Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snooki to go elsewhere for dropping balls on NYE

My 11th grade English teacher was Mrs. Harris. Hands down one of the worst teachers I've ever had. My degree of displeasure with her was measured by the amount I was willing to pay to kick her in the head with no consequences. I believe I got up to $400.

I'm an adult now. I get paychecks (occasionally). The anger over nine months of my teenage life wasted by Mrs. Harris has cooled. I would now gladly pay up to $1000 to deliver a swift roundhouse kick upside Ms. Snooki, though someone beat me to the punch (HAAAAAA).

So it is with great relief that I learn she will not in fact be a key component of the century-old New Year's Eve tradition in Times Square. You may know I'm not a religious man, but this news has made me think better of our state of being in the universe and our ultimate destination.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Oscar Tomfoolery

And certainly not the last.

(PS I'm working hard to be the top Google match when someone searches "tomfoolery.")

Entertainment Weekly has an article up entitled Natalie Portman: Does pregnancy help her Oscar chances? In EW's defense, the first line is "Yes, I know, it’s kind of a ridiculous question." And it's not their fault that the environment surrounding these awards is so absurd that they can actually give this consideration. But they certainly don't have to report it.

In an examination of past nominees that betrays a complete ignorance of the rule "correlation does not imply causation," they figure it's pretty much a wash.

Know what should help her chances? The performances of her and the other nominees. Know what will? How many voters see the movie. How many of those voters are under 80. How many of those voters her agent stepped on at some point. How much money the producers spend on a campaign. Whether the voters should've eaten before watching the movie. The weather.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Awards Season

Everything can't be about animation and blowing up. There needs to be a place that talks about life in a real way--Halle Berry, on being nominated for her film Frankie and Alice
This is the first of at least a few posts about how much I hate movie awards. They'd be silly enough if they were only about which movie or performance was better than the others, but when you add in a dash of politics and pretension, well, *headexplode*.

Halle Berry is nominated for Best Actress in a Drama for her performance as a woman with multiple personality disorder in the film Frankie and Alice. Its plot, according to IMDb: "A drama centered on a young woman with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and not give in to her racist alter-personality." Jesus Christ. This is one casting decision away from a Martin Lawrence comedy. See, it's crazy, because she's black but sometimes she thinks she's a racist white person!

So Catwoman is saying that since her film examines "real" life, it's deserving of awards, as opposed to, say, Transformers 2 or Avatar. I have a theory that multiple personality disorder is a completely fictional disease invented for actresses to win awards. Real life? How many people do you know who have this? Have you ever met one person? Is this really any more real than alien invasions? Does it deserve more examination? Based on the Wikipedia article, you could MAYBE make an argument that up to 5% of the US population suffers from MPD. You'd be wrong, but it would be worth a try. A little research indicates that up to 14% of Americans have had some sort of UFO sighting. So really, if you want to talk about "real" life, you'd be better off making a movie about aliens than multiple personalities.

And why can't Hollywood get racism right? Crash? Are you kidding me? "Let's examine racism by showing black guys getting arrested and white women clutching their purses tightly on an elevator." Great. Searing look into the psyche of America. And a best picture winner. So another effort is a movie about a black woman who sometimes thinks she's a racist white person? Wait, that IS a fucking Chapelle Show sketch!

I think the mental patient trope has worn out its welcome pretty solidly by now (The Soloist, anyone?). We get it. If full-retards can overcome their trouble and be happy, then so can we. It's Oscar bait, and I've been hooked by that rubber worm too many times to bite it again.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Take on the 'Dilemma' Trailer Fiasco

Enough has been said about the primary complaint of the hideously unfunny, offensive gay joke in the Dilemma trailer. People more eloquent than me, with bigger dogs in the fight, have laid it out there.

I'd like to voice a secondary complaint. It certainly doesn't have as large an immediate impact as what everyone is talking about, but I think it's at least as important in the long term. The questionable line in the trailer, in referring to electric cars as "gay," is using a gross stereotype to imply that they're weak and effeminate. I believe a majority of the country would agree, and that thinking is poison.

We need electric cars. The goddamned stupid cowboy ethos of America has convinced us that we need big bulletproof wagons that can go from 0 to 60 in the span of seconds. This same thinking gave us a president who actually thought he was a cowboy and treated his eight year reign like an eight second bullride, leaving us castrated.

When was the last time it mattered how fast you could get to 60, or how much horsepower your car has?

Electric cars have been relegated to eggheads and treehuggers, as if that's a bad thing. These people, who truly understand that actions have consequences, are working to literally save our species. Ed Begley Jr.'s house is not only super-green, it practically makes money for the man. But Begley has been turned into a green punchline.

For too long the fear of seeming elitist or better than someone else has dominated public discourse. It's probably the largest single reason that Kerry lost in 2004. It is time to turn the tide against the vilification of intelligence. Electric cars are smart. Solar panels are smart. Wind turbines are smart. Questioning the real messages behind the constant assault of data to which we're subjected is smart.

If intelligence is gay, give me a rainbow flag to proudly fly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Better Late than Never: Disney World, pt. 2

Part 1.

Our second day we hit Epcot. For whatever reason, this park had come to represent Disney World as a whole to me in childhood. I knew there were futuristic displays, food from other countries, and some crazy 3D Michael Jackson thing, so suffice it to say that 10-year old me wanted to go to there.

Thirty year old me wanted to go to Mission: Space. I've wanted to ride this ever since, upon its opening, Jim Lovell (aka Tom Hanks in Apollo 13) said it's the "best, closest simulation you can get to the real thing." If I wasn't legally blind without contacts, I might have pursued astronaut training. Or, you know, not. Still, I've always been in love with space, so this ride was a huge draw for me.

Turns out two people have died after riding this. Ultimately they had pre-existing conditions that may have been aggravated by the ride, which uses centrifugal force to simulate up to 2.5 Gs during takeoff. As a result, Disney has changed a section of the ride to the "Green Team," which is the same experience but without a centrifuge. You're also subjected to about 35 warnings on the path to the Orange Team that hey, if you have any misgivings whatsoever, maybe you can try the pansy--I mean Green Team. Seriously, at the end of the Gary Sinise video, right before the doors open to start the ride, he says it's fine if you feel like leaving. After all these warnings, anything but a real rocket launch would be a little bit of a letdown. Still, a really great ride, even though my first job was engineer, which meant I had to hit a button to put everyone into hibernation for six months. Yay.

Mission: Space is located in Future World at Epcot. I loved it here. Peppy futuristic background music plays everywhere, and it would fit perfectly in a Buzz Lightyear cartoon which holy crap why haven't they made that yet. My inner nerd was running rampant. There's a 45-minute "ride" in this section called Universe of Energy, starring Ellen Degeneres and Bill Nye. Most people heard it was a 45-minute ride about energy and turned around at the door; I walked in faster. Dinosaurs! Science! Cosmology! Creationist head-exploding!

Which reminds me: side note. I've been in NYC too long, for many reasons, one of which is liberal isolationism. I'm crazy liberal, so this is mostly fine, but being in Florida and seeing billboards for actual Tea Party candidates who actual people will actually vote for was a real eye-opener. Also, a candidate nicknamed his opponent "Taliban Dan," and that's kind of awesome. This was in a commercial we saw while staying at Disney, which is more kind of awesome.

Also in Future World is Test Track, which is a fun test drive simulator with one of the most egregious cases of pre-ride long-video teasing. But at least it starred John Michael Higgins.

While exiting Future World, I noticed on a digital sign that the next Captain EO showtime was coming up. Wait, what's that? Captain EO? They're showing that again?! THEY'RE SHOWING CAPTAIN EO AGAIN?!!!! Nerdgasm.

We taped Moonwalker off of HBO or something like that when I was a kid. I almost wore out the tape. I wasn't a huge fan of Michael Jackson's hum-drum pop songs, though of course he did it better than anyone. But I always enjoyed it when he got weird. My friends all spoke fondly of Captain EO, which I just knew as some 3D movie you could see at Disney. Mark even got a copy off Ebay several years ago. I felt like a big piece was missing from my geek puzzle. Turned out I was about to put it in place!

I hadn't even considered that Michael Jackson's death might lead Disney to start showing this again, but they just did, starting on July 2nd of this year. In the theater lobby they ran a making-of video while the movie finished up for the previous audience inside. I cannot believe Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas (well, maybe Lucas) got together with Jackson to do something like this, but it's very easy to forget how much the 80s belonged to Jackson before he got bad weird. I mean, he also worked with Landis and Scorsese. In the making-of video, the glasses, haircuts, and dancers' outfits are fabulously 80s. They did a great job of hiding the star and the look of the film we were about to see.

It still holds up. Some of the stop-motion effects were a bit rough, and EO's flying companion Fuzzball never looked like he was actually there, but to a child of the 80s everything else looked perfectly in place. This is one of the many "4D" films we saw, meaning we wore 3D glasses and there were in-theater effects on top of that. Every single time this meant we would get sprayed with water at some point. EO is the story of the freedom-fighting crew of a spaceship bringing the gift of dance and music to the badass queen (played by Angelica Huston) of a garbage planet. I thought it was Michael Jackson's coolest, biggest music video, and I loved it. Towards the end, when he was laughing to the camera (and us in our silly glasses), I was taken back to a simpler time. This was Michael v3.0, or maybe v2.5, before the surgical masks and disappearing nose. The man loved doing what he did, and that joy was infectious, and we all left smiling.

The World Showcase is a circle of 11 countries around a lagoon and makes up the other half of Epcot. Every country is boiled down to its architecture, costumes, food, and merchandise. You could very easily bankrupt yourself trying to do everything here. We decided to pick just one for dinner, so we went with the Biergarten in Germany (thanks for our love of Radegast in Williamsburg). It's a pricey buffet with good beer and family-style tables. Presented with a pricey buffet, my response was "alright, I will now eat myself retarded." It's not that I'm a stereotypical American; I'm just broke and wanted to get my money's worth. I did. It was excellent, the beer was good and at NYC prices. Much meat.

But that all came later. This day, touring the world, we started with Canada (first mistaken as England; sorry Katie) and went counterclockwise. The sky was getting darker. Something ominous stretched from horizon to horizon, and the wind was picking up. By the time we got to France, people were essentially running and screaming from the wind in that weird greenish tornado-light. Presented with the predicament of seeking shelter in completely fake buildings with no basements, I decided I wanted neither to get stuck nor die in France (sorry Ivan), so we moved quickly to the next country. Which was Morocco.

Here's the thing about Morocco. It's one of the Mediterranean bastions of civilization perched atop the Sahara. That is to say, it's very hot there and the architecture is mostly open-air, since they don't have to worry about tropical storms. So there were approximately two buildings there with suitable cover from what was now pounding rain, a store and a cafe. I became intimately familiar with Morocco's fashion, dance music, tagine ovens, and $8 liqueur-flavored coffee.

TWO HOURS LATER, we said fuck it and ran to Japan when the rain eased up a bit. Japan is at the top of my list of countries to visit (in real life, not Epcot). This gift shop did not disappoint. Manga, toys, two whole kiosks devoted to the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki (which are distributed (poorly) in America by Disney), and more books than every other gift shop combined. And a crazy Japanese girl who kept screaming things when customers found a pearl in an oyster, or something.

Knowing we would be back the next evening for dinner in Germany, we decided to call it a day and make our way to the exit. We just couldn't justify dropping $7.50 on a poncho we would never wear again, so we were as wet as if we'd been on a water ride by the time we made it to the exit. Wetter, even. It was the only blemish of the whole trip. Well, that, and the $50 fill-up for half a tank of gas before returning the rental car outside the airport on the way home. $4.50/gallon. You've gotta be kidding me.

My my. This is longer than I expected. If you've read this far, hi Mom! I'll save Animal Kingdom and final observations for the third and final installment.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Better Late than Never: Disney World, pt. 1

I'm borrowing the format of this entry from the always-excellent AV Club, wherein a staff member watches/reads/listens to something that by all means they should have done years ago, and gives their impression of it from a new point of view.

I was never really a Disney kid. I'd seen a few of the films about a thousand times, particularly Mary Poppins and, oddly, The Gnome-Mobile. Fun fact: the Mary Poppins kids are also the kids in The Gnome-Mobile, and the opening credits simply list them as the Mary Poppins kids. I missed the new wave of animation that spawned Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, etc. I did catch The Lion King when they showed it to us in junior high, and loved it. Anyway, being more of the Looney Toons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bent as a child, and having parents who avidly disliked crowds and most people, our vacations generally consisted of trips to the Smokies. So as a young adult, when Disney World came up as a subject of nostalgic conversation, I was often met with looks of shock and pity when I told my peers I'd never been there.

Cut to my wife Amy, whose childhood was pretty much the opposite of everything I just said. We've been together for five years, and for about four and a half of that she's been planning on taking me to Orlando to get caught up. I set her back a year or so when I went and proposed to her and we had to plan a wedding, but the stars aligned and we just got back from celebrating our first anniversary at uncle Walt's playground.

I really didn't know what to expect. I love roller coasters, and while a couple at Disney are pretty killer, I knew that isn't their main thing. I also knew that Disney is known for its "imagineers," the special effects artists responsible for decades of weirdly lifelike entertainment, but beyond the Hall of Presidents and what I assume are terrifying child robots in It's a Small World (it was closed for maintenance), I didn't really know what that entailed. So I knew I was going to enjoy myself, I just didn't know how.

Our first park was Magic Kingdom, that of the trademark castle. And yes, despite not being a Disney kid, I got goosebumps the first time I saw it. We've all been programmed to react that way by Disney, and while you could decry it as crass corporate manipulation, I like to take comfort in the fact that people across the world can see that castle and share the same reaction.

Our first ride at Magic Kingdom was Pirates of the Caribbean. It was the first of many rides that we walked straight into without a wait at all. Late September is an excellent time to visit, if you don't mind the constant fear of hurricanes and/or tropical storms (more on that later). While they've updated it with lines about Jack Sparrow and a few appearances by everyone's favorite Rolling Stones-inspired pirate, it seemed largely untouched since it started, wow, in 1967. It's a cute ride, and I can see why it's a favorite, but I certainly would never think to turn it into a film franchise, and I would never in my wildest dreams imagine that said franchise could be so successful. But hey, maybe that speaks well for the incoming wave of board game adaptations. Or no. Not at all.

We were able to fit in everything we wanted to do at Magic Kingdom that day and move on to another park, thanks to the complete lack of wait times. Thunder Mountain is an impressive roller coaster for its set alone, which completely surrounds the ride even though it's outdoors. It would be a great first roller coaster, which I'm sure it has been for millions of children. It's calm enough that a dad was able to turn around and record his daughter's reactions with a camera for the whole ride. They were both laughing the whole time. Space Mountain still holds up as a great coaster as well, with parts reminding me of Metroid and others of 2001. As a huge geek and space nerd, I was thrilled at the conceit surrounding the ride of it being an interstellar space transit system. I would continue to be geekily thrilled throughout Disney, which was not something I expected.

I began to learn what exactly is the attraction of Disney on the Haunted Mansion ride. If you're not scaring the bejeesus out of your guests or trying to push their organs through their orifices with the power of g-forces, you have to tell them a story. This is where Disney excels. In addition to the story is the constant "how did they do that?" effect. Haunted Mansion is a fun, spooky, cute ride through, well, a haunted mansion. Riding two at a time in a hearse/carriage-like car, your view is controlled by how it rotates throughout the ride. Ghosts show up in front of you in different ways, always seemingly right there without the use of 3-D glasses. There's a fun little song too. The centerpiece for me was the ghost banquet hall, where a large dining room is suddenly populated with dozens of ghosts feasting and dancing. I'm pretty sure I know how they did that, but that's no fun is it?

My favorite section of Magic Kingdom by far is Tomorrowland, simply because of the awesome name and sleek futuristic decor (which is why Epcot is probably my favorite park). I couldn't stop saying " Tommmmorrowland!" like a cheesy 60s voiceover every time I saw the name. Here you find Space Mountain, naturally, and Buzz Lightyear's ride, wherein you're called upon to rotate your own car as you move through the ride shooting targets. The gamer in me wanted to do this a few times, and Toy Story is actually a franchise I'm up to date on. It's apparently the de facto Pixar area too, since this is where you can see the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. This is one of many 3-D movie screen-shows throughout the parks. It's monster stand-up comedy, based on the ending of Monsters, Inc. when the monsters figure out how to get their energy from laughs and not screams. The impressive thing about this show is that it actually is live, even though you're watching CG monsters on a movie screen. They're animated ambiguously enough to match the live actors who are riffing on the audience backstage, so that you're once again left wondering "how did they do that?"

We moved on to Disney's Hollywood Studios that day, which is a pretty easy park to see in one afternoon. This is home to one of the truly great coasters at Disney, Aerosmith's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. It's an indoor roller coaster, the highlight of which is the awesome launch at the beginning. The lowlight, and one we were subjected to on several rides, was the intro video. The story thing got a little old after a few days. Sometimes it really is OK to just beat the crap out of me on a ride; I really don't need to know why. But in this one you meet Aerosmith in the studio talking to an engineer, played by a young struggling Ken Marino, and they're running late for a show. Their agent, Illeana Douglas, gets you backstage passes for the show; hence, the roller coaster trip to see them play.

Who knew there was so much work for actors in amusement park videos? We also saw Gary Sinise, Ellen DeGeneres, John Michael Higgins, Michael Richards, Patrick Warburton (but he does show up everywhere), and the voice of Judy Dench. Not bad.

Also at Hollywood Studios is Star Tours, a Star Wars ride, which tragically, heartbreakingly, was not running. It's being updated to include material from the prequels. Which makes perfect sense, because everyone LOVED them and more of our childhood milestones should be affected by them /sarcasm. Still, the huge AT-AT and Ewok village were pretty awesome to see, and I got a picture of me on a speeder bike, and the gift shop was cool.

One more overall impression: the kids. I knew they would be everywhere, and I'm not necessarily a child-friendly person. I want kids, and one-on-one it's usually not too bad, but en masse they tend to freak me out. Not so at Disney, and here's why: the park is theirs. You're on their turf, so it's a little hard to get bothered by them, but honestly it never even came up. It's literally the best place on the planet they could be, and seeing how insanely happy they all are to be there really adds to the experience, cold-hearted young professional or not. And I won't lie, Thursday evening at Magic Kingdom they were all coming for the Halloween party, in costume, and it was adorable. There was one toddler freaking out in the entry room to the Haunted Mansion, which is actually pretty freak-worthy, but given that I did the same thing at a scary show in Gatlinburg as a small child I can't fault him too much for it.

In the next installment I'll talk about Epcot and Animal Kingdom and give my overall thoughts. See! Gorillas eating poop! Hear and feel! The best Michael Jackson video ever!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ten Totally Terrific Tips for Surviving NYC

  1. Assume every public surface has been urinated on. By a human. Sure, having an extensive public transit system is great for staying out late drinking with buddies. It's like always having a taxi waiting for you. Except it might take an hour and a half to get to your place. And it might not stop at your place late at night. So when you've been waiting on a lonely platform for 20 minutes, wishing you'd hit the head one more time before you left, think about all the people before you who thought the same thing. And weren't raised by your mom, so they dropped trou and hosed the area around them. Also, homeless people just piss anywhere, all the time. This all ties in nicely with...

  2. Know your public bathroom locations. Starbucks. Borders. Barnes & Noble. The mall at Columbus Circle. Libraries. These are godsends. And, not coincidentally, bathrooms/showers/bedrooms/rumpus rooms for homeless people. It's OK though. If they were clean and sane enough to make it this far into the building, they're not the bad kind of homeless. But do yourself a favor and avoid park bathrooms. Unless you're George Michael. In which case, hi! I love the Faith album!

  3. If you're ordering out for Mexican and a Chinese person answers, just hang up. I learned this the hard way. The Chinese apparently think guacamole should be mostly tomatoes, and gray. I do not know how they achieved this color, but achieve it they did. And my chips came in a little wonton wrapper, which was cute, but they tasted suspiciously of General Tso. I would say that if you're ordering Chinese and a Mexican person answers, hang up too, but this never happens. I guess they're not as ambitious and/or full of hubris regarding their cuisine imitation skills.

  4. Don't get too attached to a grocery item. If you find something you like at a store, you will eventually buy it all and they will never restock it. I've personally bought out Target's stock of generic Golden Puffs cereal, Duane Reade's stock of Doc Brown's Diet Black Cherry soda, and a local grocery store's stock of Sunkist dates. It is, apparently, completely beyond their ability to ever obtain these items again.

  5. You will get ripped off. Of course you will. It's NYC. But who's ripping you off in your head now? No doubt cabbies, guys selling purses on the street, hot dog vendors charging $4 for water. Sure, that could happen. Guess who else you have to watch out for? Veterinarians. Optometrists. After completely wiping out my cat's digestive fauna with unnecessary antibiotics, this quack vet told me over the phone that he'd need prescription cat food the rest of his life. I switched him from Meow Mix to Iams and he's doing fine. My wife just got contacts, which, surprise, do not help her see better. If I ever need surgery, I'll be crossing the border to Connecticut. If your own mother comes to visit you, she'll probably start scamming you for bingo money as soon as her plane lands. Because all moms love bingo, right?

  6. Think about where you're standing. Is it really the best place you could choose to be right now? Perhaps you're in a doorway, or a subway turnstile, or a crime scene. Think of the sidewalks of the city as a circulatory system. When you stand still in the middle of that system, you're blocking flow. Stand there too long, and the pinky finger of the city will die and fall off. By this rationale, you might think Times Square would be the heart, and therefore a place you really shouldn't block, but New Yorkers consider it, um, farther south. We don't care if you stand still in a turd because it's already dead to us.

  7. Do not look at the Sex Offender Registry website for your neighborhood, unless you're prepared for the result. Look, it's a densely populated city. It's not as divided by class as you might assume. And apparently sexual assault knows no class boundaries anyway. So I recommend hanging on to a completely false sense of security. Let the nice old man in 4G stay the nice old man in 4G, and not the weird old man in 4G who got arrested in '94 for fondling a Tickle Me Elmo on the ferris wheel in the Times Square Toys R Us.

  8. Prices ALWAYS vary in Manhattan. You need to start reading the fine print in commercials. Ooh, that $10 all-you-can-eat shrimp and lobster special at Red Lobster sounds great, right? Oops, it's $45 here. I paid $15 for chicken fingers at TGI Friday's, and they were actually worse than the chicken fingers you'd pay $7 for in Tennessee. Hot water for tea? $4. Your soul? $2.50.

  9. Awesome free things left on the sidewalk are not free. The price is that of being slowly drained of your blood as you sleep. Bedbugs are everywhere. Unless the item is 100% plastic or glass or some other non-porous material, just assume it is literally filled with bedbugs and get away. No, I know that framed picture of Justin Bieber would look ironically sweet next to your shelf of David Foster Wallace books, but bedbugs reproduce when the male stabs the female in the abdomen and sprays DNA into her, hoping a connection is made, and right now that's happening behind Bieber's eyes. I assume in real life as well as in the poster.

  10. Yes, a cat lives in this diner. Yes, that violates all kinds of codes. Don't make a big deal of it. We all see it. It's cute, and it keeps mice away, and even though it just walked on your omelette, these owners are first generation Greek and really nice so just be cool, OK? And I know it's hard to hear me saying this over the dogs barking, but I think the owners got robbed last week so it's just a little protection. I know, yes, there's pee on the floor, but that's actually mine. The line at Starbucks was too long.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important EVERYTHING

Let me tell you why we're always rushing in NYC: we're five minutes late. All eight million of us. Why? Because we just missed a train. So we hurry to catch the next one, knowing how we JUST missed that other one because of the group of slow moving Frenchmen that wouldn't get out of the way. And we're still five minutes late, so we're rushing2, and suddenly someone's handing me a baton and there's cheering and oh yeah it's Usain Bolt.

Have you ever turned your oven to 120°, crawled inside, and then pooped? It's a cheap way to simulate the subway platforms here in the summer, what with airfare being the way it is these days. Knowing that's what I have to look forward to, should I miss the train, I'm now rushing3. Still subsonic at that point, but not by much.

Sometimes, trash fires spontaneously erupt on the tracks. Sometimes, a carriage driver can't stomach the idea of staring at a horse's ass for 10 hours and making small talk with tourists, so he'll fake a seizure on the way to work. Sometimes, a dispatcher wants the petty satisfaction of pissing off 2000 people for no good reason. These all stop trains. More specifically, these all stop trains that you've waited on for 20 minutes, because you JUST MISSED the one before. Rushing4. Mach 1.2. Ma'am, you really should find a place to finish your phone conversation that isn't the MIDDLE OF THE STEPS TO THE SUBWAY.

This train will be the last southbound train going to my stop. Rushing5. Mach 4. Rocket speeds. I just ran over a baby, but the mom doesn't even care because she knows what'll happen if I don't catch this train.

I just remembered how one time a train got taken out of service because it got held back when people wouldn't let the doors close. Rushing. I am super-luminal. As relativity dictates, my mass becomes infinite while time stops completely. I collapse in on myself, forming a singularity that destroys our entire solar system.

This is all your fault, D train.

Economic Security (double the meaning! double the fun!)

Here's why I know the economy is actually fine: there are people who are paid to sit in the lobby of every building I go to, whose only job is to make sure I write my name down when I get there. Maybe I have to record the time. They MIGHT look at my ID. These men are called "security." I believe this derives from the fact that their asses are secured firmly to their stools, or perhaps how securely they feel about always having a place to nap.

Let's entertain a CRAZY scenario. I just got fired from my shitty job*. I don't have many friends**. Also I got touched in funny places as a child***. Obviously, the best thing I can do is go back to my former employers and headbutt them with bullets. But wait, what's this? A man straining the engineering limits of an XXL Dickies workshirt wants me to write my name down! Alas, foiled again! Wait, nope, not at all. Just wrote my name down and I'm in the elevator unpacking my duffel bag of fun, because exit strategies are rarely part of this game.

I know that's a pretty extreme situation. And I get it, fear is the new awake. We need some sense of protection from the brutish apathy of our godless universe. I certainly prefer guys getting paid $20/hour to watch "The Elevator Channel" over every citizen packing iron. Like Detroit. [shudder] But you see, when you live in NYC you are perpetually five minutes late. So the last thing I want when I get to my destination, all sweaty and huffing, is some townie looking at my ID for three minutes trying to figure out if I'm me or, you know, Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il or one of those other adorable dictators. And forget about the fact that I go by my middle name. That is a damn face melter when you try to convince someone of your identity.

So, uh, yeah, we're doing fine? That was my point? Shit, I'm late.

*This clearly does not apply to me because I do not have any job, let alone of the shitty variety.

**Again, not applicable to me. I have a ton of friends. Hi mom!

***This? Totally applicable.†

†Of course it's not really applicable. And I'm sorry. Child abuse is not funny. Unless it happens to really, really shitty kids.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Be At Peace Is To Prepare For Running Your Ass Off

I ran nine miles yesterday. My body was literally eating itself. I took up running because it's the simplest, cheapest exercise, but holy shit I need to eat food constantly. And it's not like I can just eat whatever I want. What sense is there in running so much just to eat Big Macs and White Castle? As novel as sweating beef fat sounds, just don't. Mmm, tasty, tasty White Castle. Did you know they have sweet potato fries now? Did you know that a White Castle is the closest point of interest to my apartment? Second-closest? Manhattan. There is nothing else in my neighborhood.

People speak of this mythical "runner's high," but I either have yet to experience it or I have experienced it but I know what Ecstasy feels like so blah. No, I run for my general health, the sense of well-being I get from pushing myself towards a goal, and preparedness.

There's a (by now hack) bit about the pointlessness of hard exercise. Why are you lifting weights? So you can lift more weights. Why are you running? So you're better at running, and can run more. While this ignores the obvious reason of looking better, so you can get laid by people who look better and/or lock down the attractive person who's steadily having sex with you, it also ignores the fact that you will be ready when shit goes down.

I have no idea where my constant fear of having to outrun bandits/dogs/kidnappers/bad weather comes from, but my best guess is Reader's Digest. Specifically, the "Drama in Real Life" feature. I was an avid childhood reader of this, and looked forward every month to the new terrifying scenario someone managed (usually) to survive. One woman wrestled control of her moving vehicle from a kidnapper on the interstate. A family was home-invaded. A boy got hit by lightning at school. Pretty sure that one died.

So when it's on the line, I'll be ready. I'll be able to run all night through fields and forests, outstripping my faceless pursuers (why would I ever be chased?). I'll be strong enough to climb things to hide. And when the chase ends and we're face to face, I can use my three years of high school karate.

If it were me, I would've outrun that lightning.

Consequences Will Never Be The Same

Educate yourself if you don't get the title. It's worth it if you have the same masochistic fascination I have with what "the kids" are doing these days.

It's been a while huh? May 27th was the last post. The Fart Blanket bit didn't go over as strongly as I'd hoped, though the Asian comment spammers sure are eating it up. I'm rejecting about a comment a day on that post. Are you aware of this practice? It's apparently a job over there to post completely random comments to any blog you can find, I assume to somehow get people to click to your site. Communism = job creation, people. Nothing wrong with that.

So the point of this post is to tell you to bear with me for a while, as I try to get back into the swing of doing this while changing my MO. Commenting on pop culture fluff can be fun from time to time, but there's only so much I can say about Justin Bieber that a million other bloggers aren't saying. I want to be funny, and I want to be personal, and I want to avoid navel gazing. I have bad enough posture as it is.

I guess I'm trying to find my identity as a blogger, and by god if there's a more indicative phrase of our times I don't want to hear it. What I do want is to kick myself in the teeth for saying it, but it's true. But it's not about blogging. Here's what I do: I'll do something in a creative little spurt, like shoot a webseries or take a class or be in a play. Then I'll go a long time without any of that, to the point that I have no idea why I'm even getting out of bed (because I'm certainly not replacing that time with any sort of money-making practice). Then I start to lose my mind a little, so that I'm forced to engage in something like this. What this really is, is playing it safe and testing the waters for some sort of real comedy. Standup, sketch, probably not improv. Nothing against it, well, maybe a little, but I can only be a geek about so many things.

SO, manifesto finished, let the hilarity begin. Now. No,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The World is Amazing! RE: Fart Blanket

Folks, I haven't been this fascinated and disgusted with a TV product since the PedEgg. But this might take the stale cake:

The Official Better Marriage Blanket. Hereafter referred to as the Fart Blanket. Go ahead, check it out. There's a commercial on the site. I'll wait.

Gross right?

So let's say your bowels are such a twisted, blocked maze of rotting meat and Twinkie wrappers that your wife is having a hard time staying close to you. Because it's the truth. Easily avoided when you're at work, scarfing down Indian food and dark beer. But what about the sacred marriage bed?

I'm farting so much right now
In steps the Fart Blanket!

A normal-appearing comforter hides a layer of activated carbon, which is to funky smell molecules what John Wayne Gacy was to little kids. If he was better at hiding bodies, anyway. Come to think of it, he probably could have used some of the stuff. But as the website assures you, this is the material the military uses to protect against chemical weapons.

That's right. You're sitting on a weapon of ass destruction.

The carbon traps the molecules like General Zod in the Forbidden Zone, and has "an almost unlimited capacity for trapping odor" because holy shit you have to stop farting.

Seriously, what is wrong inside of you? Does your diet consist of homeless people and other farts? Have you been to a doctor? Because this product is for people who have just given up completely. It is absolutely a last resort. It clearly states, "I recognize that the smell of Lucifer's taint is being squirted out of me regularly. I can't change that, and plan on continuing indefinitely. This is the best it's going to get."

Well, this is for you then. As the commercial says, you owe it to your marriage. Because farts is the #3 leading cause for divorce in the United States, right behind B.O. and morning cat breath.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Got Bieber Fever and the Only Cure is a Quick Death

Y'know, I for real did not plan on mentioning Bieber again, at all, when scratching around for a topic. Then the little bastard went and got nominated for a BET AWARD. A BET AWARD. A BET AWARD.

Nope, saying it loudly three times did not make it seem more real.

So he's up for best new artist. The headline I saw was "Justin Bieber, Jay-Z nab BET nominations." You know what else those two nab together? Nothing. Because when you think of J. Bieb and Jay-Z at the same time, somewhere a retarded baby kitty dies. So now it's out. BET hates retarded baby kittens. Apparently I do too. Because I've made you kill at least three by now.

Bieber might nab Jay-Z's shoes for him, to give them a good shine. He might nab his gold chalice, to refill it with a cognac that only rich people know exists. I'll even allow that he might nab a crisp $20 for averting his eyes when Beyonce walks into the room. But they don't nab anything on equal footing. Jay-Z was born in fucking Bed-Stuy. The second line of his bio on Wikipedia is "at age 12, he shot his brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry." Bieber was born in Ontario. One time, he shot the girl at Starbucks a dirty look because she put whipped cream on his dark cherry mocha when his mom clearly said no whipped cream.

Look at the kid's picture up there. That carefully tended, windswept hair. Porcelain lesbian face. Polite Canadian manners. Omnipresent sideways peace sign (seriously, find a picture of that joker without one). What seems to be a woman's scarf. And you tell me: how bad do you want him to get in a fistfight with Lil Wayne at the awards?

Lots. The correct answer is lots.

Monday, May 17, 2010

YouTube Child Sensations! Sunday Sunday Sunday!

I've touched on my disdain for child prodigies before (but let the court record show I've never touched a child prodigy). Like it has everything else, the web has made their ability to annoy much faster and simpler. And though I love her, Ellen's not making it any better, with her revolving door of moppets called "The Wonderful Web of Wonderment."

"Paparazzi" kid Greyson Chance. Korean bowl-cut-Susan-Boyle-impersonator Lin Yu Chun (you get bonus views for being foreign and/or hopelessly awkward). Random-pop-song-covering Maddi Jane. Japanese guitar prodigy Yuto Miyazawa*. Mozart.

Let me boil down every reaction you will ever have to any of these kids: "Aw, s/he's so cute! And only x years old!" (where x=the age at which you were burning ants for fun and laughing hysterically at Kimmy Gibbler (so, for me, 27)). And the fact that almost all of these people are singers really makes me think that singing is nothing special. There's a switch inside you; "on," and you can, "off," and you sound like me. These kids clearly have no emotional connection to what they're doing. How could they? And god help them if they do.

So you get a bunch of stage-parent-afflicted kids trying to land record deals by parroting Whitney Houston or Train or some shit, and also every person who's been on American Idol, ever. And they all have just the worst taste in everything.

This phenomenon is also why Justin Bieber's mom is being trampled by horny, horny 12-year old girls. But considering what her loins hath wrought upon this earth, I don't feel too bad about that.

Am I bitter? Of course! I don't do anything that hundreds of other guys around my age, of my general physical description, can't do; I'm just trying to be seen doing that thing instead of them. Of course I'm doing it about 20 years later than these kids, and they've already been seen. Bitterness ensues.

But really, when it comes down to it, for many reasons this kid is the best summary of why I just don't care that your 11-year old can cover Beyonce. Because I see no difference.

*I'm actually going to exempt Yuto from all this, for a few reasons: 1)that guitar is bigger than him, 2)playing guitar like he can is something achieved on a much higher technical plane than singing, and 3)he has excellent taste. Mozart, you're still on notice. Fucking poser.

Friday, May 14, 2010

News Roundup, with extra Bieber

Russell Crowe walked out of a British radio interview when the DJ said Crowe's Robin Hood sounded Irish. In the DJ's defense, I did find it odd that Crowe's character was so obsessed with redistribution of lucky marshmallow wealth.

Plans have been announced to film another installment of the Die Hard franchise, bringing the total to five. The movie will focus on hero John McClane's angry letters to cereal companies and his struggle to find his granddaughter a nice husband.

Anna Nicole Smith's ex-whatever is auctioning off 250 of the former whatever's belongings in Vegas. Which is just a fancy way of announcing the saddest yardsale ever.

Shia LeBeouf promises that the third Transformers movie will be better. The star says the second was "just about robots fighting each other," with no focus on "relationships." This was of course different from the first movie, in which the robot war was just a backdrop for the epic struggle between Megan Fox and convincing emotion.

Adam Sandler has announced plans to adapt hit internet short "Pixels" into a feature film. In related news, OMG Cat just signed a five-picture deal with Dreamworks.

BP has tried several solutions to stem the oil spill in the Gulf, with little success. Because Justin Bieber is. Just. Awful.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bieber/Kardashian 2012!

Kimbertin. Bieberdashian. Justerly. So many choices. So little time.

One Twitpic of Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber together at the White House Correspondents Dinner managed to rouse legions of undead Bieberites into clamoring for Kim's brains on a platter.

A tiny platter.

I fear Ms. Kardashian may not be much longer for this world. Well, fear might not be the correct word. Let's say I'm mildly indifferent to the prospect of her violent death at the hands of hormonal awkward smelly tweens.

Srsly? You kill for this?

Bieber eventually got around to calming his horny, horny army of young girls, but not before referring to Kardashian as his girlfriend and "ideal lady." Child, child child. Listen. This is a brand of crazy you don't want to buy stock in. Lady has a sex tape. Have you seen it? You think you can compete? You don't think that ass won't chew you up for dinner?

You're young, inexperienced. Let me educate you. You see that butt in a Versace dress or whatever and think "wow, that's sexy." I see about 25 lbs. of BAGGAGE. I see ex-boyfriends who wear a lot of jewelry and have friends who are for real, literally, hitmen. I see a lady who's burned through a few trust funds and won't stop after yours. Back away slowly. Go talk to Chloe Moretz. She seems cool.

Side notes: Really? This Bieber thing is still going on? I assume these girls do not know that Jon Hamm is a person?

And the White House Correspondents Dinner? That's where these two met? That's like if the fated meeting between Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg as depicted in the play Copenhagen took place in the leggings section of American Apparel.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And We're Baaaack!

Been a while huh? The last time I got on here was to make notes about Kirk Cameron's appearance on the Today Show, for a later blog about his inevitable ridiculosity, but by golly if the little Jesus freak wasn't perfectly normal. No croco-duck pictures or belligerent proselytizing; just a Mike Seaver impression. And that was on March 17.

And here we are. My has it been a heavy week. My hometown is under water, the Gulf is under oil, total incompetents are trying to blow up the town I live in now, Lost is almost over AND we're about to finish the Battlestar DVDs. Thought it might be a good time to inject a little humor into the lives of my readers (hi mom and Amy).

We need something trivial for this occasion. The merest wisp of celebrity silliness. Let's see, what's Justin Bieber up to? No, no, little girls keep getting trampled upon wherever he shows his adorable lesbian face and haircut and vagina. Heidi Montag Pratt Flotation Barbie? I'll just Google Image her and...oh god...oh, what hath she wrought? That is an image out of my very driest of nightmares. That won't do.

Umm...Katie Perry wore a light-up dress to something. Guess that's the brightest she's been in a while. Ugh. How do people care about dresses?

The iPad. Steve Jobs. Tampon. People waiting in line to spend hundreds on something that hasn't been field-tested. There's a joke there somewhere. Put it together.

See, this is what happens when I take time off.

Alright, alright, how about this: This fall, a movie's coming out about the racehorse Secretariat. This is hot on the heels of my not giving a damn about Seabiscuit. How do you dramatize a horse story? Why do we care about this, outside the gambling world? What obstacles does a horse need to overcome to run faster than other horses? Secretariat's Wikipedia page mentions records he set, that still stand today. So what? A cheetah could run faster. And they kill stuff. That's a movie for ya right there.

The only good that can come of this is a terribly misinformed old couple trying to see this movie, but renting Secretary instead and asking "Why is that man from Boston Legal spanking the horse?"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Karate Depot, for your karate needs

Hey guys, I ordered some prop guns for the show I'm in (more on that in a few days) from this website,, and now I'm going to get a sweet t-shirt for mentioning them. Action shots to follow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is that Lindsay Lohan or a drunk baby?

Oh lordy lordy lordy. In case you didn't turn on anything electronic this week, Lindsay Lohan is suing eTrade for $100 million dollars, Dr. Evil-style, because she finds an eponymous milkaholic baby in their commercial slanderous. I mean, really, everything you need is contained right there. Describing the story is hilarious enough. But I'd hardly say my job would be done then, so explore with me, won't you?

That's right. Lindsay Lohan finds that she has too much in common with a slutty baby who drinks too much milk, who is also named Lindsay. So she's suing for $100 MILLION DOLLARS. According to her lawyer, "Everyone's talking about it and saying it's Lindsay Lohan." Holy shit, now they are!

I can only assume that astronomical amount was decided upon to help recover the damage done by this commercial to Miss Lohan's reputation. I'd venture out on a limb and say that maybe positioning yourself in the public consciousness so that a vapid, substance-abusing baby calls to mind your leathery freckled cigarette-stained flesh has already done far more damage to your reputation than any commercial possibly could. And your lawyer isn't doing you any favors when he tells the public that surely the first person they thought of was his client when they saw this stupid baby.

You want to protect your reputation? Eat. Show up to work on time. Stop making such awful movies. Don't tell people you've elevated yourself to single-name status. And don't sue someone over a BABY COMMERCIAL.

Sometimes, people behave in a way that is so compatible with their stereotype that you can't even believe it's real. Am I right, closeted Republican congressmen?


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2010 Oscars; or, How to Buy a Statue

The Oscars are upon us once again, and of course the story this year is the broadened Best Picture category with ten nominees. Ostensibly an attempt to let audience favorites have a go alongside fiscally microscopic films like An Education, this means Avatar or District 9 could feasibly take home a statue. What this really means is Avatar will have justified its Bolivian GDP of a budget when it inevitably wins Best Picture.

The awards have little to do with artistic merit anyway. Just like the congressional candidate with the best ideas doesn't necessarily get elected, the "best" actor (whatever that means) doesn't always win the award. It's the person with the best studio campaign behind them. Of course, campaign in the wrong way, or make it too obvious that you're campaigning *ahem Mr. Hurt Locker producer* and you shoot your team in the collective foot.

I've gotta say, I'm a bit worried here. I see this as the beginning of a trend in which the year's top grosser predictably wins Best Picture, which not only takes the fun out of it but means a lot of really shitty movies will win. This all comes a year too late anyway, since Dark Knight is one of the few top earners I could imagine legitimately earning the award. Do you really want Transformers 8 to be in the running in 2023? Do you want Michael Bay to ever be nominated?

And all this is being done to get more people to watch the broadcast. This logic escapes me, because no one watches the show for the awards anyway. The majority watch for the red carpet hoohah and to see if anyone screws up their speech. You don't see after-shows of film buffs analyzing who won and why; you see E! breaking down every single outfit caught on film, and who Angelina Jolie managed to have an awkward encounter with this year (I'm looking at you, Christopher Minz-Plasse).

I say, stop broadcasting it altogether. The awards have nothing to do with us at home. They're about the honorees. If you're not in that theatre, you're not affected. So let them have their moments, and as a replacement we can just have a red carpet parade. Stars make a two-hour trek down the carpet from one limo to another in a constant cycle. Put them on display. Ask them awkward questions. E! correspondents act like they're pals with them. Then they go home.

How absurd is it to rank art in the first place? You don't see awards for "Best Oil on Canvas of the Year," or "Best Bronze Sculpture." Could you imagine? "This year's Achievement in Pretension goes to Gabriel Orozco, for his 'Four Yogurt Caps on the Walls' exhibit." Which by the way, fuck you Mr. Orozco.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Maybe Leno Gets It

Jay Leno returns to your grandparents' TVs this week at 11:35 EST, and something about his lineup makes me think that maybe, just maybe, he understands how unpopular he is right now and he's totally running with it.

In week one we see actors like Jamie Foxx, we see Olympic athletes, no surprises. But we also see Sarah Palin, Brett Favre, and the cast of Jersey Shore in a very special Jaywalking segment. Who's going to come on next week? Jon Gosselin? John Mayer? That Russian mulleted fancylad who keeps bitching about his silver figureskating medal?

Seriously, Palin and Favre aren't doing anything promotion-worthy right now, and the Jersey Whores seem to be winding down the publicity tour that took them to such incongruous places as Ellen, The View, and a community college, so what else could explain their presence on Chinny McBobblehead's Lukewarm Talk Hour? Is he getting notes on douchebaggery? Learning how to alienate the most people in the shortest amount of time? I think he sees the picture we've painted of him, and he's saying "You want it? You got it."

Jay Leno is giving us, not the talk show host we need, but the talk show host we deserve.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How Bout That Crazy Curling Huh?

Another Winter Olympics gone, another two weeks of lazy curling comedy out of the way. Comedians, we get it. Curling's weird. Shouldn't be a sport, let alone Olympic. Black people don't like ice/snow/skating. It's cool, point proven. Your task over the next four years is to come up with something new. Maybe something about how they're competing in the Olympics in polo shirts and slacks. They could be striving to see who's the best in the world, or they could be waiting tables at Applebee's.

And is shuffleboard on ice really that much stranger than throwing yourself off a ramp on the side of a mountain with two pieces of wood strapped to your feet and seeing who can fly the farthest? I ask you.

Seriously, when Leno's using curling in promos for his return to hypnosis of the elderly, you know it's a dead horse.

Set your sights on the Trampoline event at the 2012 London games. That shit's weird. And sort of awesome.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What the Super Bowl Ads Taught Me about Myself

As I am a straight white male age 18-34, CBS is very glad I tuned in to the Super Bowl last night. As I am an intelligent critical-thinking cynical ad-proof liberal, I was pretty pissed off by what I was told I'm supposed to like. The advertisers see me as they want to see me, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions: a man's man who cannot be himself because he carries the heavy yoke of a relationship with a woman; all I want to do is drive my car and drink bland, watery beer, but I can't because a woman cast her menstrual spells on me and now I have to carry her purse and watch movies with Valerie Bertinelli and/or J Lo. And they tell me I hate abortions. As an atheist Democrat this is partially true; the Democrat in me wants to carve up all the pregnant bellies in America, but the atheist in me wants to eat those babies alive. Tough call.

If I may drag Orwell's dead body into this again, and I may, the reason I find all this irritating is that it's just so lazy. Cliches are shortcuts, which is why they're necessary in 30-second TV spots, but they do your thinking for you. Fact: I married my wife because, among other reasons, I enjoy hanging out with her, I can truly be myself around her, and we let each other do what we want. Myth: men always force themselves into marriage to fit societal expectations and/or get someone to feed them for free, then resent their wives because being an asshole is no longer tolerated. I encountered similar thinking during my engagement. I'd tell an older guy that I was getting married, and he'd bitch about his wife. It's not my fault you made a terrible decision as a younger man, so don't make me feel bad for holding out for the good stuff.

And you guys all realize that none of the beer advertised during the Super Bowl is American, right? I didn't see any Sam Adams commercials, or Yuengling or Sierra Nevada. Even PBR, the largest American-owned brewery now that European conglomerates bought all the other big ones, outsources its brewing to South Africa. Not that I would drink the crap if it was American. I went through that phase. It's called college. The reason beer is an acquired taste is because everyone starts out drinking the worst of it. Was your first beer a Dogfish Head Brewery creation, or a Rogue ale, or something European you couldn't pronounce? No, it was room-temp Natty Light out of a red Solo cup, which you were drinking to get drunk, not to complement a steak. The owner of Dogfish Head Brewery told me (and about 200 other conventioneers) that the major beer companies all make pretty much the same product, which is based on a centuries-old German edict limiting beer to three ingredients: water, barley, and hops. There's really only so much variation you're going to get in products made by that guideline.

Sure, I got a few chuckles out of last night's broadcast (thank you Betty White and adorable Doritos kid; no thank you Leno, not ever), but given the amount of hype and the disgusting amounts of money spent, shouldn't we have gotten better?

And hey GoDaddy, moderately attractive women in plain tank tops with your logo across the chest just aren't as hot as you seem to think.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Confused by the 'Lost' Premiere?

[spoiler]You're an idiot![/spoiler] But seriously, this will be a spoiler-free post.

A lot of digital ink has been wasted on how confusing and befuddling and mind-breaking Lost can be. Let me clue you in to something: it's not that hard. Getting cheap healthcare to a first-world nation without accruing massive debt is hard. Predicting ups and downs in an economy that may or may not be following Keynesian cycles is hard. This is just a TV show. They have to make money. Thus, they have to please a lot of people. Thus, they have to provide answers at some point.

This is where the "confusion" sets in. Answers will be provided. They will not be provided when you want them. This is not confusion. This is just impatience. This isn't Twin Peaks (and even if it were, that wasn't as obfuscating as people make it out to be); David Lynch doesn't rely on cause-and-effect. Abrams and crew most certainly do.

Let's say character X died in season two, yet in this season we see X walk out of the jungle in a suit. "Whuuuh?" you say, cheese dip and sweat mixing on your upper lip. "But he's...he's...DAID!" Well, clearly he isn't, and in a matter of time the writers will tell us why not. No confusion necessary, just patience. And don't bother trying to explain it yet, because chances are you don't have all the necessary information, which will be provided at some point. Congratulations to me! I just nullified hundreds and hundreds of silly conspiracy-laden fan sites.

Now, let's say someone like David Lynch is in fact behind the show. Character X dies in season two, probably by autoerotic asphyxiation. In this season, he walks out of the jungle in a suit, scuba gear, and point shoes, talks backwards for a while, farts on Sawyer's face and exits. X is never mentioned again. X's actions in no way advanced the plot. At this point, confusion is not only acceptable, it's the only sane reaction.

You were given a one-hour recap before this last season premiere, not to mention plenty of time to catch up on DVDs. You have a whole season in front of you in which the writers will wrap up loose ends and explain that initial cold shock of the season premiere. And by now you damn well oughta know how the show works. So why are you so stupid?

And why do I care? I guess because at this point, it's become a cliche that Lost is such a confusing, dense show with hundreds of unanswered questions, and I'm of the Orwellian school when it comes to cliches. They're lazy; they are mannequins of actual thought. It's a great show. Sit back and let it prove that to you.