Friday, April 07, 2006

Self-Reflexive Interior Monologue of a Clever McSweeney's Writer Who Enjoys Excessively Long Titles, As He Brainstorms For His Next Work of Comedy

I haven't had anything published since "I Think the Bus Driver's Sneering at Me Might Have Something To Do With the Pronounced Cultural Gap Between Us", and that was nearly 3 months ago! Eggers is going to forget about me, I know it. Come on, man - it's time to buckle down and think of something funny or I'm never going to get into McSweeney's again. And then I'll never be a real writer (and especially not a staggering genius)!

Okay, I can do this. I just need to think of a mundane life situation, combine it with a semi-literate but comically unexpected pop culture reference, adopt an arbitrarily aloof tone of academic accomplishment, devise an intentionally lengthy title and -- voila! -- comedic/literary genius! Like that guy a few weeks ago who did, "Models of Conflict in Literature, Which I Think Justify My Beeping the Horn While Driving, Even If My Girlfriend Thinks Not" - why the fuck didn't I think of that!?!? Combining models of literary conflict with road rage? That was a freakin' McSweeney's shoe-in!

I need to focus. Just think about stuff that's happened to me recently. What did I do yesterday? I woke up around 11, went down the street and had a falafel, went to the bookstore and read magazines for a few hours, spent a few more hours reading the Internet, thought about titles for the novel I want to write about my generation's disaffection, went to a dive bar and got drunk on Miller High Life, went home and typed some drunken gibberish about my loneliness, then watched 'Adult Swim' until I passed out. Maybe I could write a piece called, "My Utterly Wasted Day and How It Might Have Been Summarized If I Were a Character In 'Little Lord Fauntleroy'." Nah, too obscure. Maybe if I was a character in a Greek morality play. Or maybe a John Hughes movie. Fuck, this is hard!

Just take a deep breath. YOU. ARE. FUNNY. I just have to find it. Maybe some auto-erotic asphyxiation might help clear my mind. It always does. Yes, I deserve a break. I wonder if I have any more lemons?

Okay, much better. Time to bang out some serious comedy brilliance. Let's do this! How about a piece called, "Bumper Stickers That Might Have Been Found On Horse-Drawn Carriages In Napoleon-Era France". But I don't speak French. Okay, okay, wait, even better: "Translated Bumper Stickers That Might Have Been Found On Horse-Drawn Carriages In Napoleon-Era France". Yeah, that could work - and the title's EVEN LONGER. Now I just need to think of a few bumper stickers...

"This Buggy Breaks For Bonapartes"

"I Survived the Bastille: Don't Drop the Soap!"

"You Say You Wanna Revolution?"

"Paris Is For Lovers (Duh!)"

"W" (could be in reference to The Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon, but is also a funny reference to the ubiquitous Bush stickers seen today - ha!)

"France: These Colors Don't Run (Unless We're Invaded and Forced to Exile)"

Hmm, those are pretty good, right? They display a somewhat sophisticated historical accuracy put into a clever modern context and presented with the type of wit the average college-educated professional would likely enjoy. I wonder what Eggers would think? Are these as erudite as they could be? Should I choose an even more obscure historical reference? Will the juxtaposition with modern pop culture be pronounced enough?

Maybe I should just re-write "If Forgotten 80's Sitcoms Were Represented On the Periodic Table of the Elements" and send that in again.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

G.E. Smith Is Probably Rocking the Fuck Out Somewhere, Right Now

When people talk about rock's great guitarists, the names most often mentioned are Hendrix, Clapton, Van Halen and Dave Matthews. But you know who's name rarely - if ever - is included in that group? A little axe-wielder by the name of G.E. Smith.

For something like ten years, Smith was the frontman for the Saturday Night Live Band and there wasn't a single commercial break on his watch that didn't begin with a few moments of shredding fret and rocking the fuck out with that big grin on his face. People say those were SNL's golden years because of future superstar cast members like Farley, Sandler and Spade - but those people don't know what the hell they're talking about. Those years were awesome because of a blonde, pony-tailed man with a Stratocaster and a cocky smile that said, "Check out THIS sweet solo!"

Today's buzz-bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes only THINK they know about rock and roll. But if they truly knew anything, they'd quit ripping off retro 80's rockers and take a page out of the book of G.E. motherfucking Smith. What rockers are missing today is that Smith Swagger - oozing supreme confidence in the sickness of their rock, leaning against the back of the saxophone player while hammering out bendy guitar notes and grinning like a billionaire on ecstacy getting a blowjob.

A lot people think the problems plaguing SNL recently have to do with the dreadful writing, talentless cast, celebrity news focus or Horatio Sanz, but none of these factors are the real reason that the show is no longer watchable. The real problem is the conspicuous lack of a certain grinning Guitar God. Like everything else on the show right now, the current band is boring pusswad crap, and do not even deserve to play on the same stage once graced by the skilled fingers of G.E. Smith.

For the few moments before the commercials, when G.E. Smith was assuming his rightful place at the front and center of the stage, he created moments of guitar magic that will live on forever in the annals of television - and rock and roll - history. I don't know where he's at today, but I will guarantee you one thing...

G.E. Smith is still rocking the fuck out somewhere, right now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thoughts of a Relatively Unknown Comedian Going Home After Taping a Soundbite on Some VH1 Show About Celebrities

Well, that was fun. I can't believe I'm finally gonna be on TV! Mom's going to freak.

I wonder when "40 Wackiest Celebrity Refrigerator Contents" is going to air. I hope they thought my insights about David Faustino's groceries were hilarious. I wonder how much of that stuff actually makes it onto the air. Surely they'll use the bit where I said, "Paris Hilton's not a big fan of condiments. Or condoms, either." HA! That's gold.

I hope that I seemed animated enough. It seems like the people who get on the air the most are then ones who make the funniest faces. Like Michael Ian Black - that guy's ALWAYS on those shows! He's like the world's foremost expert on everything dealing with Hollywood, pop culture and the 80s. But maybe they use him a lot because he's semi-famous and the viewers might recognize him from Ed. I wonder if the people watching it will see me, turn to their friend and say, "Who the fuck is this asshole, and what makes his opinion worth broadcasting to millions of people?" That's what I always say when I watch these shows.

Who watches these shows? It seems like the only people I know who watch them are the people who might be on them. I wonder if they have more guests than viewers. I think a lot of hungover people might watch these shows. How else could finding out what kind of mustard Steve-O from Jackass prefers possibly be interesting? I hope they use my joke about how when someone asks Steve-O if he'd like any Grey Poupon, he lights himself on fire and tells them to rub it on his butt." That's funny, right?

I hope I dressed appropriately. Hopefully the viewers will immediately recognize the irony in my decision to wear a "REO Speedwagon" shirt. That's what these shows are about, right? Celebrating all things ironic? But what if the viewers are younger? Will they even know who REO Speedwagon is, and how my wearing their shirt is in fact subtly funny? What if they just think I'm some douche who sincerely likes shitty bands from the seventies who they've never heard of except in their parents' record collections, which has become a symbol of everything they resent? Fuck.

Okay, I have to put myself in the position of the viewer. I'm 20 years old. I spent the previous evening pounding Milwaukee's Best Light over at my friend Trey's house, playing video games and hitting on some slutty high school chicks who showed up to give out handjobs. My head is pounding and my mouth tastes like a litter box. I wish I were dead. Would I want to see a grinning comedian in an REO Speedwagon t-shirt making silly faces and saying things like, "If there's anything Bo Jackson loves, it's his honey mustard dressing. Bo knows honey mustard" or would I just change the channel, masturbate and go back to bed? Probably the latter.

Oh well, at least I got to meet DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The WooHoo Awesome Sweet Yeah Holy Shits!!!

The WooHoo Awesome Sweet Yeah Holy Shits!!!
Extra Exclamation Point
[Indiebuzz Records; 2005]
Rating: 11.0

Silence. Beautiful and golden, like the forgotten sound of a basement tape of the Gods long fallen. So begins "Extra Exclamation Point", the debut LP of the latest band from the burgeoning Albequeurqe, New Mexico indie rock scene (what, you haven't heard?)

The WooHoo Awesome Sweet Yeah Holy Shits!!! are an undeniable miracle. Their jangly, angular, boisterous, poignant, harmonious, New Wave-inspired-without-being- derivative, joyous, hand-clapping, foot-stomping sound is exactly what the universe has been missing. It is, in a word, antidisestablishmentarianism.

As opposed to thier flash-in-the-pan, now totally out of style predecessors like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Shout Out Louds and the Go! Team, The WooHoo Awesome Sweet Yeah Holy Shits!!! will be rocking your iPod Nano for a very long time to come. Maybe even two, three weeks. They're worthy of every bit of the buzz that will result at the publication of this review, so I would suggest paying as much as $700 for scalped tickets to their upcoming show in an impossibly small venue that everyone will want to say they were at.

Like Wesley Willis after a large sushi dinner, WHASYHS!!! frontman Atreyu Overholster combines the swagger of Jagger with the vocal intensity of early-era Bob Seger. The rest of the band doesn't really matter, but they're good, too.

Obligatory reference to T. Rex Bowie Kinks Eno Early Duran Duran Obscure Punk Band.

As I stumble out of my Williamsburg apartment, listening to the joyous sounds of The WooHoo Awesome Sweet Yeah Holy Shits!!!, I am reminded of the first time I heard music that changed my life. The album was a rare imported Nick Drake home recording. I was 4 years old. Today I feel like a child once again.

Key tracks include, "Oh My God Remember The Rollerskating Rink!?!?", "Huddle Up and Cuddle", and "The 80's Were Awesome!".

--Some Asshole, October 19, 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

You Can Never Escape the S's and Z's
(another scientific theory)

Now that we've established that I am a leading sociological theorist, I am prepared to offer my next set of conclusions to the world. This theory, vastly different in tone and implication from my last, contends that the popular video game "Tetris" is, in fact, a perfect metaphor for the nature and experience of life itself.

The controlling idea of this metaphor is simple. Life, like Tetris, is a constant and steady manifestation of catalysts and challenges which must be deftly manipulated and fit together before they reach a state of entropy, at which point the game - or life - would no longer be tenable. As one moves through their life, things inevitably happen to them, and as the sum of the remainders of these causalities increase, and the things start happening at an accelerated rate despite your fatigue from having played the game so long, a challenge is guaranteed to every player, which is why Tetris might be the only game ever to fully capture the complexity and compound nature of human existence.

The pieces we are given, like the life situations we are dealt, are completely random and unpredictable. While we can move and rotate these pieces, they are finite and unchanging. The only way we can rid ourselves of the burden of our problems is by fitting them together to create a state of harmony that renders all previous problems obsolete. We must focus on the present while maintaining an awareness of the past and an overall plan for the future.

We have no choice to but to play the game to the best of our abilities, no matter what we are dealt. Some of the pieces we're given, like the rectangular I-shaped ones we all so desperately want, are easier to work with than others, such as the dreaded S and Z-shaped pieces. Just like nobody likes paying their taxes, nobody likes dealing with the S's and Z's in Tetris, but we must embrace these challenges as an inescapable part of reality.

Life, for all of us, essentially begins with a blank screen, with an infinite amount of possibility awaiting us. Granted, some of us, through no fault of our own, are born into situations more difficult than others, like having impoverished or afflicted parents. In Tetris, this would be represented by starting at an advanced level, forced to adapt to the increased velocity at which the pieces are falling, but with no point advantage, thereby putting one at a disadvantage against another player, who also starts with no points, but at a level of easier speed. In this situation, success is still possible, though significantly more difficult to achieve, kind of like every 'rags to riches' story you've ever heard (though Tetris doesn't seem to account for anomalies like Anna Nicole Smith, who somehow used her vagina to warp to a level higher, or at least a higher score, than 99% of us ever reach).

The previous statement begs an interesting question. While the object of Tetris is fairly clear (amassing the highest score possible), the point of life is rather elusive. However, I think these two quantifiers are more similar than they seem. We all want to achieve the highest "score" possible in life, though what that score represents is subjective to each of us. For some it is money. For others, love. For many, spirituality. But I think the smartest people - and the best Tetris players - realize the point is the experience of playing the game.

In life, as in Tetris, one cannot expect to play on forever. When examined from a distance, both Tetris and life seem repetitive, going on infinitely. However, one must realize that even the most skilled Tetris player will sooner or later reach a level where the pieces are falling at a rate higher than that at which they can be moved, therefore practically assuring imminent demise. This is like old age. Also, reckless behavior and careless play practically guarantees a swift conclusion to the game, which countless rock stars and celebrities have shown us also to be true in life. Even randomness and chaos are accounted for by the ever-looming possibility of your stoned buddy tripping over the power cord and ending your game abruptly, like a head on collision that kills you instantly. Nothing is guaranteed. And of course, in both life and in Tetris, suicide is always an option (though the Tetris version of hitting the down button and intentionally stacking blocks seems much less unpleasant).

In a world where the majority of our video games feature hundreds of variations upon the mindless activity of hunting and killing entities that don't even exist, we should be thankful that a young Russian mathematician gave us the gift of Tetris, which might just be the clearest game console manifestation of the mysteries and secrets of life that has ever come into being.

Though, I think there might also be much to learn from the fable of the two plumbers who run madly through a cartoon world, devouring mushrooms and stomping on evil turtles in their quest to save a lame and ungrateful princess.

Behold Zen.

(NOTE: this is a streamlined version of a larger essay I'm working on concerning the same subject.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Return to the Whole Foods Customer Moron Suggestion Board

It has been quite awhile since the last time we witnessed this condemnation of free speech, so I thought I'd share with you the latest round of customer suggestions, Whole Foods responses, and BlaggBlogg rebuttals. If you're not already familiar with it, Whole Foods is this not very supermarket where Guilty Rich White Liberals pay exorbitant prices for groceries in order to still have one thing in their worthless lives that doesn't stand in direct contradiction to the Hippie Ideals they sold out about four SUV's ago.

Suggestion #1

Customer - Today I found that there were excessive amounts of NaCl in both the Chipotle Chicken and the Lentil Soup. Please be advised.

Whole Foods' Response - We're sorry these items weren't to your tasting. We follow our recipes faithfully and they are usually very consistent in flavor. We hope these items meet your approval in the future.

What I Would Have Said - First of all, Mr. Wizard, why can't you just say 'salt' like every other normal human being in the world? Do you think your vast knowledge of the Periodic Table of the Elements is somehow going to better convey your meaningless opinion that the soup/chicken was "a little too salty" on this ONE DAY. Do you bother to fire off an angry missive every time some poor chef puts a little too much paprika in your dinner? I bet your children seriously fucking hate you. "Dad, could you pass the salt please?" "It's sodium chloride, Timmy. Now go to your room and don't come back until you can list all the elements with their respective numbers and positions."

Suggestion #2

Customer - In the United Kingdom, all vegetarian goods are marked with a "V" sticker. It really makes finding them so much easier, and I'd appreciate it if you tried doing this.

Whole Foods' Response - This is a very good idea. While it would be quite an undertaking for us, we'll see what we can do.

What I Would Have Said - Well, in the UK, people also drive on the wrong side of the road and eat food that tastes like blended up garbage. That's cause its a DIFFERENT FUCKING COUNTRY. If you like it so much better back there, go freeze your ass off in an overpriced London flat while listening to the unending rain and feeling glad that you were able to easily locate your Tofuburger. Also, do you seriously need "vegetarian" food to be marked as such? I'm a carnivore and all, but I think it would pretty fucking easy to identify whether the vegetables I'm browsing are in fact vegetarian. Rather than making us stay late after our shift applying retarded stickers to all the products, try this little tip: if its a meat product, its not vegetarian. If you're still confused, try taking a gander at that little thing on the label that says "ingredients". Remember, no meat = vegetarian.

Suggestion #3

Customer - Could you please stock Boston Cream Pie flavored non-dairy yogurt?

Whole Foods' Response - Sorry, but we couldn't find this flavor in any of the lines we carry.

What I Would Have Said - Do you just wander around the Earth, making completely random and highly unlikely requests for things that probably don't even exist? While you're at it, why don't you see if Whole Foods would mind stocking Spicy Tuna Roll flavored low fat pita chips. Try asking Jesus next time.

Suggestion #4

Customer - I think that you should have dried peaches in the dried foods section and I think you should give tofu samples out.

Whole Foods' Response - We have not been able to find un-sulfured dried peaches that taste good. We will keep looking. And tofu samples are available at the salad bar.

What I Would Have Said - I think that a hurricane shouldn't have come and devastated a large portion of our country and I think our electoral process is patently ridiculous and I think all dogs should go to heaven and I think the world would be so much better if people could simply realize that more good comes from charity and kindness than war and agression. But am I scrawling down these opinions on a suggestion card so some minimum wage lackey can conjure up a half-assed PR response in place of offering an actual solution to my grievances? No, I'm not, so go back to pilfering the salad bar for as many free tofu samples as you can shove down your throat, you whiny hippie.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Chronological History of My Career Goals

Age 1 - Professional Breast Milk Drinker

Age 3 - Whatever it is Mr. Toad Did, Basically Just Driving Around Having Wild Rides and What Not

Age 5 - President (or a Transformer)

Age 7 - Ninja

Age 9 - Professional Baseball Player for the SF Giants Who Is Also a Ninja In the Off-season

Age 11 - Bart Simpson Portrait Maker or Skating Rink Owner (So I could show those fuckers.)

Age 13 - Ninja

Age 15 - Male Prostitute or Guitarist for Weezer (these are ironically related)

Age 17 - Professional Assassin or Psychadelic Shaman Hippie (don't ask)

Age 19 - Depressed Drunken Gonzo Writer Who Owns a Bar

Age 21 - Paul Thomas or Wes Anderson

Age 23 - B- List Blogebrity (YES!)

Age 25 - Not Work In an Office-er or Professional Breast Milk Drinker

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