06.05.09 – Friday

Word: ersatz [er-zahts, -sahts, er-zahts, –sahts] adj. 1. serving as a substitute; synthetic; artificial: an ersatz coffee made from grain n. 2. an artificial substance or article used to replace something natural or genuine; a substitute

Birthday: Thomas Chippendale (1708), Pat Garrett (1850), Pancho Villa (1878), John Maynard Keynes (1883), Salvatore Ferragamo (1898), Richard Scarry (1919), Spalding Gray (1941), Ken Follett (1949), Suze Orman (1951), Richard Butler (1956), Kenny G (1956), Jeff Garlin (1962), Ron Livingston (1967), Brian McKnight (1969), Mark Wahlberg (1971), Chuck Klosterman (1972), Pete Wentz (1979)

Quotation: I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat.  I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!Dr. Seuss

Tune: Ever watch the great old comedy sketch show The Kids In The Hall and wonder who did the theme song? The band is Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet and the song is called “Having an Average Weekend.”

Gallimaufry: With President Obama in the White House and most everyone pissed at California over Proposition 8, it’s easy to look at our country and decide it’s moving in the right direction. Enter Ken Pagano, pastor of New Bethel Church in Louisville, Kentucky. This June 27th, Pagano is inviting his congregation to attend services with their firearms, “to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Second Amendment.” Says the ex-Marine-and-one-time-handgun-instructor-turned-pastor, “We’re just going to celebrate the upcoming theme of the birth of our nation. And we’re not ashamed to say that there was a strong belief in God and firearms — without that this country wouldn’t be here.” No loaded guns will be allowed in the church. In addition to bringing firearms, Pagano is asking attendees to bring a canned good and a friend. I mean, it’s only Kentucky, but still. It’s 2009, jackass. For the record, Sonia Sotomayor’s “Wise Latina” comment is no different than Sarah Palin’s comparing hockey moms to pitbulls. But no one, including the idiots over at FOX News, are going to make the connection. The Supreme Court nominee was referring to a group of women who make up a large portion of the nation’s population, while Palin was talking about a group of women in Alaska who don’t represent enough people to fill up The Rose Bowl. (That may or may not be true.) Both women were making their comments in jest. In the grand scheme of things, I’m guessing Alaskan hockey moms are considered a bit more innocuous than Latina women. Just a hunch. Sitting out in the sun for extended periods of time, getting high and drunk with your closest friends and listening to dozens of popular bands is every American’s right. At least it should be. The warm weather invading us right now means only one thing – it’s Summer Concert Festival Season. Check out Pitchfork’s comprehensive guide to this year’s opportunities to pass out on a stranger’s blanket by mid-afternoon.

Incoming: I know I promised some thoughts about Arthur Kade (I’ve grilled my considerable group of contacts for this one and unearthed some great stuff.) and movie remakes, as well as 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead, but as they say, life got in the way. I’ll be working on all those for the beginning of next week. Also, for everyone attending this weekend’s TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship (What happened to simply calling it “The Bike Race?”), make sure to stay hydrated and have some fun. I’m not quite sure if I’ll be making my annual appearance as of yet, but if I do, I’ll make sure to say hello.

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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.