07.15.09 – Wednesday

Word: strident [strahyd-nt] adj. 1. making or having a harsh sound; grating; creaking: strident insects; strident hinges 2. having a shrill, irritating quality or character: a strident tone in his writings 3. Linguistics. (in distinctive feature analysis) characterized acoustically by noise of relatively high intensity, as sibilants, labiodental and uvular fricatives, and most affricates

Birthday: Ewostatewos (1273), Rembrandt van Rijn (1606), Lloyd “Cowboy” Copas (1913), Clive Cussler (1931), Alex Karras (1935), Barry Goldwater Jr. (1938), Millie Jackson (1944), Jan-Michael Vincent (1944), Linda Ronstadt (1946), Arianna Huffington (1950), Jesse “The Body” Ventura (1951), Johnny Thunders (1952), Ian Curtis (1956), Barry Melrose (1956), Marky Ramone (1956), Joe Satriani (1956), Kim Alexis (1960), Willie Aames (1960), Lolita Davidovich (1961), Forest Whitaker (1961), Brigitte Nielsen (1963), Jason Bonham (1966), Eddie Griffin (1968), Dave Foley (1972), Beth Ostrosky (1972), Brian Austin Green (1973)

Quotation: Impartial observers from other planets would consider ours an utterly bizarre enclave if it were populated by birds, defined as flying animals, that nevertheless rarely or never actually flew.  They would also be perplexed if they encountered in our seas, lakes, rivers, and ponds, creatures defined as swimmers that never did any swimming.  But they would be even more surprised to encounter a species defined as a thinking animal if, in fact, the creature very rarely indulged in actual thinking.Steve Allen

Tune: “It’s a genuine stand-alone quirk-pop gem, all parping brass and chintzy keyboard riffs with singalong vocals.” Those are the words of Topher Healy of Rave magazine, referring to “Brainless” by Sunny Day Sets Fire. Once again, a song I was legitimately surprised to find had a very high play count on my iPod. Not because it’s not good – just the opposite – but I had no idea I’d listened to it so much.

Gallimaufry: I love animals but, uh, this is just a bit outlandish in my opinion. Yesterday marked the maiden filght of Pet Airways, an animals-only airline developed by Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel, a husband and wife who’d become dissatisfied with their Jack Russell terrier’s flying adventures. As of right now, the airline is only offering flights between five major cities – New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver and Los Angles – but they’re all booked solid for the next two months, apparently. Each ticket is around $250, and passengers will be provided a pre-flight bathroom break and checked on every 15 minutes. Basically, if you don’t want your pet to travel in the cargo hold, you can pony up a little more dough (roughly an additional $100 – $200, depending on which airline you’ll be flying), and make sure Fido, most likely, has a more comfortable flying experience than you, yourself, will. Christ. Is the recession over? Did anyone else think it odd that FOX had such a cockeyed angle of President Obama’s first pitch at last night’s 2009 MLB All-Star Game? Even stranger, FOX went immediately to a commercial break and didn’t even air the pitch until a few minutes later, when Obama had joined the team in the broadcasting booth. Turns out, our President isn’t much of a pitcher. After an awkwardly executed toss, the ball just barely made it into the glove of St. Louis Cardinal‘s superstar Albert Pujols, who had already moved up in an attempt to make sure Obama didn’t embarrass himself. “I did not play organized baseball when I was a kid and so, you know, I think some of these natural moves aren’t so natural to me,” said our nation’s leader. It wasn’t the best looking first-pitch of all-time, but, besides a lack of a distance and the fact that he looked like he’d never thrown a ball before, I’d say he got the job done quite nicely. Plus, what the hell is the difference if he can’t throw a strike? He probably can’t kick a field goal, either. Most likely, those skills will never be needed at his current post. It’s usually a good thing when young people are proud to embrace the traditions of their ancestors. Usually. But not always. Anthony Karen shows us in “LIFE Goes Inside Today’s KKK,” that some dumb bullshit will simply never go away. It’s true. Just when the world needs them the least, the Ku Klux Klan is poised to make a comeback. Fantastic. I was just thinking the other day that we were running short on complete dipshits out there, but I’m pretty sure that we’re all set now. Thanks for showing up, fellas.

The 2009 MTV Movie Awards – Good & Bad

Sunday night, I sat down to watch the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Funny thing. Once upon a time, I’d steer clear of all award shows, but I like Andy Samberg (who hosted this year’s show) and so I decided to check it out.

I watched it in its entirety. And while it felt kind of dirty, I’m glad I did. I was equally entertained and disgusted – usually alternating back and forth between the two feelings in the span of just under a minute. At times, I was pleased – usually by something involving Samberg. Just as often, however, I was displeased – usually by something involving the movie Twilight, which won just about all the awards. (Even Samberg and some of the presenters seemed a little put-off by all the attention the tweener vampire flick was receiving.)

Here are me thoughts on some moments from the 2009 MTV Movies Awards:

  • “Cool Guys Don’t Look At Explosions” – My second favorite part of the show. Samberg and Will Ferrell (as Neil Diamond) perform something typically spoofy proclaiming, “the flames are hot but their hearts are chill,” amidst a montage of cool guys (Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Iron Man) not looking at explosions. I think the keyboard solo actually tied the whole thing together for me.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen-Eminem FiascoSacha Baron Cohen is fucking annoying. I know. I’m supposed to watch his prankster antics and find them unbelievably mortifying/clever. But I don’t. If that lessens me in your eyes, I’m prepared to deal with that. When Cohen (as his gay alter-ego Bruno) descended onto Eminem and proceeded to plant his ass in the rapper’s face, I was hoping that Slim Shady’s entourage was going to make the whole night worthwhile and murder Cohen. No such luck. The douchebag survived.
  • Forest Whitaker Singing “Dick in a Box” – Easily my favorite part of the show. LeAnn Rimes and Chris Isaak were great paying homage to Samberg’s Digital Shorts “Jizz In My Pants” and “Lazy Sunday” but Whitaker’s interpretation of “Dick in a Box” was almost better than the original. Truly. I think it’s safe to say everyone is now in on the whole absurdist comedy wave.
  • Miley Cyrus Wins “Best Song In A Movie” Award – She beat out four other songs she shouldn’t have. Her acceptance speech illustrated why we as a society need to ban against the talentless, unsexy hack. “I wanna thank God! Hellllooooooo? The only reason I’m here!” Thanks, God. We owe you one.
  • Ben Stiller Receiving the “MTV Generation Award”Kiefer Sutherland, Zac Efron and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog presented the award to Stiller. It was very much like a roast with Efron saying things like, “You sell out the theaters without selling out.” Triumph obsessed over Stiller’s resemblance to different primates. Sutherland broke down, sat on the edge of the stage and addressed Stiller directly in a “heartfelt” testimonial of his admiration. Sutherland went on for about two minutes too long. To his credit, Stiller sat through the whole thing without choking any of them. If I was him, I would’ve at least made a run at the dog.

Overall, the show spanned the canvas of everything pop culture. And, while there were some truly sickening/moronic people and ideas out there, it was proof to me there are things happening that just might be worthwhile. Still, when I saw the likes of Cyrus and the dude with the hair from Twilight mixed in with performers with actual real talent, I was forced to wonder if the world of entertainment wasn’t free-falling to some dark, evil place.