it. Like, I was thinking about it, and much as I disdain my fellow human beings, I don't think I'd ever be able to find one of them guilty of a crime and sleep well afterwards. Evidence is suppressed, testimony is privileged, lawyers are manipulative, and I don't think I'd ever be sure enough to send someone to jail. Well, I don't know — I am a bigot (see above), and a hypocrite (I feel guilty about that). I'm used to having that luxury because no one really listens to my opinions anyway, and I have no idea at all how I'd behave or if I'd put my prejudices aside.

Judge Barisonek, or Walter, as I call him, told us that as long as we decide the case based on the evidence and in accordance with the law, we can sleep well. I'm sure that bullshit keeps Walt sane, but it's probably not too comforting to the victim whose assailant gets off or the guy who spends eighteen years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. I have a sort-of solution, though. No more suppressing evidence, nothing privileged, give the jury all the facts it needs to decide the case. (Actually, I'm not sure twelve idiots who couldn't get out of jury duty should be deciding people's fates. I might be more comfortable leaving the matter to an impartial panel of forensics experts, emphasis on the "impartial.") We deal with the government violating defendants' rights with consequences for breaking the law. Not leaving a reprimand in someone's file consequences, but serious, life-changing consequences: they lose their job, pay a huge fine in damages, spend years in jail. I don't know.... I'd still be nervous. I don't enjoy being responsible for stuff.

I forgot to mention the best part about jury duty: I found out that the courthouse is like ten minutes away from Ikea! Yay! Cheap-ass Scandinavian furniture with funny names makes me happy.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I am so pissed at FOX for cancelling Arrested Development. Somebody must die!

In the meantime, I'm consoling myself with this article.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I go to an incredibly white church. Actually, I stopped going to church when I was sixteen because everyone there was either a hypocrite or an ass or both. Even as a little kid, back when Reagan was still fucking up our country, I knew everyone there was full of it. I'd go to Sunday school (which confusingly took place Monday afternoons) and some idiot teacher would be reading us some feel-good lesson from "The New Illustrated Politically Correct Catechism For Kids," something like maybe how Jesus is your best buddy and when all the kids at school make fun of you for sucking at kickball, Jesus will be there — well, not technically "there", there, like that doo-doohead Corey who's still laughing at you for running like a girl — but there in this abstract, celestial sense that there's no way a grade-school kid is gonna understand. I was the kid who felt like something was amiss, and out of nowhere, I'd bring up issues like the problem of evil or Biblical authorship — not to be a jerk but because I genuinely couldn't understand this crazy-ass religion with these questions unanswered. I tended to get dirty looks and occassional scoldings for my troubles.

Mom claims she "made a promise to God" that she'd keep taking me to Sunday school till I was pretty much old enough to get a driver's permit. Lucky Jews: turn thirteen, you get to have a big party at the Hilton with the Chicken Dance and the Electric Slide, and you're an adult. I probably got a few Hallmark cards for first communion, but I don't believe I got shit for my confirmation. Not so much as a "Congratulations, God thinks you're a grown-up" from the archbishop. While I'm ranting, I'll mention that I wasn't even going to go through with the confirmation thing, except that every time I brought up the idea of giving up the church or running off to join the Hare Krishnas or something, Grandma would remind me, "What if you meet a nice Catholic girl, but she won't marry you unless you're confirmed?" I now realize that would be probably be a sign that this hypothetical girl and I are less than compatible.

Basically, the whole confirmation process was mindless and condescending, although in a more modern, holistic way than the good old-fashioned "memorize a book" catechisms of yore. Like, we had to go camping for God, which was like a three day long orgy of Chicken Soup for the Soul with a soundtrack provided by Creed. (Was Creed popular back then? Maybe it was Jars of Clay. Sooooo much better.) Of course I wasn't invited to the orgy part of the trip (read: party in the girls' dorm), just sitting on carpet squares listening for hours to these kids who thought they found God talk about how wonderful their lives were. Oh yeah, and one time the "peer counselors" or whatever blindfolded us and tied us up in the back of Jennifer Savage's shed. Really. It was supposed to be some sort of faith-building exercise, like afterwards we were gonna talk about God or something, but it really came off as this retarded hazing for Jesus. So yeah, I'm skeptical.

But Grandma likes going to church, because she's old and stopped using her brain years ago, and Mom had to go to a funeral in Queens, so I did my good deed for the year and brought Grandma. Grandma likes it when I take her to church, ostensibly because she likes spending time with me, but in reality because Mom is absolutely incapable of getting her to church on time. This, of course, means she'll be going to hell.

I always knew there was something weird about my (former) church, but I never really put my finger until I spotted a black family there a few years ago. They really stand out. The thing about these WASP-y churches — or I guess, in my case, WASC-y churches — is that no one seems to know what the hell they're doing there. It's all very pseudo-spiritual at best, and perfunctory at worst. You go to, say, a Baptist church and there's the whole community up and dancing, clapping their hands, spontaneously receiving the Holy Spirit. Whitey don't do that. We white folk kinda treat church like school: You sit down and shut up and tolerate it because you get to chat with your friends once the day's over. Of course, I don't have any friends at church, because everyone I know there is way too S&M for me. (I'm still bitter about that whole being tied up thing.)

This is what drives me nuts whenever I do go to church: that implication that the Church community itself equals God. Maybe it works for some people, getting together with their church-buddies and worshipping makes them happier and healthier. But it does not mean they're any closer to God. God's probably not all that impressed with my agnosticism, but I doubt he's any more impressed with the people who treat church like a meeting of the Optimists' Club. Okay, the priest read to us from Matthew 25:14-30, which is the parable of the guy who gives his servants money to invest and one loser servant goes off and buries his charge. Disturbingly prescient, given this whole rant I'm having. Somehow, a story about God bestowing His spiritual munificence on those with faith and withholding it from the non-believers got morphed in the sermon into a story about regretting the things you haven't done. It's a good lesson, I guess, but how super-puerile is it? Seriously, I'm gonna regret not getting laid before I die, but I don't think that's supposed to be found in the Good News.

Friday, November 11, 2005

How come I'm always the one sitting next to the child molester?

I was at the Virgin Megastore yesterday, killing time till I had to catch my train home. Oh, by the way, let me tell you what I saw on the train ride: this middle-aged white trash dude with an imitation-Jeff Foxworthy mullet hitting on a fifteen-year-old-ish girl. I never saw that before and I guess I just assumed I lived on a sex offender-free train line. Now I'm tempted to check out that online sex offender registry to see how many other perverts live around me and which of my neighbors I should be afraid of. (Okay, I just got back from doing that, and it turns out that I'd rather not know how many sex offenders live in my town, which I probably should have thought of before going to the sex offender map website.)

Anyway, here's what happened on the train. We've got these four guys who have "multiple appearances on Cops" written all over them, and between the four of them, they're trying to figure out the train map and whether this train goes anywhere there's a good selection of liquor stores. And these two girls get on the train in Westfield, and they're also looking at the map. The girls are trying to get to Hackettstown, which is on a different train line. But it's okay, cause they're "going there later," and that's when Mullet there tries to be helpful: "You can stay over at my house on your way over."

High-fives all around. And Mullet keeps his drinking buddies happy: "I can drop you off in Hackettstown tomorrow morning."

Dude! I'm not the type of person who finds a lot of things people say inappropriate, but holy crap that was totally inappropriate. And, Mr. Mullet, it's not just that when you're at the age you need to get a prostate exam regularly, your wife isn't gonna be thrilled that you're brining a high school girl home for the night. Even if this were Japan or Polynesia or sub-Saharan Africa where it's culturally acceptable for mid-aged dudes to ask out pubescent girls, and even if she were looking to sleep with an old geezer, she could do a whole lot better than you. That's why you're going to a liquor store with your football buddies in the first place, ass.

Anyway, back to the Virgin Megastore, which contrary to what you're now thinking, sells music, DVD's, other trendy electronic crap to accessorize your music and DVD collection. It's got this club atmosphere, with the bouncers and the DJ and everything, except there's no dancing and you're allowed in even though you're ugly. I used to buy stuff there — right after I started my Barnes & Noble boycott — until I realized that Sir Richard Branson is a douchebag and spending twenty bucks in one of his stores won't make him get trampled by a herd of psychotic antelopes any sooner. Now I just go to play the sample X-Box games they've got in the corner of the store.

Besides, music is free. I'm sick of hearing these overpaid musicians and multinational media conglomerates bitching about how much money they lose to music piracy because it pales in comparison to the money these assholes are making by shoving mediocre drivel and filler on the American public. Especially the musicians. Every now and then, somebody comes along with the dense-ass argument that how would I like it if I wrote something and then people copied it without paying me? I sit behind a desk at work writing up websites for a financial consultant — if I were making a living — let alone an obscenely profitable one — playing music for an appreciative audience, I would never complain about another thing in my life ever. I hope there's a special place in hell for ungrateful dickweeds like Metallica, but I'm afraid Dante didn't envision an "arrogant pop star" circle.

I'm actually proud that I haven't bought a CD since those greedy bastards at the RIAA started suing their customers.... Or actually, I have bought one CD: Moby's 18. I figured there's one and only one good reason to give the record labels money, and that is that they're not producing records to bring the beauty of music to humanity. They're greedy and they want my money, and hopefully if I spend money on stuff I like, they'll make more of it. I think that's actually a pretty productive symbiosis between consumers and the corporate bigwigs who make our junk. I mean, they made Saw II, right?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Me: I can't believe you spent your day off raking leaves. Leaves suck.

Mom: I told you not to say that. I don't like that expression.

Me: [takes a moment to calculate whether she'll be offended...] You suck.

Dad: Jay! That was very rude. Go and apologize.

Me: I was kidding.

Dad: I know you were kidding. But Mom said she didn't like that expression.

Me: I know. That's the joke.

Dad: I understand that, but still, go apologize to Mom.

Me: [walks over to Mom in the kitchen] I'm sorry, Mom, that you have no sense of humor.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

You ever notice how some people smell of a particular magazine, like they're carrying the odor of Architectural Digest or Modern Bride? I was sitting next to this woman on the train this evening, and she reeked of Us Weekly. The smell of bronzer and three-month-old collagen injections. But then she took out her reading material — turned out it was an In Touch Weekly. So that'll teach me not to judge people.

This is just a random, irrelevant thought, but you remember the wedding scene in The Little Mermaid and how the priest gets a boner in the middle of it? I do, not only cause, like all kids growing up in the late eighties, I've seen that movie a million times but also because we spent a whole day in tenth-grade health class studying it. Suffice it to say that my sex ed teacher was a fanatical follower of subliminal-advertising alarmist Wilson Bryan Key and also seriously... uh... deprived, and she couldn't help but read innuendo into every freaking thing. Like, we also spent a class trying to get Aladdin to tell us to take off our clothes. I mean, we were fifteen-year-old boys at the time, and we were pretty impressed with Ms. Kling's ability to make a "that's what she said" joke right on the spot.

But back to The Little Mermaid, it was just like two seconds ago that I realized the irony of Christian wackos complaining about a little erection in the movie. After all, Ariel is hot, for an animated chick. (She's also like eighty-percent naked throughout most of the movie.) If he weren't at least a little in the game, then we'd have the Family Research Council bitching about how the priest is gay.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

I'm not gonna watch any of the election results because I'm so, so tired of the whole campaigning thing. I voted, I did my civic duty, not like it'll make a difference or anything. The polling place thoroughly annoyed me — there was only one voting booth and I can't understand for the life of me why every single person in there took so damn long. It's not like there's any freaking decision to make: vote for the semi-corrupt Democrat, not the extremely corrupt Republican. Maybe they were trying to parse out Prop 2, which looked something like this:

Since 1996, 4% of the annual revenue from the Corporation Business Tax has been constitutionally dedicated to fund environmental programs. Approval of this constitutional amendment would: (1) expand the authorized uses of those revenues to provide grants for the costs of air pollution control equipment to reduce particulate matter emissions from diesel-powered engines, and funding for other measures to reduce human exposure to those emissions, and (2) change the allocation of funds for the existing authorized uses. The Constitution currently allocates one-half for hazardous discharge cleanup performed by the State, a minimum of one-sixth or a minimum of $5,000,000 for water quality projects, and a minimum of one-third for funding loans or grants for underground storage tank upgrades, replacements, closures and remediations, loans or grants to remediate hazardous substance discharges, and for an underground inspection program. This constitutional amendment would reduce the allocation for hazardous discharge cleanup by the State to 33% for ten years, allocate 17% for that period for grants for air pollution control programs, and would allow up to $1,150,000 per year of that 17% allocation to be used for the State's associated administrative costs. Also, this amendment would allow the use of no more than $1,000,000 per year for State administrative expenses for the underground storage tank program, and would allow an appropriation by the Legislature of up to $10,000,000 from the preceding unexpended balances dedicated and appropriated for the underground storage tank program to provide grants for cost of air pollution control equipment to reduce particulate matter emissions from diesel-powered engines, and funding for other measures to reduce human exposure to those emissions.
What the hell? We've got Americans who can't figure out how to put a pointy thing through a piece of paper, but they're expected to understand this? We can only hope the masses abstain. (Or vote yes on Prop 2, cause the other option is siding with corporate criminals and polluters.)

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Think Of The Children!

There was some confusion tonight at the 8:45 Chicken Little screening at the AMC Empire 25. I guess a reel or two got mixed up, and instead of Disney, the kids were treated to some foreign film that opens with a young man hanging himself. I know what you're thinking: foreign film? You mean the kids are gonna have to read?

Of course, the real show wasn't on the screen. Here's the story as reported in the New York Daily News.

A Times Square movie theater laid an egg at a showing of "Chicken Little" last night.

Adults and kids expecting to watch Disney's G-rated animated flick at the AMC Empire 25 theater on 42nd St. were instead presented with a foreign film that opened with a young man committing suicide.

"It's pandemonium," Joshua Gallo, 30, told the Daily News as he rushed out of the theater with his 5-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. "The kids are crying. The mothers are screaming for the managers to stop the film." [Okay, here's me again. What's the Daily News reporter doing hanging right outside the doors, waiting for some crazy parent to make an insipid comment "as he rushed out of the theater?" I smell a leak at the highest levels of AMC management.]

Terrified children didn't know what to do as they watched a young boy hang himself from a tree at the 8:45 p.m. screening. [Bullshit. Kids can't tell Oliver & Company from hardcore porn. The adults were freaking out, but the kids knew what to do: sit down and shut up. Not that they were doing it, though.]

After five minutes, "Andrea," a Spanish drama opening today, was turned off and "Chicken Little" was played.

Patrons got a coupon for a free movie.
My absolute favorite part of the whole incident is how the North Korean Times managed to pick up on the story, right next to "R. Kelly sues Jay-Z over pepper spraying," cause that's totally relevant when your family's being kidnapped by the Pyongyang secret police. And there's a North Korea Times news forum page, as if the North Korean press actually wants to hear your opinion on the Chicken Little incident.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

My Immune System Hates Me

I am ill. I was afraid I've got the avian flu, thanks in part to Dubya's speech at the National Institues of Health the other day. Then I recalled that Bush is just fearmongering so we'll stop thinking about Scooter and the CIA leak investigation, skyrocketing gas prices, Harriet Miers, over two-thousand U.S. soldiers dead in Iraq, and Brownie's response to Hurricane Katrina, and I decided that I probably just have a cold instead. (By the way, "Scooter?" "Brownie?" Is Cub Scout Troop #215 running the country?) Keith Olbermann points out how each of the governments increased terror threats "coincidentally" came a few hours to a few days after some massive Bush administration bungling, and he invites his viewers to draw their own conspiracy theories. It's tempting, until you realize that the Bush administration fucks something up pretty much every day, so there really aren't any conclusions to reach.

That being said, I wish that Dubya could make it clear in his speeches when there's a viable threat and when he's just trying to Neuralize the American public. Maybe something like, "The British have intelligence that Osama bin Laden is trying to acquire chickens from China. We must not allow evildoers to get their hands on any poultry." I hope that after eight years of punking us, the administration will eventually tell us where the hidden cameras are.

Back to my disease, which is probably not bird flu and which, despite the title of this post, probably isn't lupus either, because my immune system does hate me, but in a passive-aggressive way. I have this post-nasal-drippy throat and my nose feels like it's full of cotton, and some mentholyptus-flavored ice cream would be totally awesome right now. Awesome and disgusting. Some wasabi-scented candles or maybe horseradish air freshener would be nice, too.

I am disturbed by the sheer array of wasabi-mint scented products that Google found, including not only candles, but also body scrub, hangover treatment, and foot fetish soak salt, which I don't even want to ask about.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Like a good liberal, I believe that when shit happens, it's important to play the blame game. So when I inadvertently walked out of Palmer Video with a DVD of Road To Perdition in loathed fullscreen instead of 2.35 : 1 widescreen, I immediately knew who was at fault: the white trash philistines who demand that every square inch of their TV be jam-packed with critically-acclaimed film. Also, Palmer's at fault for stocking the pan-and-scan version, and Dreamworks for producing it, and 20th Century Fox for distributing it. And the pimply-faced semi-pubescent kid behind the counter who didn't point out I was renting the "modified to fit your TV screen" variant.

Hmm... who else can I blame that's not me? There's the FCC, for not pushing high-def TV technology earlier...