Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Worst 9 of '09 (and late '08)

I'm baaaaaaaack! Yet again! No guarantees that I'll stick around, but here's a long rambling post for ya to get things going again (maybe).

I hadn't really been feeling particularly inspired to rage about anything in particular until the holiday season reared its ugly head once again (as early as the first week of September in my neighborhood), thus forcing me to notice that not much has changed over the past year. Many of things that angered me towards the end of last year and the first half of this year are still around, and perhaps worse than ever!

So without further ado, here they are!

9) The perfume ads have returned! Many, if not most, of the ads from last year are taking up almost all airspace yet again. Some scents (such as Pink from Lacoste) are slightly different-still just as annoying but now with a new song and new girl running about. I didn't think it was possible, but I think there might be more this year than there were last year.

8) P. Diddy or whatever you call him is still around and still bothering people. His I Am King advert still pops up on TV and he is still a douche. His wax figure was recently unveiled at Madame Tussaud's and guess what? He gave MT a bottle of I Am King so that his figure could be as accurate a representation of him as possible. Douche.

7) Tiger Woods is more of a whore than ever. Back in January I ranted about how Tiger Woods will do anything, and I mean anything, for money. The man, as far as I could count, had 9 major advertizement deals. Well, it turns out that he ain't just a whore for money. The guy likes his women, and lots of them (at least 9-what is it with the number 9 this year). It looks like he won't have as many advertizing deals going into 2010.

6) The Liskula Cohen skank ordeal just won't die. Remember Cohen? The former, failed model who sued Google over a blog entitled "Skanks in NYC?" Well, it turns out that Cohen won the case and the blogger had to reveal her identity. I'm not sure which part of the story is more sad, the fact that someone as obnoxious as Cohen could actually get away with suing Google or that the previously anonymous blogger did not turn out (as I'd predicted) to be an awkward 16 year old but one of Cohen's prior acquaintances. Lame.

5) Yo Yo Ma is still too happy. I was a little unsettled by his never ending smile when he played in a suit at Obama's inauguration (it was freakin' cold outside) and wondered if he could ever frown. Don't think so. I saw him play at the Royal Albert Hall a couple months ago and he is possibly the happiest person ever to live. Okay, I'll admit it, I love you Yo Yo Ma!

4) Actors who want you to think they have standards but don't. Last time it was Pierce Brosnan and George Clooney. This time it's Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy) and Matthew Fox (Jack from Lost) getting all gelled up for L'Oreal. Proof:


This second one might be allowed because Fox is, well, a fox.

3) PETA still sucks. Aretha Franklin, on the other hand, gets her own and dresses all out in fur. Way to go lady.

2) Sarah Palin still won't shut up. Just give her a freakin' reality show already. No one takes her seriously, and if they do, well, there's just no hope for them.

1) I still find myself feeling like Mugatu. Not because of U2 this time (although that never really goes away) but because of Muse. Granted, I do kind of like them (I can't help it!), but I really don't get the obsession everyone has with them. Every single one of their songs sounds the same. I have a really hard time telling the songs apart on their albums and was a bit confused when their "new" album came out a couple months ago. This is new? It sounds like more of the same.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guerilla Radio

One day, driving home from school, I turn on the radio to hear a song called "What's Left of the Flag." The artists, Flogging Molly, has become one of my favorite bands. Now, sitting here, wearing my Flogging Molly T-shirt, I discover that the radio station I was listening to all those years ago has just shut down.

I grew up listening to WBCN, and I had come to consider the station as a landmark in the electromagnetic spectrum of Boston. So naturally, the news of its imminent demise came as bit of a shock &mdash a very concrete example of how modern media is changing.

The tendency is to blame iPods and MP3s for killing the radio, but I'm not sure if it is true. NPR's podcasts give me the opportunity to listen to programming that I enjoy, such as Car Talk, without me having to tune in on a Sunday afternoon. WBCN's song list will even live on via the station's website.

Infinity bigshot, Oedipus, sticking to his pseudonym even on PBS's Greater Boston, points out that only half of a radio station's job is the songs. Good radio content is determined by character, and the homoginization and nationalization of radio content has made the airwaves boring.

The Rock of Boston built its reputation on the creation of personalities, and a commitment to Boston's local scene. However, in recent years BCN lost the spark that introduced me to bands like Flogging Molly, the Dropkick Murphys, and showed the country bands like U2 and The Pixies (It also had a strange affinity for Irish bands).

So Boston says goodbye to an a piece of history, even though the golden age may have ended years ago. Whether it is the cause or the effect, the trend seems to be clear: The airwaves are full of naught but the most mainstream of media, and listeners are turning to internet and satellite radio for niche and novel content.


An addendum for people in the Boston area, one of BCN's major local features, Boston Emissions, is slated to continue on WZLX 100.7 in August.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

You've got to take her out

Energy drinks are great! What else is there to keep you going when it is four in the morning and you have an after party to attend. (besides cocaine of course) In highschool, when I was bored on a Saturday night, there was nothing better than shotgunning two Mountain Dew Amps, bouncing off the walls for two hours then collapsing in a sugar coma.

However, in the seemingly endless field of bull-piss-fueled, super-power-endowing quaffs, it is hard to get the attention as the trucker reaches into the gas station ice box. Let's face it, giving wings worked well for Clarence, but it is not for everyone. Now that you mention it: "I want to live!" would make an awesome tag line for on of these sodas. The trend now seems to aim at the not so bright, yet health conscious crowd — you know the people who work out and/or diet all the time, but whose knowledge of nutrition is "calories are bad".

See Exhibit A:

I understood 5 hour energy's angle, the high sugar content definitely makes energy drinks far less appealing than your standard cup of coffee. (This is not to be confused with 6 Hour Power, which gives you head.) Celsius' shtick totally takes advantage of the fact that everyone wants to be skinny, but doesn't understand how thier bodies work.

The ingredients are the same as if you added some vitamin C and B to a diet Redbull. This means that the "calorie burning" effect comes from the raised metabolism that is associated with the "energy" giving ingredients which you cannot pronounce. So, yes, it will help you burn calories, but so does coffee... and cocaine. So, I suppose, if you are looking to supplement your diet, but for some reason can't seem to score and eight ball, you can always go down to the supermarket and pick some of this stuff up.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Headline: Judge Falls for Bernie Madoff's Retirement Scheme

In case you have been hiding under a rock, Bernie Madoff has been sentenced to a 150 years in prison for his "evil" crimes. If the sentence sounds absurd to you, that is because Madoff will be serving the sentence on years he will be borrowing from people who don't understand how the stock market works. My guess is that Judge Denny Chin (whose name sounds like what you get from eating too many Grand Slams) assumed that the case was fictional when she read the amount Madoff is alleged to have stolen, and thus responded accordingly.

However, this sentence was a little on the conservative side for victim Burt Ross, who was hoping for Madoff to be sentenced to the inner circle of hell [as per the NYTimes article I cited earlier]. Though the sentence dwarfs the defense's plea of 12 years: with Madoff at 71, if he survives twelve years, he will probably be more of a financial burden than a threat. Admitting this the Honorable Chin, declined because it seemed absurd to give Madoff a sentence applicable to possession of a quarter ounce of marijuana.

So, finding herself through the looking glass, Judge Chin decided to eat the other side of the mushroom instead. My metaphor seems more appropriate with the language that was bandied about. In addition to references to Dante's inferno, Judge Chin claimed that, in addition to legal precedent, the symbolism of sentencing Madoff to a million years in prison was for "retribution," dismissing the acts as "evil." If you have ever watched a crime drama, you know this is a bad sign in a judge.

To be fair, nothing Judge Chin could have done would have satisfied me. White collar crime needs to be taken more seriously in this country, and to me (and the bottom line mentality of white collar criminals) whatever sentence would have come across as what it is: a life sentence to a prison where Madoff will receive better treatment than your granny receives in her old age home. However, booking him with a sentence that is usually associated with serial killers, after a trial filled with drama which would make Arthur Miller blush, sends just as bad of a message.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hmmm...-Worthy: You Make this Rockin World Go Round

My partner in crime has got me paying attention to the pictures that get include as the headline for news articles. Op-ed pieces tend to provide the best fodder — nothing betrays subtle bigotry quite like the picture you subconsciously chose to represent your works.

To this effect, my attention was drawn by this New York Times piece by Ruth La Ferla, about the "trend" which has "rotund" clothing designers putting out lines for "plus-sized" women. (How dare they!)

This photo which headlines the article is not quite as deliciously random as the BBC Gem Rageoline picked up, you understand why it's there. This picture is more like one of those 3D pictures, that looks like random noise until you relax your eyes, then you see a whole new dimension of questionable style choices.

I get that it is an advertisement for a Traget line of clothes, but did she have to be in the frozen foods section? Why, exactly, is she holding a bag of fried chicken? Was ice cream cliche? Bird's Eye peas too kink? I would love to have been a fly on the wall at this photo shoot. I picture the photographer saying:

"Stand more like a line backer. No don't clutch the chicken nuggets too your chest. Can you look hungrier? Random guy in the back! Don't move, that's good, look frightened! Now just let me get on my knees to give this shot that 'Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo' feeling.


I would agree.

* * *
I should take a moment to thank Annalee Schafranek over at Bitch for turning me onto this article. If for some reason you felt compelled to read the text in the NYTimes article, and are wondering why no one told Ms. La Ferla that "rotund" is not a nice way of saying "fat" you should read Annalee's article.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ghost Blogs and a Lack of Common Sense

Speaking of ghosts, I'm not dead. Still here. Yup. Miss me? Didn't think so.

Have you ever started a blog only to abandon it within a few months? Of course you have. But why? Either you got bored, got busy, or your (ex) BFF misinterpreted one particular post? In order to solve this grand mystery, the folks over at the NY Times (discovered here) have asked a few people to reveal why they've left all of these blogs to waste away on the internets.

The reasons for neglect boil down to:

1) Procrastination and, you know, life
2) Attempts at fame, money, and an established audience have failed
3) Distractions and new forms of expressing one's ideas such as Twitter and Facebook (What do you mean distractions? I always pay atten...what's that?)

My problem with the piece is that Douglas Quenqua, the article's author, as well as the bloggers he interviewed, all seem to overestimate the power of blogs. The last few years have made us question the value of print media and forced us to reassess whether we still need to print and bind books or whether we should digitize anything and everything. It's the new way andeveryone wants in.

Quenqua writes, "Getting started is easy, since all it takes to maintain a blog is a little time and inspiration. So why do blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants?" He answers his own question here. Something that takes "little time and inspiration" to "maintain" will hopefully be more readily abandoned than something which costs someone's lifeblood and savings to establish. A restaurant owner needs to find investors, staff, a chef, a location, and must have good business sense in order to succeed. Not just anyone can set one up. However, Teeny McTweeneyson can set a blog up for free within five minutes on many different sites. Now let's say that Teeny has a blog about her cat and her crush (Hottie o'Dreamyguy) but gets frustrated after a few months because no one ever comments and it just hasn't taken off. Maybe she'll come back to it every so often to rant about her life but it's no longer that vehicle she hopes will transport her to SuccessTown.

Why on earth would something like Teeny's blog fail? Is it the fact that she can't spell? Or the fact that she uses too many !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? Or perhaps because there are approximately 8 gazillion blogs already devoted to cats? Maybe. But there were probably about 8 gazillion minus one blogs devoted to cats before Lolcats came along. Teeny simply failed to do her research or put any creative effort into her blog. There are many Italian restaurants in the States, but that doesn't mean that new Italian restaurants will automatically fail. Americans will always love Italian food and surfers of the internet will always love reading about cats. But one day even Lolcats will bore us and we'll have to come up with a new feline sensation.

The point is, being a blogger will not lead to automatic success. In fact, the likelihood of a blog doing well is probably slimmer these days than that of a book getting published. Our thoughts are summarized in 500 words or less, we demand images and instant updates, and our hands shake when we hold a pen to paper for more than 15 minutes. The digital age, as awesome as it may be, should not signify the end of skill, talent, or perspicacity.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jay Leno: Adieu, Until Tomorrow

A long time ago, NBC realized that its programing was so bad

**How bad was it?**

So bad that the only way it could lead in the ratings was to put programming on later than any other channel. The Tonight Show was born.

Tonight, Jay Leno takes the stage one last time after hosting for seventeen years, when he picked the job from the bucked teeth of David Letterman, who then seceded to CBS. Yes in this metaphor, the Abraham Lincoln is being played by Conan O'Brien, because he is lanky and would look very good in a stove pipe hat.

The host of the Tonight Show is like the president of comedy, in that he is over worked, over-rated and no one likes him until he has left. In a certain way he represents the country's sense of humour, and it marks the end of an era when he leaves. After so long it is hard to believe that Jay will no longer be there delivering his own particular brand of mediocre least common denominator comedy.

...That is until this fall when he will have a slightly earlier time slot. It is almost like I have moved to the central time zone.