Friday, April 29, 2011

Don Cherry: Making Acid Trips Look Mundane Since 1934.

A touch of Spuds MacKenzie is the perfect
accessory for the sophisticated gentleman.

Not much commentary is necessary here, as the jackets worn by Canadian hockey commentator Don Cherry tend to speak far more loudly than we ever could. Be forewarned, though: do not look directly at the jacket. We repeat, for those of you who lack the ability to go back and re-read previous sentences, do not look directly at the jacket.

At first glance, we thought this was a
Canadian-flag pattern, but that
would be tacky.

Every time Chery wears this jacket on TV,
Pepto-Bismol owes him a nickel.

Damn it, we told you not to look
directly at the jacket.

The best part of this jacket is that it
genuinely qualifies as subtle.

In a moment, Cherry will wave his arms
to signal victory at the Indianapolis 500.

You looked straight at the jacket again,
didn’t you?

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do.

If you cross your eyes just right, you’ll 
see the Statue of Liberty.

Several of Don Cherry’s outfits follow
a holiday theme. Here he commemorates
Chinese New Year.

It’s good to see that he paid attention to
this jacket’s warning about proper
eye protection. Safety first, kids.

Cherry saves his more subtle ensembles
for weddings and funerals.

We will refrain from describing what this
jacket looks, but it does make us wish
we’d taken some Pepto-Bismol a few
hours ago.

Special thanks to the good folks at Don We Now Our Gay Apparel for unwittingly supplying us with most of the images above.We swear we didn’t alter them even the slightest in Photoshop.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama's "Real" Birth Certificate Fails to Prove that Hawai'i Isn't in Kenya

Skeptics also note that the “Birth Certificate” fails to include any traditional form of identification such as a driver’s license, credit card or ATM card, DNA map, retinal scan, or stool sample.

In a disappointing but perhaps inevitable concession to the deafening jabbering of some of the most batshit crazy people in our nation’s history,1 President Barack Obama released his long-demanded long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011, adding another layer to the colossal mountain of evidence in support of the well-established fact that he was, in fact, born in the United States of America, just as he and the handful of sensible people left in the country—Democrat, Republican, and miscellaneous—have maintained all along.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, in a stunning display of gall that would be hilarious to imagine but an embarrassment because it actually happened, succeeded in distorting his perception of reality to the point where he was actually willing to blame Obama for the distraction this non-issue has caused:
“The president ought to spend his time getting serious about repairing our economy,” Priebus said. “Unfortunately his campaign politics and talk about birth certificates is distracting him from our number one priority—our economy.”2

The good news, though, is that now that Obama has finally decided, once and for all, to stop accusing himself of being born in Kenya despite all the common sense and evidence to the contrary, hassling himself for answers to questions that he shouldn’t have been silly enough to raise in the first place, and interrupting reasonable discussions with his half-baked nonsense about conspiracies, he can get down to finding answers to the real questions at hand.

Those real questions are, of course (1) how could Obama possibly have known, forty-six years before his election, that his future presidency would depend on creating a perfect forgery of both the official birth certificate and the long-form version, and (2) how could he have not only produced such a document but also managed to infiltrate the Hawaiian government offices where such records are kept and insert the birth certificate(s) and all the necessary ancillary paperwork without being undetected, just a few days after he was born? What kind of superhuman infant was he?

The fact of the matter is that those birth certificates and records are there, plain to see, and are indistinguishable in every possible way from real ones—so he obviously pulled it off somehow. But before you start going on about how such Machiavellian scheming, complex motor skills, and mastery of language, government paper stocks, and ink mixture are rare even among children born to supervillains with giant, pulsating brains, you should consider the far more reasonable option: obviously, the current-day Barack Obama simply has access to a time machine, and he traveled back to 1961 and explained these convoluted plans to his younger self in a language that only he and others from his home planet would be able to comprehend.

Honestly, use your heads, people. It’s so simple, a child could have figured it out. Especially one with a giant, pulsating brain. Private citizens had access to time-travel technology as early as 1985; a sitting President could easily have gotten his hands on it.

When this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour, you’re
going to see some serious shit.

1. To be fair, not everyone that wondered about Obama’s birthplace is necessarily batshit crazy. It’s quite possible that a great many of them were sane, but too intellectually lazy to do the very few minutes’ worth of online research required to throw plenty of light on the fact that the claims put forth by birthers have been uniformly ludicrous. Really, we’re trying to be serious here. We know several decent, reasonable people who had their doubts about Obama’s citizenship—friends, some of them, although they might have changed their minds after reading this—and still others who joked about it but, we suspect, didn’t actually buy it . . . and yet we still have no idea how this line of thought is possible in a reasonable person.
2. “Obama releases birth form, decries ‘silliness,’Denver Post, April 27, 2011.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pavel Datsyuk Grows Weary of these Pitiful, Tiresome Humans

Pavel Datsyuk.
Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, having learned long ago to conceal the powers granted to him by our warm yellow sun, walks on most days among mere humans as if he were truly one of them. Standing just under six feet tall and weighing less than 200 pounds, he is physically unremarkable, his only unusual characteristic being a head that can, from certain angles, look a little bit like a guitar pick and/or a younger, better-hydrated Willem Dafoe.

It is only on the hockey rink that Datsyuk’s superhuman nature becomes apparent. Much like Superman or Spider-Man, Datsyuk’s escapades are witnessed by many, but recorded by posterity by only a few.1

Not Pavel Datsyuk.
Occasionally the mysterious Russian tires of pretending, and does his level best to make folks look stupid. He succeeds with cruel regularity. Granted, the man being consistently humiliated by Datsyuk in the clip below—Fox Sports Network reporter Trevor Thompson—is almost certainly not an NHL-caliber hockey player. But judging by his stance, footwork, mobility, and the puck-control skills he exhibited in the 0.08 seconds in which he actually has the puck, it seems likely that he’s played hockey at what your local beer-league player would consider a very high level—possibly juniors or college. So it’s not like Datsyuk is embarrassing somebody with no knowledge of the sport, such as certain Denver Post columnists or Gary Bettman.2

Nevertheless, the following footage is disturbing. Please watch it with caution. We can only assume that Thompson’s occasional utterances are sobs of shame:

Datsyuk does more than just make television hosts look silly. The following clip comes from an April 16, 2011 Stanley Cup playoff game against a real live professional hockey team.3

For those of you unfamiliar with hockey, it’s very rare to see a player attempt to shoot the puck with his stick between his legs in a real game because, well, it’s sort of ridiculous. One might occasionally see it from a player who’s screwing around—working on dazzling but impractical trick plays in practice, participating in an exhibition such as the NHL’s All-Star Skills Competition, goofing off, or trying to relieve the boredom of  being stuck in a league well below an appropriately challenging skill level. The latter appears to be the case with Datsyuk, who has managed to put this particular kind of shot on net before:

He’s mean to goaltenders too:

For those of you unfamiliar with physics, we’re not convinced that the above is actually possible. Yet there it is.

Skills like Datsyuk’s are what make hockey fun to watch, and what makes this time of the year the happiest in an NHL fan’s year. We hope that the other six dozen hockey fans in this country appreciate his skills as much as we do, and we can only hope that, should one of Datsyuk’s miraculous moves succeed at curing cancer, the sport might actually get some attention over at ESPN.

1. It’s been suggested that Datsyuk is no other than mild-mannered photographer Peter Parker of the Daily Bugle. It is true that the two have, in fact, never been seen side-by-side.
2. The joke, here, for those of you who don’t follow hockey, is that Gary Bettman is the commissioner of the National Hockey League.
3. Technically, the Phoenix Coyotes are, in fact, still a professional hockey team. We had to look this up to make sure.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trump Considers Republican Presidential Bid; Democrats Wet Pants with Glee


Real estate mogul Donald Trump continues to act like, or at least mimic the words of, a man gearing up for a presidential campaign. While he continues to play coy about his actual intentions, he has insinuated in recent interviews that he is inclined to run as a Republican, but, if he runs and fails to win that party’s nomination, he may consider running as an independent.

Trump, if he has a passing familiarity with American history, will be aware that almost exactly one hundred years ago Theodore Roosevelt broke from the Republican Party, watched the Progressive Party (or Bull Moose Party, courtesy of a choice phrase from the eminently quotable Roosevelt himself) spring up around him, and ran for president as its nominee. While Roosevelt lost the 1912 election to Woodrow Wilson, the fractured Republican Party and its ineffectual incumbent, William Howard Taft, lost to both. To this day, Theodore Roosevelt remains the only third-party presidential candidate in American history to defeat one of the two major parties in either electoral or overall votes (having finished second in both).

It’s quite possible that Trump, in a perfectly believable avalanche of high self-esteem, sees himself as a sort of twenty-first century incarnation of Roosevelt, a visionary maverick willing to buck the system to bring the country what it needs: namely, Donald Trump. To be sure, the similarities between Trump and Roosevelt—centuries apart in our minds, but not in our hearts—are hard to avoid:

ROOSEVELT: spent decades of his life as a civil servant, first as a New York state assemblyman, then later as New York City Police Commissioner; he spent just shy of a year as Vice President of the United States, and then seven-plus years as President. On top of that, before his presidency he served in not one but two branches of the U.S. military, first as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, later resigning from that post to serve in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War.

TRUMP: builds hotels and casinos, several of which have failed to go bankrupt.

ROOSEVELT: grew up as an easterner but lived as a rancher and a hunter, coming to love and admire and even eventually embody the spirit of the American West; was an accomplished naturalist with an ear for birdsong; published nearly three dozen books on military history, ornithology, biography, political commentary, and American history; had enormous personal charisma that often left even his political rivals disarmed, touched, and filled with reluctant admiration; and possessed an astounding breadth and depth of knowledge that would have qualified him as an expert in half a dozen wide-ranging fields.

TRUMP: has his own reality TV show, where he seems to be playing an unconvincing caricature of himself.1

ROOSEVELT: won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1906, back when actual accomplishments, rather than anticipated accomplishments, were required for that sort of thing.
TRUMP: in 2004 filed a trademark application for the words “You’re fired,” just in case there was money to be made from other people losing their jobs.

Roosevelt’s and Trump’s own words also help to highlight the stunning similarities in their characters and the quality of their thought processes:
“Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet—there is where the bullet went through—and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.”2
—Theodore Roosevelt, 1912
“I’m a really smart guy. I was a really good student at the best school in the country.”  
—Donald Trump, 2011

Trump has claimed to be concerned that American has become “the laughingstock and whipping post for the rest of the world.” At almost exactly the same time, however—and with no apparent understanding of irony—he has flung himself willingly onto the birther bandwagon, questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship in a shameless appeal to the nation’s craziest common denominator.

It is unclear whether Trump is aware of the yawning disconnect between his concern for America’s reputation and his endorsement of one of the stupidest conspiracy theories in its history. It’s hard to say whether it’s occurred to him that a blowhard television personality with no political experience may not be the best way for the nation to turn the corner on that whole “laughingstock” thing. What should be fairly obvious—not to mention disappointing and depressing—to the rest of us is the yawning gulf between what gets called a presidential candidate in 2011, and what qualified just one hundred short years ago.

1. Other folks with television shows: the Thundercats, the Smurfs, the Transformers, and any number of other cartoonish boobs with political experience similar to Trump’s. It’s to their credit, though, that they were not part of a reality show. Frankly, we’d also probably prefer President Snarf to President Trump.
2. The famously verbose Roosevelt spoke for approximately ninety minutes—a rather long time by the standards of the stunted modern attention span; rather longer yet when you consider that he had a fucking bullet in his chest.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Imaginary Author Writes Actual Bestseller

Novelist Richard Castle’s latest two books—Heat Wave, published in September 2009, and Naked Heat, published in September 2010—were met with favorable reviews and good sales, both of them hitting the New York Times, Barnes & Noble, and bestseller lists. Anticipation is building for Castle’s third novel, Heat Rises, due in autumn 2011.1

Rick Castle, as portrayed
by Canadian actor
Malcolm “Nathan Fillion”
Millions of authors struggle to find publishers,2 and tens of thousands of published authors struggle to find an audience. To have come from absolutely nowhere just two short years ago and have not just one bestseller but two is quite an accomplishment for any author.

It’s even more impressive an accomplishment in this case, though, given that Richard Castle doesn’t actually exist.3 He’s a television character.

ABC’s Richard Castle has killed off Derrick Storm, the main character in his bestselling series of crime novels. Struggling with writers’s block, he uses his connections with the mayor—connections being a convenient benefit of being both famous and fictional—to get permission to shadow a New York Police Department homicide detective in the hopes of finding real-life inspiration.4

Rick Castle in real life.
That detective, Kate Beckett, spurs not only Castle’s creativity but also his libido: Beckett is very attractive and a secret admirer of Castle’s work—yet another way Castle benefits from being somebody else’s invention—but is also irritated by both his often-childish attitude and his surprising but off-kilter insight into cases. Their interactions borrow heavily but deftly from, among other things, the Moonlighting School of Character Interaction often described as “contempt breeds familiarity.” It’s only a matter of time before these two characters get together, and it remains to be seen only whether this will happen too early, a la Moonlighting, or far too late and much too off-screen, a la The X-Files.

While the timing and mechanics of Castle and Beckett’s unpredictable but inevitable naked collision may interest the casual viewer, we remain somewhat hung up on the non-author’s real-world literary success. We’re not angry, although we admit that we do empathize with those genuinely talented writers who toil in obscurity and even (sometimes self-imposed) anonymity while figments of others’ imaginations not only appear in New York Times bestsellers but now actively write them.

What truly troubles us is that it’s not only real writers that should be upset about Castle’s success. After twelve years on the air, Murder, She Wrote’s redoubtable Jessica Fletcher has published nearly forty novels, but suffers the shame of having to share writing credit with Donald Bain, the co-author whose paltry contributions to their collaboration are (a) writing the books and (b) existing in the first place. Fletcher herself presumably is forced to split the royalties with Bain, and is left to scrape out a meager existence among the heaps of corpses in sleepy Cabot Cove, murder capital of the modern world.5

Worse yet is the plight of Magnum P.I.’s Robin Masters. In early seasons, Masters (voiced by Orson Welles, but never seen in full) is depicted as a jetsetting, seldom-seen multimillionaire novelist on whose Hawai’i estate Magnum works as head of security. By the end of the series, though, Magnum has begun to suspect that his friend and occasional irritant Jonathan Quayle Higgins (also an estate employee) is the actual author of Masters’s novels, but that Higgins, believing them to be pulpy, ludicrous, and beneath his reputation as a serious memoirist, created the “Robin Masters” pen name and then hired an actor to portray Masters in a complex and expensive cover-up of the mundane and embarrassing truth.

Given that Jonathan Higgins is no more real than Richard Castle, Robin Masters therefore lives with the double indignity of not only having failed to write a single word ever published in the real world, but also—and more importantly—being a figment of the imagination of a man who was, himself, a figment of somebody’s imagination.

Rumor has it that Masters took this pretty hard for a while, but he’s feeling better now after some good long talks with his longtime friend Harvey.

1.  We’re thankful that the title of the third book has strayed somewhat from Naked Heat’s “naughty double entendre” vibe. Continuing along the same ever-dirtier lines would have eventually resulted in the ultimate octuple-ententre of In Heat, which we suspect would be a bit too crass for much of Castle’s readership.
2. There’s often a very good reason for this: millions of unpublished authors are terrible, terrible writers. You don’t have to suck at writing to become an unpublished author, but it certainly does help.
3. Yes, we really did mean “absolutely nowhere.”
4. By “real-life,” we of course mean “not even remotely like real-life.”
5. According to the New York Times, in the twelve years of Murder She Wrote’s run, the number of murders in Cabot Cove, population 3,560, represented approximately 2% of its population.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rock n' Roll Trivia. Brought to you by Scotland.

“Hair of the Dog,” probably the most enduring song by Scottish rock band Nazareth, is one of that intriguing minority of rock tunes in which the song’s title is not mentioned anywhere in its lyrics. And unlike (for example) Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Faith No More’s “Epic,” or Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”—for which the songs’ titles can be seen as describing either their style or themes—the phrase hair of the dog seems to be completely unrelated to its song, which depicts a man confronting and challenging a manipulative woman, telling her that she’s met her match.

Adding to the muddle is the fact that the phrase hair of the dog has a colloquial meaning, one that is also totally unrelated to the Nazareth song. Most everyone who has awakened to a crippling hangover after a night of alcoholic excess has thought—assuming the simple act of thinking isn’t unbearably painful—of taking a bit of the hair of the dog that bit them.”

Novice drinkers or those unfamiliar with English-language slang will be relieved to learn that taking the hair of the dog that bit them does not necessarily involve being bitten by an actual dog—although it could be argued that a properly executed bender would, in fact, greatly increase one’s odds of being bitten by any number of species, most of them unsanitary.
“First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink,
then the drink bites the man and poops on the rug.”
We’re pretty sure that’s how the old saying goes.

Furthermore, hair of the dog does not involve mixing actual dog hair—or, God forbid, any other dog parts—into one’s drink. It’s fair to point out, though, that your average drunk is generally willing to eat or drink all sorts of awful things that a sane and sober person would never consider: dog food, dog hair, mat shots, bottles of Tabasco sauce, J├Ągermeister—the list is practically endless—and if you’ve managed to convince yourself that a tall glass of dog hair will make you feel less hung over, we won’t stop you unless you’re standing on our carpet at the time. 

No, to take the hair of the dog, in a drinking context, simply means to try to cure a hangover by getting right back up on that vomit-colored horse and starting to drink again.

To the non-drinker, this seems counter-intuitive and nauseating, even borderline crazy, not to mention likely to spiral into ever-bigger problems down the road. The experienced drinker, on the other hand, knows that the best way to undo a mistake is to continue making it, again and again and again, until coming to the partially-sobering realization that shut up, I don’t have a problem, I can quit any time I want.

Any listener with a passing knowledge of the English language will find it safe to say that “Hair of the Dog”—we’re talking about the song again now—has nothing to do with hangover cures, alcoholism, hair, bites, or dogs. How, then, to explain the title?

We’re glad you asked. Back in 1975, right around the time when Nazareth was working on the album that became Hair of the Dog (which, not coincidentally, contained the song of the same name), certain parts of human society actually were troubled by naughty language. This is why recording artists had to wait more than thirty years to truly express their musical genius through insightful song titles such as “Fuck” (Bring Me the Horizon), “Fuck” (Derrick Jensen), “Fuck You” (Cee Lo Green),  “Fuck You” (Nuno Bettencourt), “Fuck You” (Dr. Dre), “If You Seek Amy” (Britney Spears—she can spell, get it?), “Motherfuckeroos” (by a band called, believe it or not, Fuck),1 “Shit” (Tall Tall Trees), “Shit?” (Whiskey Tango), and “People = Shit” (Slipknot), or band names such as Oh Shit! and Shit Robot.2

Nazareth wanted to name their album and the song Son of a Bitch—because, hey, they actually do say that in the song, quite a bit actually—but their record label didn’t like it. John Lennon could probably have gotten away with it, but Nazareth didn’t have quite the same clout, so instead they had to get clever. Hence, the title is a play on words, which is a kind of thing smart people sometimes do to convince themselves that they’re smart:
  • A son, as you may be aware, is often an heir to his parents’ fortune or land; heir, pronounced correctly, sounds kind of like hair.3
  • Bitch, as you may also be aware, is a name for a specific kind of dog.
  • So, Hair of the Dog = Son of a Bitch.
And he says son of a bitch in the song! Get it?

Ha! I get it. It spells F-U- . . .
Wait, let me start over.
We’re well aware that many of our readers had probably either learned or figured out this little bit of irrelevance long ago. We ourselves caught onto it almost immediately when it was explained to us, several weeks ago. For the rest of you, though, we hope that this has provided a small but intriguing insight into the history of rock and censorship. And for any of you who seriously believe that “If You Seek Amy” is a clever title for a song, we’re quite confident that this absolutely boggled your minds.

1. We’re guessing they bring the house down at all the junior-high dances they’re invited to play. Although the title “Motherfuckeroos” is such a bizarre combination of offensive and silly that we are forced to admit that we laughed when we first read it.
2. We suspect that they’re not very good. 
3. Pronounced incorrectly, it sounds like “tractor.”

Friday, April 1, 2011

Words that Changed the World IV

Madda tal hadda abaga dinga zah;
Haddoo baggawns adda walashaw.
Wuli buli [repeat 4x].
Madda tal hadda lada tanachaw,
Lesna beal sava, gana lanadah.
Wuli buli [repeat 4x].”