If you thought JCPenney was having problems at the top — or if pressure cookers were posing problems for the tea-kettle industry — look no further than 405 freeway near Culver City in Southern California, where an innocent stainless steel pot is drawing comparisons to perhaps the least innocent person of all time, spigot salute and all.”
Speaking of Mad Men, I liked Forrest Wickman’s Chevy-is-Vietnam reading of last week’s strange, Dr. Feelgood-enhanced episode. That being said, the agency is starting to lose me — Don’s been spinning his wheels all season, and while it may be true-to-life, it’s not all that compelling to watch the main character become ever more repugnant and self-pitying while making the same mistakes, over and over and over again. (With that in mind, it’s become especially clear this season that Matt Weiner cut his teeth on The Sopranos.)
Also, nothing on the show is dumber or more show-stopping than 30′s whorehouse Dick Whitman. Every time we flash back to that ridiculous thicket of hyper-Freudian backstory, I’m reminded of nothing so much as Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.
“‘We’ve come up against an unforeseen circumstance…’ said majority leader and Budget Committee chaircat Sen. Creamsicle (D-ND), stretching out to his entire length and repeatedly kneading the chamber carpet. ‘I think I speak for most of my colleagues when I say that, while it is extremely important we continue the legislative work at hand, we must first give this warm and bright beam of light the due consideration it deserves.’”
Well, now nothing’s getting done. From a few years ago, Cat Congress Mired in Sunbeam. “Our lawmakers were elected to serve the common cat, not their own self-interests,” Big Stripey said. “With over 6 percent of the population stray, millions more going hungry or only getting dry food, and the dogs next door developing a very real litter of puppies, we need action now for the sake of our kittens and our kittens’ kittens.”
Or for a longer but equally goofy answer, see Louis Menand in The New Yorker, circa 2002: “The Cat in the Hat was a Cold War invention. His value as an analyst of the psychology of his time…is readily appreciated: transgression and hypocrisy are the principal themes of his little story. But he also stands in an intimate and paradoxical relation to national-security policy. He was both its creature and its nemesis — the unraveller of the very culture that produced him and that made him a star.”
“I’m a HUGE fan of Arrested Development. Once I heard that each episode in the new season was going to focus on a different character, I thought it would be fun to create a series of art doing the same.” In anticipation of Season 4, artist Josh Cox creates a series of Arrested Development throwback album covers. I probably would’ve more explicitly riffed off this for the above one.
“Sources indicated that upon seeing the balloon disappear behind a line of trees, Tremont began to grapple for the first time with the same feelings of irreversible loss and guilt that will eventually prevent him from enjoying activities he once loved and cause him to become utterly despondent in the face of a seemingly hostile world.”
In the Moment of Zen department, a geriatric sea otter takes up basketball. Nice inside moves — and I don’t want to be a jerk about this — but given the way the game has evolved, Eddie probably needs to work a little harder on his midrange jumper if he wants to get some run. (Also, try not to get traded to Bright Water.)
“This series is an experiment where a dictator, a psycho, a murderer (sometimes they are the whole package) or even a suspicious figure from real life is mashed with a comics bad guy – strangely related some way or the other with his counterpart.” Brazilian artist Butcher Billy’s Legion of Doom, by way of Normative.
“Basically, Django Unchained is a B movie. A damn fine B movie, but still a B movie…Despite its slavery setting, Django Unchained isn’t an exploration of the subject. It offers no critical insights into the circumstances, no nuances exploring the political realities (as Lincoln does). In the end, slavery is a prop to excite audience emotion and motivate the action.”
“You don’t snuggle Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris snuggles you. Hard. Like a superhero. If superheros liked snuggles (which they do, but only Chuck Norris is man enough to admit it). Chuck Norris’ foster mom once threw a tennis ball for him, and he brought back three tennis balls. Chuck Norris eats raw hides made from velociraptors in his spare time.”
The world’s coolest hound (and no, I’m not talking about any old affenpinscher) is not on the market. But if you’re looking for a canine companion, you could probably do worse than Chuck Norris. “Chuck Norris understands and approves of occasionally hanging out in a crate to protect the rest of the world from the power of his amazing…Chuck Norris invented the army crawl. Chuck Norris can win a game of connect four in three moves.”
By way of my friend Alex of Tropics of Meta, the people in movies losing their s**t supercut, including everything from Charles Foster Kane’s slow burn to Jerry Lundegaard’s impotent ice-scraping rage from Fargo. NSFW if you don’t have earplugs, and highly cathartic if/when you find yourself of similar mind — which, this year, has been all too often.
It’s safe to say that I haven’t been in a happy place much this year, so all the more reason why I’m glad I finally stumbled on Louie. Most of the world is familiar with Louis CK’s schtick by now, but basically he’s a sad-sack Woody Allen with a serious vulgarian streak, or Larry David if he was much filthier, more capable of empathy, and more resigned to his fate. As Alan Sepinwall put it, “it’s either the saddest funny show I’ve ever seen or the funniest sad show.” There’s definitely darkness in the Comedy Cellar — Highly recommended. (FWIW, I’m only caught up through the first two seasons.)
Digby a few posts down was the second-funniest thing I saw this week, but this made me laugh and laugh. The spontaneous smiles and laughter of the majority of folks on the other end is totally infectious and people-affirming, with special props for the good-natured guys at 0:28, 2:16, and 2:25 and the instantly crushworthy Ms. 0:44. Well-played, Steve Kardynal, well-played.
“‘Quite frankly, his behavior is abhorrent,’ said Gardner, who emphasized that Digby does nothing to provide for the Chambers family, subsisting entirely on free handouts. ‘This asshole’s chowing down like he’s in a pie-eating contest. Meanwhile, the nation’s credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in history, and everyone’s fucking job is moving overseas. And he does know we’re fighting a war, too, right? Unbelievable.’“
My favorite Onion piece in a few moons: Pet Eating Like Country Isn’t In Goddamn Recession. “According to reports, the 5-year-old labrador appears callously unswayed by the constant stream of gloomy market forecasts and instead demands greater and greater supplies of dog food, to the point where he must think the Dow Jones industrial average is soaring through the fucking roof or something.“
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther, jump ever higher, collect all the coins… Hey, wait a tic…The Great Gatsby Nintendo game. Once again, he’s playing with power.
“Since these petitions are ignored apart from an occasional patronizing and inane political statement amounting to nothing more than a condescending pat on the head, we the signers would enjoy having the illusion of success.” Democracy in action! A petition on We the People demands a vapid, condescending, meaningless, politically safe response. “Since no other outcome to this process seems possible, we demand that the White House immediately assign a junior staffer to compose a tame and vapid response to this petition, and never attempt to take any meaningful action on this or any other issue. We would also like a cookie.“
In related Game of Thrones fun, see also: Stupid Ned Stark and One and a Half Man, the buddy-movie version of the story. As an aside, I think I’m going to continue into Season 2 without reading the books (or without reading past the first book, at any rate.) As someone who’s usually entering into these sorts of genre properties with full knowledge of the backstory and reams of preconceived expectations, it feels mighty strange to be on the other side of the fanboy/general audience divide for once, and I think I kinda like it.
“‘This is a true team,’ Carlisle said. ‘This is an old bunch. We don’t run fast or jump high. These guys had each other’s backs. We played the right way. We trusted the pass. This is a phenomenal thing for the city of Dallas.’“
As for my picking Dallas to lose in the first round to Portland, clearly I never factored for (1) Dirk being even more unbelievable than usual, (2) Tyson Chandler giving Dallas a legitimate defensive anchor, (3) J.J. Barea weirdly slicing through the Heat D at will, (4) Jason Terry actually hitting a lot of the ill-advised shots he puts up, and (5) LeBron disappearing once again in the clutch. In the end, it’s starting to seem like the Knicks dodged a bullet last summer, and no mistake.
“Children with asthma suffer from more than constricted airways. Indeed, the real problem with asthma isn’t a mere inability to breathe: it’s the taunting, berating, mockery, and abuse that so often accompanies this infirmity. Asthmatic kids are mocked, roughed up, chosen last for team sports, deprived of medication, and otherwise forced to bear more than their fair share of childhood’s intrinsic difficulties.“
Coal Cares. Come for the free inhaler — dibs on the Batman one — stay for the truth about alternative energy. “Sustainable, long-term government programs mean safety for all investors. Investing in coal will always be a smart move, especially with well-supported, long-term government subsidies driving down costs, and a near-complete absence of subsidies for so-called “alternative” energies.”
Stories We Tell (4/10) Star Trek: Into Khan (4/10) The Great Gatsby (7.5/10) Iron Man 3 (8.5/10) Oblivion (6.5/10) To the Wonder (3/10) Side Effects (6/10) West of Memphis (7/10) GitM BEST OF 2012 GitM Review Archive
Hidden Cities, Moses Gates
What It Takes, Richard Ben Cramer Founding Finance, William Hogeland Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes Last Chance to See, Douglas Adams The Forever War, Joe Haldeman Uphill all the Way, Kevin Murphy