Archive for October, 2008

RANDOM RULES: J-DOG YASCRUMSKEE

Posted in Jiving Ditties on October 13, 2008 by butthorn

Admit it, flinchy thirtysomethings who spend way too much time online: You’ve fantasized about The Onion A.V. Club interviewing you for Random Rules, the not-frequent-enough column wherein a musician or familiar pop culture presence sets their ipods on shuffle and waxes nostalgic or eloquent or embarrassed or defensive about whatever songs pop up to give them away.  

Our iTunes libraries, while as distinctive and revealing as fingerprints, are from a wider perspective all kind of the same: we’ve all got songs we feel cool for liking, songs we pretend to be embarrassed for liking, songs we are legitimately embarrassed for liking, songs we heard on the school bus that we will take to our graves, songs that somehow remind us of our parents, at least one (and hopefully more) old-school hip-hop song, songs that “the kids” like that you’ve begrudgingly taken a shine to, songs that can actually elicit a visceral emotional response under the right (or wrong) circumstances, a song that blew your mind the first time you heard it in high school but that you now find literally unlistenable and as impossible to defend as it is to delete, a TV theme song or two, a song you recorded while fooling around with the recording software that came with your computer that you actually think turned out sort of all right but that you’d rather slit your own throat than play for anyone, “Africa” by Toto, a song from the soundtrack of a movie you loved as a kid, a couple songs by a group or musician your friend is desperately trying to get you to like but that you just can’t get into, songs from school dances, songs you had sex with people while listening to, and a bunch of insane, inexplicable shit you downloaded while drunk one night and haven’t had a change to weed out.  Not knowing what song I’ll have to reveal and rationalize to you is legitimately exciting, and a little frightening.  I vow that I will not allow myself to skip songs, as that is the coward’s way.  By the way, J-Dog Yascrumskee is what I am going to change my name to once I become famous, so that is the heading you will see on the A.V. Club page when I one day engage in this musical interview for real.  Hope you’re ready, Josh Modell!

Okay, here we go!  Fun!  Whee!  Good!

“Slow Dog” – Belly

Hey, it’s Belly.  Why do I feel ashamed when I like girl bands such as Belly?  I feel the scorn of many female friends who find cutesiness of this magnitude to be disgusting and of no use to anyone.  Well cram it up your assholes, you cranky-ass fucking bitches!  I’m gonna walk up and down my street with a boom box cranking Belly!  Screaming WWWWHHOOOOOOOOOO!  TANYA DONNELLY, OLD TOWN, WHADDAYA THINK, GOOD STUFF HUH?  YEAH!  MAR-EEE-YAH CARRR-REEEE A RI-FLLLLLE!  SING IT WITH ME NOW!  Wow, am I ever not going to do that.  That’s the least true claim I’ve ever made.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather do less.  Anyway, I actually only know about three Belly songs, and this is the only one I really like, so I don’t know where this whole Defiant Belly Defender act is coming from.  In high school I somehow subscribed to this weird service where every month I got a VHS tape in the mail that had ten or twelve new “alternative” videos on it, and I have to say that many of my most treasured songs came from those silly tapes that I enjoyed so much.  I felt ahead of the game!  Surely would my peers’ jaws drop when I regaled them with my impressions of the latest cuts by such underground groups (or “undie music”) as I Mother Earth, The Candy Skins, and Dink.  I could now call the college radio station and request songs that the DJs would likely not only have immediate access to but would compliment me for selecting.  Soon enough I would be so cool it would hurt Tom Waits’ feelings.  MARR-EEEE-YAH CAAAAARRRRY A RI-FLLLLE!   WHOOOOO!

“Hell Yeah” – Neil Diamond

I was hoping a little Neil would turn up in this.  <—Don’t ever let me say that again.

There’s a lot to be amazed by when it comes to the Jewish Elvis, but if you ask me, it’s his conviction that’s got him where he is today, and where he’s been for – let’s face it – ever.  Neil Diamond can sing literally the dumbest, most worthless, asinine, brain-squashingly, guts-churningly excreable lyrics known to man, and you’d think Shakespeare, e.e. cummings, and God had joined the Beatles and recorded the meaning of life in a celestial studio produced by Butch Vig.  Because he means it.  Neil Diamond means it so hard.  And we like it when people mean it, because usually they don’t.  So it really sticks out when they do.  Cause it’s nice.  Neil Diamond’s voice is like a tree:  You can cut it down if you want to, but you can’t argue with it.  In “Hell Yeah”, Neil Diamond elects to whip out the difficult-to-observe-with-any-degree-of-reverence phrase “a hoot and a holler” right out of the gate, and then proceeds to rhyme that unfortunate sentiment with “ringing like a bell that you only wanna foller”, and despite what would strike any sane songwriter as a surefire recipe for a heapin’ helpin’ of No One Will Ever Buy Your Albums Again Casserole, he pulls off a winning, wistful look back at the highs and lows of a full, remarkable, and above all, he realizes, a lucky life.  By the time he’s belting out the final HELLLL YEEAH HE DIIIIIIIIIIIID, suddenly you’re on top of a mountain shaking your fist defiantly at the sun and carrying a sharpened stick with your opponent’s head on it.  Then “Kokomo” starts playing and you have to figure out how to get down.  

“Orangeworker” – For Squirrels

What’d I tell ya?  It’s another song from those wacky altern-VHSes I used to get through the post.  This was an interesting band whose founding members were killed in a van accident and that’s how that story ends.  Despite it being a pretty blatant REM impersonation, it’s a really nice song, one that I would imagine REM would like to have written themselves.  Smooth move not writing “Orangeworker”, REM!  Nice chorus, and nice high-pitched hooting at the end.  There’s never enough high-pitched hooting.  

Man, I’d be really annoying if I were interviewed for Random Rules!  I bet famous people go back and read interviews and just start repeatedly slapping themselves in the face for being so dorky and uninteresting.  

“Doot Doot Ploot” – The Hidden Cameras

I only downloaded this because the title made me laugh, but it turns out most everything this band does is super catchy and intermittently unsettling, good qualities both.  Warning: if you listen to this, it will remain in your head for a really long time, and you will not be able to do anything about it.  

“Poor Poor Pitiful Me” – Warren Zevon

I got an earection for Warren Zevon two or three years back.  He was just precisely what I was needing to hear at that particular time.  Sometimes that’ll happen, and it’s good.  I think Linda Ronstadt’s version of this song is more widely known, but Warren wrote it and does a better job singing it.  Nothing sounds quite like Warren Zevon singing a song.  Except maybe Warren Zevon singing a waffle iron.  I don’t know.  Forget I said that, please.  I would have been happier if “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” had come on, but this is fine, I’ll take this one.  It’s fun to sing and play guitar to this one too if you’re an embarrassing geek with a guitar like some people I know and am.  

“Draw the Line” – Aerosmith

I like old Aerosmith, I’m not gonna lie to you.  Everything up to “Permanent Vacation”, with a few exceptions here and there, is for the most part stuff I generally enjoy.  That old “Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits” album from Columbia House was one of the first CDs I ever purchased, and I listened to the whole thing quite frequently.  By the time they managed to crap out this song, the Aerosmith guys were pretty well mainlining entire Walgreens inventories on a regular basis, and it shows in the half-assed riff that powers the song.  It sounds like someone angrily and rapidly ascending and descending a small staircase.  I like it.

“Glory of True Love” – John Prine

A simple afterthought of a song that grew on me.  It helps that he mentions Albuquerque.  There’s not much to it but I notice I never skip it when it comes on.  It’s not as good as Glory of Love by Peter Cetera, but fuck, the guy’s not God, okay?  Why don’t you ask him to kill a mountain lion with his bare hands while you’re at it?

“Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon

Wah, iTunes, you already gave me a Warren Zevon one!  And everyone knows this one!  I don’t look as cool now!  Wah, iTunes!  Wah!  Well, anyway, I don’t always feel like hearing “Werewolves of London”, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it, and it features my favorite opening rock song lyric ever: “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand/Walkin’ through the streets of Soho in the rain”.  That’s beautiful.  Anywhere you go from there is gonna be good.

I gotta go to bed but that was fun.  J-Dog out!

I AM TRYING TO WATCH TELEVISION

Posted in Uncle Nutsy! on October 10, 2008 by butthorn

Yes, that is what I am doing.  I am going to watch a little bit of everything and talk to you about what I am watching.  It will be the first time anyone has ever done this in the history of television, people, typing, and the world wide web.   Perhaps I’ll also express an opinion about something, or reference a seldom-considered pop culture figure of the past.  Ham is gross, but Sonny Shroyer rules.  There, I did it.  

My wife has fallen asleep but I am not tired because I drank coffee after 5 PM so I am going to have to stay up all night watching TV and then tomorrow my brains and body won’t work and I’ll try to drive a can opener to work and if I ever get there I’ll give people unhelpful advice on the phone, such as “Self-administered medical treatment is generally the way to go” and “Call your insurance company – they’re there to help!”.  And every now and then I’ll yell “OH NO!” in a really forlorn and traumatized voice, but when people come over to see what’s wrong I’ll act like nothing happened.  That might help pass the time.  

I’m watching…what AM I watching?…”Cities of the Underworld” on The History Channel.  This episode is about “Viking Underground”.  I’m only watching it because it’s HD and outside looks good in HD.  Right now are commercials.  You know what I hate are car commercials.  They’re boring, they waste my time, and they anger me by focussing on a product that I will never be able to afford.  Commercials are very handy in that they help me to realize how far behind I am in comparison to others.  Now it’s a commercial for orange juice.  A full year, if not more, may have passed since I last had a glass of orange juice.  I bet if someone was able to give me a list of all the once-commonplace foods that I haven’t eaten in well over a year, it would sadden and disgust me to read it.  

Okay, this should help me (and, more than likely, you) get to sleep.  I’ll go through every channel and tell you something about what is on at the given moment.  

FOOD NETWORK HD: ACE OF CAKES

People are making very fancy cakes.  I’m glad we live in an era where cake can have a show.  Whenever I see the commercial for this show, I think of Motorhead singing “Ace of Cakes” instead of “Ace of Spades”, and I often sing it aloud for my wife when I go past it on the cable guide.  To her discredit, she usually laughs.  These cakes look nice and all but can’t I just eat ’em?  

HGTV HD: HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL

What’s this all about?  I wish “Spice Up My Kitchen” was on instead.  That sounds like a good television program to watch.  I already don’t feel like doing this anymore.  There are way too many commercials and they are all for things I want, like Jimmy Dean sausage croissants and an electronic learning game for kids that looks really relaxing to play.  This show is just people looking for houses!  Can I make a show about me looking for stuff?  Will HGTV HD agree to produce “Toenail Clippers Hunters in an Apartment”?  Ask them for me, would ya?  I’m too scared ta!  

All right, I’m gonna check out the radio channels.  I like to flip around on these sometimes.  Okay, let’s see if I can guess what’s playing on the ’80s channel before I turn to it.  Let’s see…I’m concentrating really hard to attune my brain to the 80’s channel…okay, I’m really feeling “West End Girls” by Pet Shop Boys.  Let’s check it out…it’s “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)” by Information Society.  Well, that’s not so far off!  I feel pretty good about that.  And I like this song.  I want to know!  What yaw thing-king!  There ah some things you can’t hide!  Man, this used to be on the radio all the time on Fox 104.7.  I miss 1988-1990 era Fox.  That was really the only time in my life where I was actively listening to the radio and fully abreast of what music was popular (at least in central Maine).  Chuck Foster and Kid Kelly and CJ Lawrence.  I remember once I called in to “Make it Or Break It” and told CJ Lawrence that “Scandalous” by Prince off the Batman soundtrack sounded like “Lloyd Bridges on Quaaludes” and he laughed and I was so proud of myself.  Furthermore, that song was not a hit so I obviously had a good deal of pop chart savvy in addition to a way with a seen-it-all bon mot.  

“Jump” by Van Halen is now on.  I don’t know that there has ever been an instance in my life when I have switched stations upon hearing the opening synthesizer chords to “Jump” by Van Halen.  I have never once thought “Oh yuck, ‘Jump’!”.  And now the song is over and I am unhappy once again.  Oh wait, I’m happy again: “She’s Like the Wind” by Patrick Swayze has taken its place.  Well met, MusicChoice!  I remember as youths we used to sing “She Broke the Wind” to this and found that to be the laff riot of the century, if not all the years there have ever been put together.  Actually, the idea of Patrick Swayze singing an otherwise earnest and tender ballad about a gaseous woman is kind of funny, especially if the rest of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack was normal and did not involve farting.  I still have not seen “Dirty Dancing”, although I think they played it on the bus on our senior class trip.  That and “Iron Eagle”.  As senior class trips go, ours was clearly choice.  She’s laaaaahk tha wiiiiind!  Jussa foooo to baleeeeve!  Good to know this song is still as horrible as it ever was.  I wonder how Patrick Swayze’s cancerous pancreas is doing.  I hope good.  He should release a new solo album called “Aah!  My Pancreas!”.  I don’t know the song that’s on right now and I’m not interested in adding anything new to my mental library tonight so let’s see what’s on the ’90s station…ooh, let me try to guess again!  Hmmm….”I Don’t Want to Fall in Love” by Jane Child.  Now to actually go to the channel…”Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” by Paula Cole.  Well, it’s a female solo artist at least, so again I was on the right track.  If people mention this song at all it’s generally with a certain amount of distaste, but I dunno, I typically enjoy it when I hear it in Rite Aid.  It’s certainly an acceptable enough accompaniment to picking out deodorant.  

Oh no, it’s Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.  Get out of here, Marky Mark!  And take your Funky Bunch with you!  “Funky Bunch”!  They’re a bunch all right!  A buncha losers!  Time to check out the ’70s channel, and I am going to say that “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray is playing, although I hope it is not because I don’t really feel like hearing it…nope, it’s “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer.  Not even close.  I’m losing my touch.  Olivia Newton-John is now singing something with a truly grating steel guitar part in the background.  MusicChoice channels are funny because they only have 2 or 3 pictures of each artist and they alternate between them periodically while the song plays.  The pictures are never flattering, like they’ll show Sting with his eyes half closed and mouth partially ajar, totally not ready for the guy to take his picture, or Lionel Richie wiping his ass or something.  “Baby Come Back” is now on and I’m okay with it.  I usually end up settling on the 70’s channel.  There’s always an earnest desire to entertain within the songs that I find supremely comforting.  The guys in the band who sang this song are, by the way, profoundly unattractive.  Especially when compared to handsome, handsome me.  “Baby Come Back/You can blame it all on me/I was wrong/And I just can’t live without you”.  This is wrenching!  Thank God it’s over.  Oh dear, now the Bee Gees are twittering at me.  These guys wig me out.  Who are they to decide whether I should be dancing or not?  They sound like crazy alien piglets.  Back to ’80s.  “One Step Closer to You” by Gavin Christopher…never heard of it, not enjoying it.  And it’s waking up my wife, although she’s been stirring perceptively ever since Marky Mark came on.  Consarn that Marky Mark!  

How about Lite Hits, that should have something compelling…ah, it’s “Can I Touch You…There?” by Michael Bolton.  I’ve actually never heard this song but I’ve chuckled at it’s title many times in the past while perusing the Columbia House catalog and trying to decide what CDs I want to purchase by signing up for an account under my cat’s name.  I’m trying to think if there was any way Michael Bolton could have been crasser and less appealing in titling that song. “Can I Grab Your…Bug?”  “Can I Stick My Finger Up Your…Butt?”  Soulful as always, Mr. Bolton.  Soulful as always.  Soulful.  As.  Always.  Soulful as always.  

I had to switch rooms because Michael Bolton is seriously disrupting my wife’s sleep.  It’s probably causing her to have not especially enjoyable dreams, in which Michael Bolton tentatively asks you to list which of your body parts you will allow him to touch.  Now that I think about it, knowing Michael Bolton, he’s probably just talking about your heart.  Which is somehow way grosser.  God bless you, Michael Bolton.  By the way, “bless” now means “condemn to Hell”.  I changed it.  That’s ridiculous, I don’t want Michael Bolton to go to Hell!  What’s the point of wishing that?  All he ever wanted to do was make ladies feel sexy.  And produce low budget softball instructional videocassettes.  

See?  You see that?  That thing is real!  I used to OWN that!  I bought that thing!  That’s right!  

True story:  I went to Goodwill one day and I saw this tape on the shelf and I thought “Well, that looks like a good thing to add to the pile of other things I have in my home.”  I picked it up.  I took it to the counter, most likely along with other things I in no way needed or would ever use again.  I placed it on the counter to which I had taken it.  

I greeted the cashier.

 “Greetings, cashier,” I said.  

She got right down to business.  “Before you can take these items out of this building, you have to give me some papers and metals, symbolic of a bunch of things you did last week that were no fun.”  

“May I give you a plastic rectangle with rounded corners and numbers emblazoned on it instead?”  I asked.  

“Sure, I’ll drag it through a notch cut into this electronic transmitter…”

“…and I’ll type a secret 4-digit code into this keypad.”

“Hold on, you can’t do that until I impatiently instruct you to do so.”

“Oh, okay, sorry.”

“Okay, go ahead, be quick about it.”

“All right, I entered the secret number, now what?”

“Now we stand here and wish this were happening faster.”

“That will be fine.  In order to avoid eye contact, I’ll pretend to be interested in this stack of Uncle Henry’s while this is…hey, it says ‘approved’ on this little screen.  Does that mean…”

“And here is a tiny, vaguely itemized list of reasons why you no longer have any money.  You may wad this up and wedge it into the pocket in your wallet that holds all your rarely-accessed membership cards and business cards from weird people you’ve met at bars, or perhaps you’d rather nonchalantly toss it into the backseat of your car with all the empty McDonald’s cups.”

“So you’re saying that I…”

“Yes, sir.  You are now the proud owner of ‘Michael Bolton’s Winning Softball’.”

“CITIZENS OF MAINE, I IMPLORE THEE: LOOK UPON THE FACE OF GOD!”

“Have a good one.”

I honestly don’t remember a frame of the Michael Bolton softball tape, though I no doubt viewed it in it’s entirety.  It’s funny how when you buy something solely due to the fact that it looks like it’s going to suck in a really hilarious way, it usually just ends up sucking in a you-wasted-your-money kind of way.  And then you work out in your head how long you had to stay at work to be able to fund that Michael Bolton sports instructional videocassette, and you just start shaking your head incredulously, and before you know it tiny damp circles begin forming, with barely perceptible taps, on your khakis, and are you crying?  Are you crying right now, you ridiculous baby?  Crying because you see how you truly don’t care, you truly don’t, you truly don’t?  That’s why you wake up every morning and spend the majority of your day in a dull building with people you hate doing something you don’t care about?  To buy Michael Bolton softball tapes?  Unreal.  Unfathomable.  Unimaginable.  Unbelievable.  Bewildering.  Shocking.  Disgusting.  Sad, is what it is.  Sad.  Sad!  You brought that Michael Bolton (Jesus!  Michael Bolton!!!) videotape into your home, with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, genuinely in your brain believing it to be a good and smart and funny and worthwhile thing to do, yet you do no grocery shopping, and you could pull a groin muscle attempting to step over your bills were you to stack them for whatever reason.  But who has the time – who, sir, has the time – to stock up on sundries or compensate debtees when there are ineptly produced softball instructional videos hosted by roundly despised early ’90s soft-hitsman Michael Bolton to purchase?  That’s the question we have to ask ourselves in this day and age. 

Well, anyway, T.G.I.F., right?  I don’t see sleep happening but I gotta at least give it the old college try.  I guess I’ll go lie down and try to think about Enya or something.  Night!

THIS SHIT AGAIN.

Posted in Thought-Provoking Political Insight on October 7, 2008 by butthorn

All right, let’s see what these two products have to sell us tonight.  I’m joining the second Presidential debate slightly in progress because I ate some pretty old pizza for supper and at 8:56 PM I had to go to the bathroom where I shat out something that felt like boiling oatmeal and looked like I dropped a Manwich in the toilet, yet was relatively odorless.  So let’s see what I missed while grunting out pooeys in the water closet…oh my God, McCain died!  How awful.  Nah, actually he’s sassing Tom Brokaw  at the moment.  McCain has a scary deadpan.  He’s a pretty frightening guy, even when mentioning eBay.  Why did he mention eBay?  All right, let’s check out the ties.  I’m trying to wrap my mind around Obama’s tie here.  It’s pretty wide.  Looks polka-dotted, but with very tiny white dots.  Obama is not answering this question!  He didn’t say who he wanted to appoint for whatever it was Tom Brokaw said.  Arrrggghh.  I worry that they write out their answers ahead of time and utilize them regardless of the questions.  It would be so hard to be in a debate.  I was always kind of in awe of kids who were on the debate team. Well, our school didn’t actually have a debate team, but we did have a speech team, and sometimes when we went to “speech meets” with other schools, we’d bump into kids who were also on the debate team.  I can prattle on about subjects I’m “smart” about indefinitely, but if there’s a subject being discussed that I know nothing about, I can’t even begin to pretend.  I kind of wish one of these guys would just say “I have absolutely no idea” every now and then.  Maybe they have at other public events and I just haven’t seen or heard about it.  Fanny May is a dumb name for a mortgage company.  Hey, I just learned that it’s based on the acronym for Federal National Mortgage Association!  FNMA = Fannie Mae (and not May, it turns out)!  Well, wowie zowie ding dong!  I love learning!  Not really!

Now what’s going on?  And what was that point I was going to make about debate team kids?  Was it anything?  Aw, this woman is so nervous and angry asking this question about how can we possibly trust either of these guys with their money in light of the current economic situation.  I love that woman.  That question took guts.  I didn’t realize the economy problems were these two guys’ faults.  Huh!  Well, those jerks!  I better go with my original plan and do a write-in vote for Delroy Lindo.  Did these people think up these questions themselves or have they been assigned?  Anyway, I don’t envy Obama having to answer this, and I also can’t pay attention to him answering this.  It seems sort of insulting that the candidates are insistent on referring to that woman’s questions as “cynicism”, though I can’t put my finger on why.  It’s like they’re telling her she should work on her attitude.  

What would I ask these guys, if I could ask them anything?  I have no idea.  Isn’t that awful?  It seems like I should have something snap right to mind, and for the life of me I really don’t know what I’d ask.  The sad thing is I’d probably try to think of something funny, cause how often you do get an audience that big?  Maybe I’d just ask “Could one of you please explain all this to me?”.  That seems reasonable.  

If I stare at Tom Brokaw really hard and then close my eyes, I can still see him.  What if he never leaves?  What if from now on whenever I close my eyes, there’s Tom Brokaw, silently asking me a question about the economic crisis?  What if I don’t want that to be my life?  

Let me ask my wife how this debate is going, she should know.  Oh, wife?:

“It’s alright.”

Thanks, wife!  We’ll have more insightful commentary like that from Annie later in the blog as the debate progresses!  Oh wait, she wants me to add now that “A more accurate answer would be ‘I don’t know’ “.  Man, if she doesn’t know, I’m never gonna figure it out.  Yuck, I have a really long hair growing out of my ear!  Uggh!  And I’m gonna keep playing with it, I know it, I know me!  I need to trim it with the nose hair trimmers but I don’t want to go get them.  I bet I thought to touch my ear because of all the mentioning of “earmarks” going on.  I still don’t know what those are.  Hey, did you know the Monopoly thing has started up at McDonald’s again?  I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  

John McCain really likes stripey ties.  This one is better than the last one.  While this tie also puts me in mind of candy canes, it at least makes me think of one of those fancy fruity candy canes that cost a little more than the regular candy canes but are totally worth it.  I like regular candy canes too but not on old men’s ties, or at least not on old men who aren’t currently singing in a barbershop quartet, which is a thing that I have never seen John McCain do, which is ultimately why I’m not voting for him.  Granted, I’ve never seen Obama in a barbershop quartet either, but…hey, did they change their ties?  I think Obama’s tie is different.  Maybe not.  Probably not, because when would he have had the chance to change his tie?  McCain hair and shirt are exactly the same color.  He could be draping a scrap of dress shirt over his head and wearing a suit jacket over his bare hairy chest right now for all we know.  

Brokaw just put the smack down.  He called them “you guys”.  That’s fantastic.  Come on, you guys, we gotta do a debate!  You guuu-uuuys!  Come on!  I just saw that woman who emotionally asked the question before in the audience, and she’s making a lot of really skeptical faces.  I think Tom Brokaw is going to have to get violent here in a minute.  He’s gonna tell someone to shut their trap or something.  “I’m gonna get to Medicare in a second” from McCain sounds like a part in “Glengarry Glen Ross” when Al Pacino says “I’m gonna be with you in a second”.  The way he says it is scary.  John McCain: He’s Gonna Get to Medicare in a Second.  The carpet is really red.  

The candidates aren’t going to be able to pretend to hold and lightly shake a somewhat deflated volleyball in front of them tonight because they have to hold the microphone.  

Is nuclear power really “safe” and “clean”, as per John McCain?  I always though nuclear power created mutated fish and stuff.  That isn’t “safe”.  Or “clean”.  I bought a bag of disappointing lollipops a month or so ago and I’m eating some of them tonight just to make them go away.  I don’t know why I can’t just throw them away but I can’t.  And usually I waste food all the time, but apparently I’m reluctant to waste candy due to I’m five.

Wife update.  Now what do you think about the debate thus far, O wife?:

“I think the way I will judge the next debate will be who says the most things I haven’t already heard 500 times.”

Thanks, wife!  That is likely to be the most intelligent sentiment expressed in this entry, until I ask her again later.  Oh, my wife has just thought of another thing to say:

“The winner of this debate is Tom Brokaw.”

Yay!  All hail President Brokaw!  President Brokaw, that’s pretty cool sounding.  I bet he could think of some good stuff to do with the U.S. of A.  Like making Thursday “Free Lunch at Work Day That Your Boss Has To Pay For”.  And he mails you a new kind of interesting snack every month, and it’s always a surprise what it is.  I would be totally okay with my tax dollars paying for that.  Wouldn’t you wake up every day with a huge smile on your face, knowing that sometime that month you’d be receiving “President Brokaw’s Surprise Snack of the Month”.  Obama just said “mammogram”.  I wasn’t expecting it.  Now I have “mammogram” in my head to the tune of “Photograph” by Def Leppard.  Maaaaaaam-mo-graaaaaaaaaaaaam!  Somebody call Weird Al.  Crack the window, I smell royalties!  What?!

McCain just used the word “wherewithal”.  It’s no “festooned”, but it’ll do, it’s a good one.  It’s good to sneak in a vocab word every now and then.  Obama might do well to drop a “maelstrom” in there somewhere.  Man, if you think about it, humans are really pretty well behaved a lot of the time.  There’s really nothing much stopping this audience from running around, yelling, throwing things and acting out.  Annie reports that Obama is answering the “is healthcare a right, a priviledge, or a something else” question well.  A somewhat creepy dude with glasses and sticky-up hair just very calmly asked a question.  He did a good job but he also scared me a little.   There’s a couple of goofy bald dudes sitting in the front aisle that are very distracting.  Wow, I can’t stop looking at them.  I love them.  I wonder how much thought the audience put into what they’re wearing tonight.  Limit your choices to your current wardrobe and put together in your mind the outfit you would select if you were going to go to this debate tonight, and let’s say you’d be sitting in the front room to boot.  That’s something fun for you to think about.  There’s one guy in the audience wearing a mutedly busy plaid type of button-up shirt, and I respect that man’s decision.  

This debate looks like it was taped in the studio that they used to make that show where people sat around a psychic who looked a little like Aidan Quinn and he talked to their dead relatives.  Is that still on?  I remember people being really into that guy, and now I can’t even remember his name.  I watched it more than a few times.  I could never really tell if I was truly enjoying it or not.  I probably was.  It would be funny if someone in the audience threw their wallet at John McCain’s head.  He’d be like “Did someone just throw their wallet at me?”  Katy Hamm just asked a hard-sounding question about Pakistan that I would answer thusly if I were Obama: “Is that the one near Spain?  Spain and the P-one?  Is the P-one Pakistan?”  Right now the camera angle is such that Obama is surrounded by four groins.  It looks like the best doo-wop group ever.  Obama and the Four Groins.  Actually that sounds more like a direct-to-DVD Indiana Jones rip-off.  If he doesn’t win the election he could always look into doing something like that.   You can’t tell me you wouldn’t at least think about renting a direct-to-DVD action/adventure series starring Barack Obama.  

Hey, wife: Who do you think is more effective so far?

“If I had to choose who’s given the more interesting answers so far, that would be Obama.  But I haven’t heard many interesting answers cumulatively.”

I see!

“Does that sound too smart?”

Not at all!

“I don’t like my opinions to be known.”

Sorry!  

Pissing contest going on.  Tom Brokaw’s losing control of the classroom.  He’s so cool, though.  He’s calmer in front of the camera than I am at home watching him.  I wonder if there’s anything that really gets Tom Brokaw’s goat.  I wonder what really pisses him off, or tickles him, or hurts his feelings.  I wonder what he likes for chips.  How about some Tom Brokaw trivia?  Let’s google “Tom Brokaw trivia”.  Maybe I can find a Tom Brokaw quiz game!  Or a website of loltombrokaws!  What will Google find?  All right, here’s a website promising “not commonly known Tom Brokaw facts”, this sounds pretty promising.  Wow!  He received a BA in political science in 1962!  Who woulda thunk it?  What else?  He was a tour guide at Gavins Point Dam when he was 18.  I bet that was the most compelling and sobering dam tour in the history of man.  What else?  He was named after his maternal great-grandfather!  Scandalous!  Hey, one of the bald guys is asking a question about Israel.  McCain shook his hand because he did Navy things.  I’m glad they let one of the bald guys do a question.  I love those bald guys.  McCain just said “stinking corpse”.  That’s a handy phrase for uplifting speeches.  This Tom Brokaw trivia page is for the birds.  Let’s find another one.  Hey, this next page is purportedly my entertainment source for the latest Tom Brokaw gossip!  Wow!  Let’s see…his wife, Meredith, is a former Miss South Dakota.  Also, he received a BA in political science in 1962.  I give up.  

“What don’t you know, and how will you learn it?”  That’s a good question that I’m sure won’t be answered in anything approaching a satisfactory manner by anyone.  It wasn’t.  It’s funny that McCain got in the way of Tom’s teleprompter.  That’s a fun silly way to end it.  And now here’s Brian Williams immediately shitting all over the debate the instant it ends:  “Well, the audience was virtually ignored, Tom Brokaw might as well have been handcuffed to a urinal in the rest room, and McCain and Obama clearly don’t care about anyone but themselves.  And a country’s cries remain unheeded as the flames of economic destruction destroy their homes, melt their faces, and scald their toddlers.  May death come swiftly for us all.  I’m Brian Williams, good night.”  I’m sure he’d think I was an idiot, but I’d like to have a drink with Brian Williams.  Maybe get some nachos as well, or perhaps even an appetizer sampler of some sort.  

I like the Truth Squad thing they do on NBC, where somebody comes on and basically says “Actually, pretty much everything you just saw was made up on the spot, but here’s some legitimately accurate information for you if you’d like”.  As if I would ever be able to know who on this magical box is telling the truth and who isn’t.  Knowing: it’s impossible!  I’m working on a children’s educational program right now based on that very credo.  It’s called “Fuck It, Let’s Watch TV”.  It’s going well.  

And now, some final thoughts from Annie concerning what we’ve just seen: “I’m not over or underwhelmed.  They closed well.”  *shrug*  *bigger shrug*  “I don’t know.  It was fine.  I’m not surprised.  I have to think about it more.”

Fair enough, wife.  I hope you all enjoyed my not-at-all-helpful-or-relevant guide to the 2008 second Presidential debate.  I also hope you sleep well and dream about infinite breakfast buffets.  Good night.

THE DEBATE IS ON TV RIGHT NOW AGAIN!

Posted in Thought-Provoking Political Insight on October 2, 2008 by butthorn

All right, now we’re watching the vice-president debate.  I’m more excited to watch this one because there seems to be more opportunity for comedy.  These are odd people who like to say weird things.  “Hey, can I call you ‘Joe’?” says Palin, right off the bat, then rattles off 8 or 12 “thank yous”.  She’s gotta be shitting her pants right now.  I had to look away from the screen whenever they showed segments from her Katie Couric interview, and I never like to have to look away when Katie Couric’s onscreen.  Hotchi-botchie ding-dong magooglies!

Palin’s bangs are amazing.  Oh geez, she busted out a youth soccer reference already.  That’s gotta be on those bingo cards.  I can’t tell if she’s saying stupid things or not.  It sounds like all the other things everyone always says during debates.  I like this moderator.  Biden’s head does not look good from the back.  He will not win a “Best Debate Hairdo” certificate.  I’m staring deeply into the vortex of brunette fireworks that is Sarah Palin’s coiffure.  I’m watching this in HD so Palin’s digitized makeup and Biden’s skin tone are really striking.  Ha!: “Neither of you really answered that last question!”  Gwen Ifill is the moderator to end all moderators.  I have a feeling she’s going to be repeating that particular sentiment at various points in the program.  Why can’t SHE be vice-president?  She’d tear this thing up.

Argggg.  “Joe Six-Pack”.  “Hockey moms”.  She’s not saying anything.  It’s just sort of comforting, I guess.  I bet she would really get kids to behave in Sunday School.  Boy, Joe Biden has a large head, and is tanner than I remembered.  Palin is really leaning on the mild oath of “darn”.  That word has always made me upset.  I wonder how many “darn rights” she’ll be treating us to.  She should say “queefing right” instead.  Darn is so namby-pamby.  This can’t help but feel to me like the kids Thanksgiving table version of a debate.  There’s not much tension here.  They’re a lot more smiley, and instead of talking about themselves they mostly have to talk about their presidentially-hopeful partners, who if elected will actually get to do stuff.

“Governor, are you interested in defending Senator McCain’s health care plan?”  That’s a funny, vaguely unhopeful way of directing her toward the topic.  It’s really transparent how badly these two want and need to be seen as regular small-town schnooks.  I want to elaborate on this but I’m getting sucked into the hair vortex again.  Ouchies!: Biden just got cute and threw in a “bridge to nowhere” jab.  I bet he was excited to get that one in there.  I have to say, while I have no idea what she’s talking about and can’t really tell how intelligent her input here really is, Palin isn’t coming off as so much of a stammering ninny here.  They must have coached the living bajeezus out of her.  Biden having some serious trouble with the word “characterized”.  Look at how perfectly her locks are wrapped around her skull and draped above her ears.  You could spear olives on those bangs.

The veeps are dressed better than the big guys were.  They’ve spruced up pretty good.  McCain looked like he had to borrow a tie from an unstylish but conveniently nearby Navy buddy.  Sad admission: I had to look up McCain on Wikipedia to find out which branch of the armed forces he served in.  What else can I learn about him on Wikipedia, now that I have his page on the screen and the debate is disappointingly free of antics?  Let’s see…the tie he’s wearing in his Wikipedia portrait is much more flattering than the thing he had on the other week.  I think Biden finds Palin kind of cute in that crazy sort of way.  His beaming smiles in her direction seem genuine.  Like “look at the cute little girl trying to talk about big boy politics”.  He’s even nodding solemnly at her when she makes an ostensibly important and sensical point.  I heard Palin’s voice quaver very noticeably when Ifill brought up the issue of energy and climate change and other such Ed Begley Jr.-type comments.  She accidentally said “petroleum projects” instead of “petroleum products – hmmm!  You like how I’m acting like I actually detect a Freudian slip there?  Savvy!  Basically they’re both saying the environment is really crappy and we should clean it.  Good plan, guys.  I don’t know, they could be making earth-shatteringly relevant points here and I wouldn’t recognize it, so what the hell am I talking about.  I think Palin is actually more comfortable in front of a large audience than in a one-on-one setting.   I expected more awkward pauses and complete gibberish than I’m getting.  Heh, I think she just called him “Senator Obiden”.  I wonder if that unintentional amalgam will achieve the same notoriety as, say, Brangelina.  Palin getting dodgy about the same-sex stuff.  Now everyone getting dodgy about it.  The subject is swiftly changed.  Gays are funny and good at picking out clothes but it’s gross if they publicly express their love via a lovely ceremony and a binding document.  Bottom line: God didn’t make butts with wieners in mind.  It was a happy accident that he deeply regrets, so no getting married, ya gaybees!  Was mine the only middle school where kids routinely called each other “gaybee”?  Is that how it was spelled?  Did it mean “gay bee”?  Who invented “gaybee”?  Why is “bee” the suffix after “gay” in that insult?  Someone please deconstruct “gaybee” for me.  

Now I don’t know what they’re talking about.  They’re jovially getting in each others’ faces.  Palin just went from reaming Biden out to telling him how much she respects him for doing military things.  Back to the gay thing:  what scares them about the concept of gay marriage?  Do people think the country will turn into a humongous living gay porno if people of the same sex can get married?  It’s like they think allowing gay people to get married will make the gay people all turn way more gay then the non-gay people are comfortable with.  And anyway, gay people are pretty much getting married all over the place regardless.  I’ve seen it happen twice with my own eyes, and not once was I privy to anus-raping or unwillingly exposed to Margaret Cho standup.  On the other side of the coin, there was also a distinct lack of scintillating lesbian lovemaking.  But if gay people want to gussy up and repeat platitudes at the behest of a notary in front of their loved ones as a means of declaring that they wish to silently watch TV with the same person for the rest of their lives, how does that affect these two assholes?  I’m voting for Jim J Bullock, that does it!

Heh, Joe Biden just talked about himself in the third person.  That’s funny and weird.  I think she just called him “Senator Obiden” again.  That isn’t his name!  You don’t see “Obiden” calling her “McPalin”.  Speaking of that, I’m going back to McCain’s Wiki to see if I can learn and share one interesting fact, like his favorite band is Collective Soul, or he spends the majority of his free time playing “Rack-o”, or something.  Let’s see…biweekly beatings, omnipresent dysentery, years of torture rendered him incapable of raising his hands over his head, zzzzzzzzz…my knees are cold!  What are they talking about now?   I wonder what Palin smells like?  I bet she smells like freshly laundered sheets.  What about Biden?  Hmm, that’s a very good question.  Maybe like a simple breakfast cooked at camp?  It looks like it would hurt really badly if Joe Biden headbutted you.  

I’m sorry, everyone.  I’m not doing a very good job covering this vice-presidential debate.  Palin just said “I beg to disagree with you”.  I don’t think that’s a thing you say.  This is all a big “my dad can lick your dad” argument.  Lick meaning “beat in a fight”, not “pleasure orally”, although I guess it would be funny if out of nowhere they both started yelling “McCain is gonna suck Obama’s dick!”, “Nuh-uh, Obama is gonna tearfully fellate McCain!” at one another.  That wouldn’t be a good way to make political points.  What if McCain and Palin win and then later we find out they’re having sex?  Has anyone envisioned that situation?  I know I have.  I might go envision it in the shower in a minute if this debate doesn’t pick up the pace.  I’ve about had it with Palin’s folksy interjections.  “Doggone it”, “sure as heck”, “gadzooks a diddily ding dong donkey feathers”.  She just told Biden that his wife’s “reward is in Heaven”.  Is that a subtle way of saying she wants Biden’s wife to pass away?  Cutthroat!  

Gwen is now basically asking the veeps what about them sucks. Palin has apparently chosen to answer by rattling off all her good points.  Evidently she has misunderstood the term “Achilles heel”.  It would be funny if they went to Biden after that and he said “Well, children disgust me, that’s a problem of mine” or something like that.  Heh, Biden is talking about how he makes more money than most people.  That’s an admission you don’t hear often.  Geez, they both crapped out on the Achilles heel question.  Can I tell you how tired I am of the word “maverick”?  Biden seems just as sick of the word and is now spouting off about it.  It would be funny if he said “John McCain isn’t maverick!  ‘Maverick’ is a likable, western-themed knockabout comedy from 1994 starring Mel Gibson and James Garner!”

Man, I’m thirsty!  I feel like I’ve been funneling sand.  But we drank all the grape soda!  What will I do?!?!  

Okay, I think it’s over.  I remain confused and tired.  You know what would really make this debate extra weird?  If at the end Seal came out and sang “A Kiss From A Rose” and put his arms around Biden and Palin and they awkward tried to sing along.  Or if that song where the dogs bark “Jingle Bells” played over the loudspeakers as they left the stage.  Whoever is talking now is saying “whoever came here looking for a train wreck came away disappointed”.  That was the most correct thing anyone said all night.  I wonder what Biden and Palin are discussing now.  What if all of a sudden he roughly pushed her across the stage, or if she slapped him in the face and he then vigorously waggled his tongue?  Tom Brokaw is apparently going to moderate the next debate.  I guess Flava Flav wasn’t available.

Who is going to win this?  Who are we going to be stuck with for the next four years, and how will they do, and will anything change?  And should I go get some more grape soda?  Is Hannaford even still open?  Is it worth leaving the house when I’ve already put my pajamas on?  Who IS Darkman?