The Canadian Club











Well, Dave, someone heard my earlier plea about obtaining a free ticket to the Deli.  I mean, except for the free part.  And so it is that I am headed off to Hindustan today to see my Hindustani girlfriend!

But, I wouldn’t leave without throwing some questions your way, Dave… And so here are some things I was thinking about:

So, sifting through this compilation, I noticed this press release for something that calls itself  “Bezi Bra Discs,” basically subtle pasties.  This apparently resolves an age-old predicament

“With so many air-conditioned rooms, women wearing sleek bridal wear are seeing more than just wedding cake. They are seeing they outline of their nipples through their dresses,” says Anne Zuckerman, owner of Edith’s Inc. “This is not they way most brides — and their bridal party — want to stand out on such an important day as a wedding.”

Now, I have to admit to finding it a really bad sign that our contemporaries are horrified of this.  And yet, don’t you have some old acquaintance that “invented” and sold the same thing?  What were they called? Who has a patent on this?  And how could several people have the same bad idea at once? In essence, this invokes the Almodovar paradox, where what is presented as particularly sensitive to women, strikes me, rather, as sneering misogyny.

And, to answer your question, Dave, yes, I have seen three Almodovar films.  They basically have a drag queen‘s portrayal of the feminine mystique.  Perhaps it is in those grand gesticulations of mocking hyperbole that modern criticism reads feminism.  Or maybe I have it all wrong, and there is some confusion and distinction that I’m not making between movies that are feminist by nature, and those that are sensitive portrayals of women.

Moving along, I’m very curious about this thing called Momofuku.  Why is it extremely popular as a subject of Facebook status updates?  What is it?  Is its appeal related in some way to the popularity of those French Connection UK T-shirts?  Help me out here, Dave.

Finally, you have a kid, right?  Well, can you ask him what the deal is with all these poopyheads?

Well, that’s about enough out of me.  I best be shining my shoes and sliding my passport in its protective sleeve.  See ya on the other side of 2009!

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{December 31, 2009}   Taint the Season…

So*, I broke from tradition this year and switched up the Chinese food for some righteous vindaloo.  Hell, I didn’t even get to the movies!  But you know who didn’t flip the script?  The frakkin’ NBA.  After spending all of the 08-09 campaign carrying water for big shoe and slowly setting in motion the hidden gears that would pit “Bruised ribs” against “Crybaby” in a Finals match-up of the most unbearable, self-serious ballers in the L, David Stern is at it again.  Rather than scheduling a X-mas day rematch of the previous Finals, the NBA chose again to inflict its aspired championship match-up on the viewing public — a significant portion of whom would much rather have seen Kevin Durant lead Oklahoma City against the High-flyin’ Hotlanta Hawks.  That would have been an East-West meeting of worthy rivals, with a little bit of brio…

What did I get instead, Dave?  A crap game between a bunch of whiners, all of which was a pretext to sell shoes via the most atrocious ad campaign in the history of footwear!!!!!!!! Yes, that’s right.  Nike brought back the frakkin’ MVPuppets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So a contrived rivalry among the most self-congratulatory, self-serious athletes in the NBA begets the criminal perpetuation of the most self-serious, self-congratulatory and, overall, presumptuous commercials in the history of sports.

Now, I have a few things to say about this…

  1. Beware all ad campaigns that propose a television pilot as a sales pitch… This is a corollary to the Murphy Brown phenomenon of self-congratulatory television programming, which holds that once a series substitutes zeitgeist for character, it becomes unbearably pompous and unfunny — this is especially true for those series where the zeitgeist participates in my mother’s weltanschauung, for some reason… Obviously, these two categories can actually overlap.
  2. The idea that we should welcome back the MVPuppets  makes me want to puke.
  3. The MVPuppets don’t actually look anything like Kobe and Lebron.
  4. Most upsetting, the MVPuppets ads are blatantly trying to rip-off and thus, thrive on the magic of the greatest sports-related ad campaign EVER:

Neither of these guys will ever exude wit and charm like Lil’ Penny. And, of course, I hate being told which playas I’m supposed to like.  Go ahead.  Call me a playahata!

The other thing that happens when one watches sports is this immersion into the bizarre world of advertising aimed towards an exclusively male demographic.  It is sobering to have all my insecurities revealed to me in a way that usually only happens while watching Mad Men.

My specific takeaway from my X-mas day experience, however, was the realization that, while I may be capable of obsessive love for movie trailers — television series trailers have got to be the most depressing and nauseating form of advertisement.  Not only am I incapable of watching sitcoms — I think since they canceled Perfect Strangers — but I find it truly depressing the insistence on how much we’re supposed to love the characters in television shows.  I think television series trailers, ads — what have you — are kind of like dog owners who insist on you loving their dogs, even though you’ve never felt a sympathetic glint of appreciation for any canine in your entire life.  It’s just this absence of understanding that sometimes, what you have doesn’t have to be lovable.  In any case, I was wondering if Pajamas was going to watch this:

I thought the part about: “Cliff, they’re worthy clients! And I’m head litigation partner, so no matter what you say, I’m taking the damn case!” would really resonate.

So, it’s been almost seven months since I’ve had the Lifetime network… I think I feel the loss most acutely during the holidays…

*This post was initially prepared for publication on December 26.


{December 27, 2009}   Don’t get me started!

I’m ashamed to say it, Russ, but I’ve never actually seen an Almodovar film.  I know, lame, right?  In my defense, see Exhibit A; I also submit to you that since I usually watch movies and television while I’m working, subtitles are a bit distracting, so I’m really, really an ignoramus when it comes to Foreign Art Films.  Yeah, I know, cultural illiterate and all — believe me, I’ve been called worse by better.  OMG, this reminds me:  I’m rewatching Deadwood right now, thanks to a very thoughtful birthday gift from Pajamas, and it is so, so, so good — even better the second time because I have a slightly better understanding of the plot and can enjoy the amazing language more fully.  So I know that you’ve got NO TIME but maybe you can put that on your list, too?

No?

Fine.

So back to Almodovar.  Isn’t he supposed to be the guy who really loves and understands women?  Doesn’t, like, everybody say that?  Again, I can’t comment with any authority, since I base all my opinions these days on criticism, rather than on actual works of art or literature or whatever.  But hey, here’s my question for the (Boxing) day, Russ:  have YOU ever seen an Almodovar film?  Just asking.  What about you, Gentle Reader (especially Ty)?  What do you think?  Almodovar:  grody European misogynist or genius poet of the feminine experience?

None of this digression should suggest that I don’t share your opinion on the hideousness of Nine, which is just a big WTF all around.  I appreciate clever stunt casting as much as the next fellow, and I swear to you that no one loves the game of “Who would play the part of…?” more than I do, although, let’s face it, it’s never, ever clever to cast Kate Hudson in anything.  Moreover, I have more than an appreciation (an awe-struck reverence, perhaps?) for the casting of Fergie as La Saraghina, which is hilarious and great, given that sort of coarse, over-the-top, weirdly repellent sex appeal she has.  BUT.  On the other hand, even the inspired Fergie-casting is kind of a sad reflection on the state of Hollywood, isn’t it?  Like, they had to put someone whose yuckiness flies under the radar in that part, because you can’t actually put a woman on film who isn’t some ingenue/android, unless it’s in one of this lady’s films — and don’t even get me started on all the reviews that are saying it’s so refreshing to see a real middle-aged woman on film who hasn’t gone under the knife a million times, when she’s FRAKKING MERYL STREEP.  Seriously, MERYL STREEP‘s movie-star face = gritty realism now?

Um, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, why don’t I remember going to see Natural Born Killers with you?  I totally believe that you hated it; I hated it, too (Pajamas actually liked it!  Don’t get me started!).  Nevertheless, I congratulate you on your prescience, even though I’ll have to take your word for it.  As for me, I haven’t followed the whole blog controversy too closely because it is LAME AND DEPRESSING.  Stupid lefties.  We don’t deserve to win.

How was your 25th?  How was the Chipmunks movie?  My Christmas was little bit

and a little bit

Happy Boxing Day, dude!



{December 24, 2009}   Schadenfreude goes to the movies

Dave, nothing could please me more right now — except maybe a free, round-trip ticket to the Deli — than this movie Nine being greeted like the piece of crap it is.  I mean, seriously, we’re almost out of the aughts, and we still have to put up with Latin-lover-mythologizing, misogyny-as-art bullshit being marketed to us as if we have the brains of big dumb people.

I mean, I thought only the French (and Almodovar… oh, and Bertolucci) were allowed to put out movies in which women stripping down passes for a thinking person’s entertainment… How could somebody see this movie idea and give it the greenlight??!!!??

Oh, and as you’ll notice, all the usual culprits are involved, Penelope “People get off knowing that I’m dumb as a brick and every character I play is dumb as a brick — but with an accent which makes it alright” Cruz; Nicole “I was in that Kubrick movie in which I emoted way too much” Kidman’; and, worst of all, Anthony “Can you make your characters die already — oh, and Juliet Binoche sucks, as does Kristin Scott Thomas” Minghella.

Now, I know, Dave, you have a personal axe to grind with Audrey Tautou (as do I, btw)… but she should at least be temporarily exonerated for not having anything to do with this flick.

Obviously, I exempt Marion Cotillard and Fergie from my opprobrium. The former due to her being awesome, the latter, because she taught me how to spell.

But back to why Nine is so appalling.  I think it may have something to do with Any Vow-bag European nostalgia.  Whaddya think Russ, will there be a time in the near future when our culture moves past our massive Jones for European accents, Robert Brassai and 1960s infantilism? In any case, I think this about sums it up:

Stacy Ferguson, known to pop-music fans as Fergie, is Saraghina, the village prostitute who provides the boy Guido with a glimpse of forbidden pleasures. Nice for him. The rest of us watch Ms. Ferguson stomp and gyrate through a number called “Be Italian,” which, like so much else in “Nine,” resembles a spread in a Victoria’s Secret catalog, only less tasteful. Ms. Hudson, for her part, struts through an embarrassing hymn to “Cinema Italiano” — with inane lyrics about “hip coffee bars” and Guido’s “neo-realism” — that recalls not Visconti or Antonioni (or even the Italian sex farces of the 1970s) but rather those lubricious Berlusconi-esque variety shows that baffle and titillate visitors from other countries who turn on their hotel-room television sets.

Right on!

On another, related note:  Do you remember when we went to see Natural Born Killers, Dave?  Do you remember that I hated it and thought it was stupid?  I like to think I have had some measure of vindication in the past few days.



{December 23, 2009}   Resentful… Put down… but Back!

OK, they don’t make this physiognomy thing for lightweights!

As you know, Dave, this past month and a half, I have been trying to muddle through some problems of an intellectual, smarty-pants nature.  Somehow, that had nothing to do with this blog.  And let me tell you somethin’… Over that kind of time, a guy can build up a lot of hatred and simmering resentment.

Well world, this is to tell y’all that I’m about to bust loose with some major hate bombs — oh yeah, and maybe some kudos, too.



{December 19, 2009}   You know what I hate?

Yeah, Russ, I’m with you:  this whole Senate thing is making me crazy.  I hate the Nelsons, I hate the Liebermans, I hate the Snowes and — uh oh, here it comes — I HATE HOWARD DEAN.  What makes stupid centrists think that it’s anything other than morally abhorrent to hold the process hostage to their vanity, and what makes stupid lefties think that some magical single-payer opportunity is going to pop up any time soon, when our country has been attempting and failing to deal with this health-care clusterfrak for decades (a century, by some reckoning)?

Really, the term “centrist” is pretty useless, no?  Included under that umbrella term are both the pragmatists (the “can’t we all just get along?” people)- and the contrarians (the “pox on both your houses” people) — and while both those groups are referred to as centrists, they don’t actually have so much in common, do they?  I say this because, as a relatively moderate leftie of the former persuasion, I want to KILL EVERYONE of the latter persuasion, some of whom are the totally leotarded swing-voter types that I still have trouble believing actually exist — onnly they do exist, because without them, our national elections wouldn’t be such a nightmare, right?

And while I’m on the cranky, ranty warpath:  what about Christmas?

I’m getting Footie Pajamas a real Lionel train set this year (Ages 8 and up?  Pshaw!  That’s just The Man trying to keep us down!) — so that’s rad, but the rest of it is kinda bollocks.  I feel like I can’t, in good conscience, file Christmas Cheer under Taking the Joke Too Far, especially when there are kids involved, because while I’m kind of an asshole, I’m not that big an asshole.  Plus, I have to be careful not to cede too much ground to Big Pajamas, who would probably avoid all ritualized celebrations if he had his druthers.  And yet.  And yet.  I had this idea that it would be magical fun again when I had a child to surprise with amazing, longed-for presents, but right now it mostly feels like one more thing I gotta do, you know?

What DO I like, you ask?  I’ll tell you, Russ (just in case you haven’t been able to guess by taking a quick look at our new decorating scheme around here).  I like the first snowstorm of the year.  Happy Hanukkah, my friend, and good luck finishing your phrenology paper.  I look forward to oodles of bloggy X-mas cheer from you next week.



{December 17, 2009}   Jed Bartlett FTW!!!!!!

Minimum Security
Dave, if you’re like me, you’re absolutely sick and tired of this HRC process.  Like WHEN THE HELL is it ever gonna end?  And, what’s up with Nate Silver?

By the way, I don’t think a bill with a public option would constitute fundamental reform either — it would be better, but it’s still tinkering around the edges of a flawed system.

I can’t believe that punk.  He should go back to collecting baseball cards. I mean, seriously, Nate Silver?!?!  Nate Silver can go Serve The Fiery Undertaker!!!!!!!!!! This massive give-away to his pals in Big Pharma and our Feudal Overlords Aetna and Cigna is going to be wrapped around Obama’s neck in 2012!!!!! I hope he’s already making his early retirement plans with Joe Liebensraum and Rahm The-Man-Who-Drools. I am sick — sick — of getting sold-out by…  centrist fat cats!!!!!!!!!! JED BARTLETT was the BEST PRESIDENT EVER!!!!! If he were still president, he would have known how to twist Olympia Snowe’s and Ben Nelson’s arms to get them to sign in blood for a frickin’ PUBLIC OPTION.



{December 8, 2009}   Absolutely fabulous.

I know, I know.  I’ve been terrible.  Not as bad as Russ, but still terrible.

Sorry.

I have a good excuse for my terribleness, though, and it’s this:  I went down to Miami for the art fair madness this last weekend.  Now, I know that scene is supposed to be glamorous and all (Campari!  Lavazza!  Lufthansa!) but for me, it resembled nothing so much as the seventh grade.  Lots of 1) standing around hoping someone would notice me 2) diligently (if awkwardly) attempting to participate in social rituals that I only dimly understood and 3) spending way too much time spent getting from one place to another (Miami seems a bit like L.A. in that respect).  And as if the adolescent-like awkwardness weren’t enough — well, let’s just say I’m pretty sure an incessant hacking cough is NOT GLAMOROUS, even if you are wearing a dress from Barney’s.

None of this is making sense to you, Russ?  Well, I should probably explain what this whole scene is about.  It all started back in the boom days with this fair called Art Basel.  The original was actually held in Basel, Switzerland, but then they added a companion fair in Miami Beach, and that turned out to be bigger than the original fair.  Are you with me so far?  Then, all these other fairs cropped up around Art Basel, turning the whole town of Miami into a crazy art zoo every December.  Essentially, they’re just like craft shows, or flea markets or whatever — galleries apply for a fair, and if they get accepted, they get a little booth in a maze of other booths in a big warehouse-y kind of space.  Then everyone stands around and hopes that rich people will come in and buy stuff.  This actually used to happen — rich people would walk up to a $5000 or $10,000 or $100,000 or $1,000,000 work of art and say, “I’ll take it,” and the gallerist would take it down and bubble wrap it.  No, seriously.

So my gallery had its own little booth at one of those fairs, and I went down to work it.

The “I’ll take it” scenario doesn’t occur so much any more, and it certainly didn’t happen for me this last weekend.  So, on some level, the whole event turned out to be one of one of those, hmm, what do you call them?  Oh, yes —

.

Still, it’s probably good that I went.  Actually, I got the feeling that my gallery wanted me to come down there for my own education as much as for any use I might be in helping promote the work.  That’s what I’m telling myself, at least, because I really could not have been any less helpful than I was.  Nervous fidgeting and pacing?  Check.  Transparently crestfallen face when anyone left the booth without giving my work a good look?  Check.  Uncontrollable, gagging, crying, red-faced coughing fits?

Check (I have a miserable cold).

I did get to go to a party that had a velvet rope line for the first time in my life, which was sort of exciting.  On the other hand, it kinda sucked, because it was sponsored by Campari so there were endless free Campari drinks and you had to pay for anything else.  And of course, who wants to pay for drinks when you can get them for free, even if you start to feel a little ill from all the sickly sweetness?  I am pretty sure I was the only person who actually liked Campari at the party, and even I was a little grossed out after a while.  Also, they didn’t have any food, which doesn’t make Lufthansa look so great, does it?  I mean, do you really want all those glamorous people (plus the red-faced lady coughing her guts out in the corner) to associate your airline with feeling hungry and cranky?

The biggest bright spot of the weekend?  Two women stopped me and asked if I was Loretta Lux.  Were they crazy?  Obviously.  But I’ll take what I can get.



et cetera