Monday, January 31, 2011

I watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition for the first time and I had some thoughts on that

I'm sorry, I don't mean to keep throwing blog posts out at you like they're beads at Mardi Gras and you're showing me your tits, but I forgot I wanted to talk about Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Now, as I understood it, what they do on this show is go to some especially impoverished family who also happens to do really great things and give them a new house, right? So if you live on $12 a day and you also just happen to be raising 13 Down Syndrome kids and you also started a soup kitchen in your garage, EMHE shows up and builds you a new house and then you cry and everyone cries.

SO last night I watched this show for the first time ever and the focus is on this family where one of the daughters died because she was texting while driving. And so now - I am not kidding about this - now they tow her death car around to schools and talk about not texting and driving. I mean, that's a good message and everything, but it seems a little morbid to me. Plus I don't know how you can text and drive. I can't even text and walk. I'm not a teenage girl, though.

There were so many weird things about this show that it's hard to know where to start. But here are a few:

1. Partway through this show, who shows up? JUSTIN BIEBER. I know, right? What the fuck? He signed a pledge not to text and drive. And then he had the Surviving Daughter and her pals out to NYC to watch him perform. Oddly, the whole episode seemed to be about Justin Bieber. OH he has a movie coming out. So it was basically a long-form ad for his new movie.

2. The family looked like they were doing OK! There were pictures of them on their trip to Turkey! I've never been to Turkey!

3. In their new house, one wall was all decorated up with stuff about not texting and driving. Super morbid! How would you like to be reminded of how your daughter died every day? Like if your brother died of a heart attack and one wall of your house was painted with the words HEART ATTACK or HEART ATTACKS KILL KILL KILL and pictures of hearts and stuff? You'd freak out, right?

4. They got like a life-size bronze statue of a bull and built a BBQ grill into it! And the SMOKE COMES OUT THE BULL'S NOSTRILS!!! SO FUCKING WEIRD.

5. The Wife, who has watched this show in the past, points out that they always do the same thing: they find one thing that someone's interested in and then blow it way way way out of proportion. Like say you happen to mention casually to the EMHE guys that you saw "The Godfather" once and thought it was a pretty good movie. Well, they'll run with that and Ty will go "You know, Jackson or whatever your name is is really into The Godfather! Let's build a Godfather-themed Italian restaurant right into the house!!!!!!"

6. Really, did they run out of single moms who take in tons of kids and raise them? They're all good? Are we down to families whose daughter died while texting and who, coincidentally, could use a new house to keep their shit in when they're not busy jetting off to Turkey?

Notes from this weekend

After band practice on Saturday I had a couple of beers with some friends at Shotwell's and that was cool and whatnot but everyone had to go so it broke up around 7. I was walking home and I passed Makeout Room so I decided to stop for a pint. It was a little crowded, nothing too crazy, and then these kids - like 12 or 13-year-olds - start playing covers like "Back in the USSR" and "7 Nation Army" and fucking "Purple Haze" and I surmised it was some kind of School of Rock thing because they do those shows every once in a while with kids playing covers. I don't want to sound like a dick but they weren't that great.

So I noticed that the bartender didn't charge me and I decided to get another pint and I said "You know, you didn't charge me for that last beer" and she was all "It's an open bar" and I was like WTF? But you don't really look a gift horse in the mouth. So then I got out me trusty phone and looked up the Makeout Room's calendar and it was right about the time when I saw it said "Private Party" that a guy onstage told everyone to wish Tony a happy birthday. So Happy Birthday, Tony, and thanks for the beers.

So then yesterday we had brunch at Nopa and it was great and everything but it was also kinda like being in a magazine. I mean, everyone was totally stylish and hip and wearing sunglasses and shit and I kinda felt like I was maybe not cool enough for brunch at Nopa. Good Bloody Mary, though. Do you capitalize Bloody Mary? Then we went to Beach Chalet and then we went to the Fireside and then we went home.

Today I'm fighting with some asshole on the Internet. Fucking Mondays, am I right?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Charlie Sheen is my spirit animal

What's your morning routine? Get up, shower, maybe a bagel w/ lowfat chive, and so on? Mine's like that too, plus I always check on how Charlie Sheen's doing. Big night Tuesday!

Sources who were present at Charlie's house during his 36-hour party tell us ... after a man delivered a briefcase full of cocaine to the house early Wednesday morning, Charlie pulled out a small green pipe and started smoking cocaine continuously ... for hours.

There are many wild details, but we're told eventually Charlie ended up in his theater room with one of the porn stars with whom he was partying. They watched 3 hours of porn, as Charlie critiqued the action on the screen.

We're told Charlie, who fancies himself as a porn connoisseur, was questioning his companion about angles and body shots. We're told the porn star was "surprised" by the depth of Charlie's knowledge.

Hey-O!!!! You know what's fun to do with porn stars? WATCH PORN. I bet they never get tired of that! It's like watching "House" with a doctor! They're all "That doesn't really happen. It's not like that." And you're all "SHUT UP I'M WATCHING HOUSE."

So many great things about this story. Briefcase full of cocaine! Theater room! Small green pipe! Stars! They're just like us!

Charlie Sheen is just a sick symbol of our celebrity-obsessed, overly permissive culture Fuck that! Charlie Sheen just has enough cash to PARTY BETTER THAN YOU. You know you'd do the same thing if you got paid 10 million dollars per episode or whatever for your shitty sitcom!

(Unless you're a girl. Then you can replace "briefcase full of cocaine" with "Louboutins" and "watching porn" with "some other sexist thing I can't think of right now.")

But really, Charlie Sheen, where do you go from here? I mean, once you spend a whole night and the next day smoking a briefcase full of cocaine with porn stars while watching porn for three hours, what tops that? Skydiving naked with 8 porn stars while injecting cocaine into your eyes? WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU, CHARLIE SHEEN? PULL UP A CHAIR AND TELL US ALL ABOUT IT.

P.S. Kacey Jordan? CALL ME!!!!

[UPDATE!!!!!!!!!! Charlie went to rehab. I'm not gonna lie; I'm a little disappointed. I was looking forward to SIX porn stars and 48 straight hours of partying.]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This blog post is at Threat Level Heather Grey


Starting Thursday, the Homeland Security Department will begin phasing out the nation's color-coded terror-threat system, ending it entirely by April 27, officials tell the Associated Press. The five-tiered warnings were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The "national threat level" has not changed since 2006 -- yellow, or "elevated," the middle rating. For all domestic and international flights, it has been one level up at orange, or "high."

Well, thank God for that. I know I've been in a state of TOTAL PANIC AND FEAR since we went to Threat Level Orange in 2006. Oh, wait, it was yellow. Unless you're flying. Then it's Orange. Unless it's Delta. Then it's Red. Just kidding. I've been in a state of total panic and fear my whole life. The threat of being blowed up was a nice break in the day for me.

The whole Threat Level thing now seems like such an artifact from the Early Aughts when we were busy buying duct tape and plastci sheeting and alerting the authorities anytime someone in a turban was in front of us in line at BK. It was obviously part of the government's hamhanded attempts to keep us in abject terror all the time. It worked on some people! They're just watching Glenn Beck now.

Wait, I had another point to make. What was it. Oh, right, it's this: There is absolutely, without a doubt, going to be another terrorist attack in our lifetimes. That's because (1) there are terrorists, and (2) they're crazy and want to be on the news. Also, our foreign policy increases the risk of terrorism. Oh, that was stupid! ANYWAY, point being, there's no way to be 100% safe from terrorist attack, even though that's what we expect of our government and what we impliedly hope we're getting by subjecting ourselve to the ridiculous Security Theater at the airport and whatnot. Hell, you're more likely to die by falling than die in a terrorist attack.

So what are we replacing our Threat Level Peach system with? Obviously, we won't want to scare people or anything, right? Right?
The Obama administration plans to replace the widely mocked color-coded terror warnings with a simpler, two-tier system: “imminent threat” or “elevated threat,” with more detailed information.

Oh, that's just fucking great. Now we have two choices: "Elevated Threat" and "You Are All Going to Die So Say Goodbye to Your Loved Ones Right Now." Much better.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Bachelor: Crazy Michelle Is Upsetting the Herd

Let us now rejoin Human Lump of Oatmeal Brad and his quest to find a mate. Crazy Michelle begins the show by demonstrating her suitability for the job by giving herself a black eye in her sleep. Around here, we call that I Get the Kids and the House and the Restraining Order When the Cops See This. Oh boy.

Brad goes on a Solo Date with Chantal. I like Chantal! She’s cute and doesn’t seem fucked up, so something’s wrong here. First helicopter sighting of the season! They are off to Catalina Island to have a romantic walk on the beach walk on the floor of the ocean like they’re in some cheap sci-fi movie. WTF? Chantal is terrified of the water but she gamely dons the plastic headgear and goes under and promptly drowns. No, not really. No one ever dies on this show. After that odd interlude concludes, it’s time for the classic Romantic Dinner on the Beach. Chantal’s been married before but “totally” wants to get married again. Unfortunately, Human Lump of Oatmeal is the only Available Mate within arm’s reach. STAY ALIVE CHANTAL I WILL MARRY YOU IF MY CURRENT THING DOESN’T WORK OUT.

Group date time! They’re off to appear with Dr. Drew on Loveline. Dr. Drew now has a clause in his contract where he has to appear on every reality show. Have you ever listened to Loveline? It’s kind of awesome. Every single chick who calls in was abused as a child. And then they talk about anal sex. Apparently being abused as a child is the leading cause of listening to Loveline. Anyway, disappointingly, none of Our Gals want to talk about anal lube or shooting heroin into someone’s penis. Instead, Dr. Drew lamely asks them who’s cheated. Everyone lies except for one chick. Dr. Drew falls asleep from boredom.

Off to a Hot Tub Party at Brad’s pad. Why are some chicks wearing swimsuits and some not? The Wife explains: “Because some of them think they’re fat and aren’t getting into a bikini next to Miss Two Percent Body Fat.” Brad starts having Alone Time with the chicks in like 30-second increments and meanwhile it’s getting all Lord of the Flies in the hot tub and soon somebody’s going to freak out. Britt gets the rose. Wasn’t she the one who was so uptight she wouldn’t hold hands like 2 episodes ago? Now she’s doing Personal Endoscopy on Human Lump with her tongue.

Time for a Solo Date with Crazy Michelle. More helicopters!

Where are they going? Hopefully to a State Facility where Michelle can get the help she badly needs. No, they’re landing on a skyscraper in LA and now they’re going to rappel down the side. Those helmets will certainly be helpful in a 60-story fall. Natch, CM’s afraid of heights. This should cure that.

(SIDE NOTE: Want to rappel over a steep cliff and be totally safe with no problems at all? This eHow article should tell everything you need to know. LOLz.)

Then they take a swim in the obligatory pool and she unhinges her jaw and swallows him whole. On to the rooftop pool dinner. Brad wants to meet CM’s daughter, who is apparently named either Braille or Brill. Maybe he wants to find out if the black eye thing is genetic.

Oh Christ, another meeting with the therapist? Waaaah, Doctor! Should I buy whole milk or 2%? Is Animaniacs any good? Do you like this shirt? Jesus Christ, Brad, grow the fuck up. It's a reality show, not dissociative identity disorder.

Time for the Cocktail Party. Funeral Director reminds Brad that she exists by jumping on him. Whoa, Holy Botox, Batman! I just noticed that her forehead is frozen solid. She makes Nicole Kidman look like a shar-pei. Oh no, now Chantal and her Man’s Chunky Watch are crying! Everyone’s a little emotional. It’s from drinking 24/7. Trust me.

Who gets cut? Marissa! Who the fuck is Marissa? Also Stacey the bartender and Lindsay the pre-Raphaelite first grade teacher and some other chick. Just marry Lifetime Emily and get it over with.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More about movies: Movie quotes in real life

The (I'm sure; not speaking from personal experience) lovely and charming Zoë Stagg speaks on a topic that I've thought often about but which has never bubbled up to the surface of my blog-consciousness, viz., movie quotes that have made it into your regular everyday speech:

This isn’t your “that’s not a knife,” no sirs and ma’ams. This list is lines from movies that are so utilitarian they have sneaked, in whatever paraphrased form, into my actual script o’ life. To qualify, they not only have to roll like Skippy 100% Natural, and they have to have an under-the-radar secret memory smile to them.

Recognizable, sure, some of them, but they weren’t the taglines on any posters. Google was not molested to ensure their accuracy, they’re presented as I remember—and use them.

1. “Come friends, let us away.” Martin Sheen’s not-president character in The American President. USE: When you’re in a group of people doing that “where should we go eat, are we getting in cars, can someone make a plan please?”

2. “That’s a decision every girl has got to make for herself.” Clueless. What. Come at me. Cher, talking about Tai’s virginity, I think. USE: To agree to disagree, to aid and abet questionable taste—yours, or otherwise.

3.“Why am I back here on brain detail?” Infinitely quotable, Pulp Fiction. But this is the most infinitely usable scrap from the Martin’s brains scene. USE: Hello, charmingly friend, can you lend a hand here on this disgusting task that should be more your bag than mine, hey and thanks!

4. “Yeah. I hate bugs.” More a cautionary reminder to myself from the “what should our prom theme be?” scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. USE: When you find yourself making a particularly inane and insufferably vapid proclamation, scold yourself with this.

5. “This is it. Don’t get scared now.” The Kevin McAllister mantra of bravery, Home Alone. USE: Constantly, in situations of peril.

Honorable Mention: “Put. The bunny. Down.” One of the finest American action films with an unbelievable cast. Con Air. From the belly of the plane scene? I remember fire. USE: Cease your irritation of me and your overstepping of my patience and cut it OUT.

SO? Come at me with your quotes. It’d be a whole lot cooler if you did…

I will! I will!

1. "Well, this is all very good news. And this is empty."

From "Where the Buffalo Roam," a semi-forgotten 1980 classic in which Bill Murray plays Hunter S. Thompson SO WELL. This line is typically deployed when, well, something is very good news; the "this is empty" part is a vestigial remnant from the film (where it refers, as it happens, to an empty cocaine vial) and no longer carries any meaning, but sticks around because it was there originally. Like an appendix or male nipples.

2. "I get very greedy with my supplies once we're airborne."

Same movie. Used whenever there is a fixed quantity of something and you've offered some up, for the last time.

3. "I will not be ignored, Dan."

From "Fatal Attraction," of course. Used to overdramatize situations in which someone is not giving you your proper heed. Example: You're talking to someone who is watching TV/playing on their phone/asleep and they aren't listening to you.

4. "I shouldn't have drunk all that cough syrup this morning."

Bill Murray again, this time in "Stripes," one of those movies I've seen a double digits number of times. Used whenever one groggily does something stupid, i.e., turns on empty coffee maker, puts keys in fridge.

5. "This kind of thing is very common in show business."

Not from a movie, actually, but from "Seinfeld," a Quote Factory in its own right. I tend to break this out whenever I am telling The Wife about some perceived incident of flirting with some girl in the world. She has her own ideas about whether any actual flirting ever occurs.

Speaking of The Wife, she has a few of her own:

1. "Now, is that civilized? Clearly not."

"Gremlins 2." Used when something is clearly uncivilized.

2. "You're a handsome devil. What's your name?"

This is The Wife's go-to line when meeting a new baby. Usually male, I guess. It's from "Grosse Pointe Blank."

3. "I saved Latin. What did you do?"

Used when someone is bragging about something. From the second-best movie of all time, "Rushmore."

What are yours? Do tell.

TK's Sober Movie Reviews

Let me get this out front first: As I alluded to on Twitter, I fucked up Sober January. Actually, I fucked it up repeatedly, but last weekend (when I posted about it on Twitter), it was totally and completely The Wife’s fault. We were at this art show thing and I was sulking around with my Sparkling Water and The Wife finally browbeat me into having wine so we could have Fun. Which then did ensue and ended up in a lengthy, late-night dinner for 5 at Foreign Cinema with lots more wine and booze and then the Smoking of the Cigarettes and the Hailing of the Cabs and then the Further Unnecessary Drinking.

And then, once it’s ruined, why not just carry on the rest of the weekend? Hey, Miss America’s on!

(I only watched – LITERALLY – like 10 minutes of it and could totally tell that Miss Texas was going to win. Also, I saw a little bit of the talent competition and some chick did a Double Ventriloquist thing with 2 dummies that was mindblowing and immensely sad at the same time. It almost made me cry.)

What was my point? Oh yeah, anyway, back on Sober January again and you know what happens during Sober January? You watch a lot of movies. So here are my uninformed bullshit takes on what we’ve seen, in roughly reverse chronological order:

Three Kings: I guess David O. Russell’s original vision for this film, which concerns the Gulf War for Oil and came out in 1999, will forever be tainted by, um, subsequent events. I found it impossible to not think about what was coming 10+ years after this film is set. Anyway, it’s pretty good. Ice Cube actually does a serviceable job with the acting. The ending’s a little too pat, but that’s Hollywood. (Humorously, David O. Russell is known in Hollywood as “David O. Asshole.” No point; I just think that’s funny.) George Clooney plays Major George Clooney.

Please Give: Yes, it’s another film about whiny, navel-gazing, self-involved Manhattanites, but I actually really liked it and I don’t know why. Maybe Amanda Peet. Amanda Peet rules. Also, there’s a kid who turns in a great performance. The message of the film seems to be that joy comes from material things, which is refreshingly honest. Or maybe that’s not the message, I don’t know. Anyway, there’s not a lot of story but the dialogue is pretty great and Amanda Peet is in it.

Amanda Peet is startled while looking for something to wear in her next low-budget, character-driven indie.

Catfish: This was awesome. It’s a documentary about meeting people on the Internet and GASP maybe everyone is not what they seem. It’s hard to say too much without giving the whole thing away. There is one scene of incredible tension that rivals anything in some retarded Michael Bay action thriller, and there aren’t even any explosions in it. Anyway, if you use the Internet, you will enjoy this film.

Heathers: I hadn’t seen it in a long time, and The Wife had never seen it. I was anticipating a fun-filled romp through the past, but The Wife fell asleep and I found out that this movie really doesn’t hold up well at all.

The Ghost Writer: Now, this was pretty great. It’s sort of a political suspense thriller which may not sound that exciting but it really is. Reappearance of the teacher from “Rushmore”! Anyway, totally worth watching.

Monsoon Wedding: Pretty much exactly what I expected. It’s a chick flick from India. It was fine. Better than some chick flicks, I’ll tell you that much. It was better than “Love and Other Drugs.” That’s a chick flick, right? It wasn't very good.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Bachelor: Dead to Me

If there’s one thing Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted, it would be for a blandly handsome white man with permanent stubble to be on TV every week picking his next wife from a stable of desperate, attention-craving white women, so YOUR DREAM HAS BEEN REALIZED DR. KING and let’s get on with it.

Nanny Ashley is awarded a solo date and responds with a sound audible only to dogs. Crazy Michelle is ANGRY, a theme we will return to again and again tonight. So off Brad and Ashley go. Is Ashley wearing Silly Bandz? That seems about right. Like many LA daters, they go to Studio A at Capitol Records to record a cover of Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose.” This reminds Ashley of her Dead Father. As we shall see, if you don’t have a Dead Person in your life, you are SOL in this episode. Anyway, they go down the hall and there’s REAL SEAL singing the same song! What a coincidence! Then Mr. Seal plays some other song no one cares about. They go and have dinner on the roof of the Capitol building and she tells him about her Dad dying and then they slow dance and make out. I don’t get why it was such a big secret. Also, it appears that Brad is only capable of kissing while slow dancing.

Big Group Date with Crazy Michelle and a bunch of others. They go film some faux action movie scenes and it’s mostly boring except when he’s making out with the Funeral Director and Crazy Michelle shoots crazy eyes at them. She is VERY ANGRY. Off to another in what will be a season-long series of rooftop pools. Chantal gets to try out her Dead Father story and see if it beats Ashley’s. It seems she hadn’t talked to him in 15 years and calls him up and he was dead. That’s better than Ashley’s!

Back at the house, Lifetime Emily is telling the Dead Racecar Driver story and JESUS CHRIST THIS EPISODE HAS MORE DEATH THAN A SMALLPOX EPIDEMIC.

Cut back to the pool. Brad is chatting up Alli. The girl, not the obesity pill. It’s fine and blah blah blah whatever when EEE EEE EEE there’s Crazy Michelle stalking up on them!!! Run!! Save yourselves!! Apparently no one died on Michelle, so she’s SOL tonight. Morticia gets a rose. She’s obvi in the lead because she gets to see dead people every day!

Solo date w/ Lifetime Emily. What is she wearing? Some kind of gramma shawl thrown over a Laura Ashley bedspread jumper. They get jetted off to Santa Maria and have dinner in a hay-covered barn lit by candles! That thing is going to go up like, I don’t know, like a hay-covered barn with candles everywhere. Perhaps sensing her own imminent fiery death, Lifetime breaks down and tells the Legend of Racecar Ricky, which ends, maybe, in a plane crash? “They flew there, and the plane never landed there,” she says. Some say it still flies through the night skies! If you listen closely to the wind, you can hear the sound of a 750 horsepower V-8! Lifetime gets a rose because everyone who has a Death Story gets a rose. Michelle’s Dad should sleep with one eye open tonight!

Brad is pacing around the Bachelor Mansion and looking troubled. Here comes a Guest Therapist With an Accent to sort him out! This guy is clearly angling for his own Dr. Oz-type show. He tells Brad about his father dying. Not really, he tells him some bullshit about opening his heart or something. I wasn’t really listening.

We’re getting there. Cocktail Party. Brad chats with Alli, who has a good story about Dad cheating on Mom and surprising her with a new sister but disappointingly, no one dies in the story so Brad kind of loses interest. HERE COMES CRAZY MICHELLE throwing herself in his path. He manages to get away and is having Feelings Time with Morticia when Michelle creeps up AGAIN. She demands an explanation about WHY HE’S KISSING THOSE OTHER GIRLS. I don’t know where to start with this crazy bitch.

Oh no, it seems that Madison is leaving! She takes out her Vampire teeth to show she’s serious. She may not be Here for the Right Reasons.

It’s finally fucking time for the Rose Ceremony. Madison books in the middle of it because she feels like the other girls deserve it more. Brad, don’t look so concerned. She’s a model in NYC rocking some serious sideboob. Her options include rock stars and investment bankers. She’s gonna be fine, trust me.

Yadda yadda yadda all the usuals get a rose. The last one goes to Stacey. Who the fuck is she? Is she on this show? This week’s cuts: Older Chick and Tiny Mouth. Between the two of them, they show off the 2 ways to leave: Angry Defiance and Weepy Sadness. There is a better life waiting for all of us.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I fucking love Ricky Gervais.

So it appears some people are really mad at Ricky Gervais about how mean he was to the Important Celebrities last night and now they won't let him host the Golden Globes again. Before Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes, it never crossed my mind to watch it. If they can him, I can't think of any reason to watch it again. He makes the fucking show.

Rumor on the street is that he's already been fired; his reps say, winningly, that that's "rubbish." I hope it's not true.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Better older/better younger

Last night I watched "Heathers" with The Wife because she'd never seen it (partly at least, I suppose, because she's 10 years younger than me) and you know what? It wasn't nearly as good as I remembered. I guess some movies are best watched stoned with 8 other people in a dorm room. A lot of what I took for edgy and alternative at the time now seems sadly dated and forced. She didn't like it much either. I guess "Heathers" doesn't stand up so well.

Anyway, that made me start thinking. What's better when you get older? What's worse?

Better when you get older

1. Food and wine (the things, not the magazine)

When you're really, really young, you think creamed celery is pretty much the bomb. Then you have an annoying I'll-only-eat-white-food phase. Then McDonald's seems like the Best Fucking Thing Ever. Then what, college cafeteria food? Bitch please. You have no idea how to eat until you build up a palate that comes from years of experimentation. (Some people longer than others, obvs.) Same thing with wine. You don't even like wine when you first start drinking. Then you think Turning Leaf is basically Stag's Leap on sale. It takes a long time to figure out what good is.

[DISCLAIMER: This doesn't apply if you're some Richie Rich who grew up in Atherton and went to the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday nights like it wasn't no thang. If so, I hate you/am jealous.]

2. Your parents

Those nagging sacks of flesh that use to exist solely to drive you batshit insane slowly morph into Intelligent Adults with Thoughts and Feelings. Sometimes they even say something rational or sensical. Not often, but once in a while.

3. Sex

Remember how hard it was to learn to drive a stick? And the first time you tried in the parking lot somewhere you kept stalling and stalling and you could never make the car go? And now you don't even think about it and you can flow through the gears like a professional driver without even thinking about it? And because you have the basics down so pat, you could basically do everything without thinking about it and be able to play with the radio or even fix your hair while you're driving.

Now, I wouldn't drive for 3 hours around town in a stick anymore, but that first hour is still fun.

4. New York City

You know what makes New York City fun? MONEY. You know what you don't have when you're young? MONEY.

[Again, if you're some trust fund kid who grew up on the Upper East Side or whatever, more power to you. I'm talking generally here.]

5. Baseball

There is something about the casual rhythm of baseball that appeals to me more the older I get. When you're young, your sugar-addled, gnat-like attention span gets frustrated if something doesn't happen every 3 seconds. Now that I'm a little older, I appreciate the break.

Better when you're younger

1. Drugs

Yayyyyyy! Let's stay up for 3 days! Stroking your hair and blissing out to Happy Mondays is SO MUCH FUN. Best of all, I can stay up until 3 am shrooming and then go to work the next day!

2. Law & Order

The repetition is somehow lulling and calming. It is a replacement for the gentle cycles of childhood. Instead of Nap Time, it's Misleading Suspect Time. Instead of Snack Time, it's Courtroom Scene Time. Only as you get older do you realize that watching a show in which every episode is essentially the same gets a little unsatisfying.

3. Picking up chicks

When you get a little older, you'll learn that it's not as much fun. Especially getting them to take the candy and get into the van. JOKING. JOKING.

4. House parties

Younger: OMG SO MUCH FUN 3 kegs drinking all night tons of people who's that who woke up in the bathtub LOL there's someone passed out on the kitchen floor

Older: Who are these people in my house? Is that guy opening my 1989 Pichon-Baron and pouring it into a plastic cup?

5. Football

Something about football doesn't appeal to me as much as when I was younger. I'm theorizing there's a thing where baseball gets better and football gets worse the older you get. I don't know why.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Sort of Crazy Mother

I'm not a parent (yet, anyway) so I don't know shit about child-raisin' and I'm not about to sit here and tell parents they're Doing It Wrong (except when I see parents who are Clearly Doing It Wrong at Target or whatever but I keep my mouth shut and don't say "You shouldn't call your child 'you dumb little fuck,' it's bad for their development") but I had kind of a bad reaction to Law Professor Amy Chua's child-rearing techniques, as explicated in this article, provocatively titled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" (an excerpt from her new book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother"). In this scene, 7-year-old daughter Lulu is having a tough time learning a piece on piano, despite working on it "nonstop for a week." The following drama ensues:

Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu's dollhouse to the car and told her I'd donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn't have "The Little White Donkey" perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, "I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?" I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn't do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.

Jesus Christ, lady. It's the fucking "Little White Donkey," not lifesaving surgery. What the fucking fuck? And for the record, she's not being self-indulgent, you are. You're the one that wants to hear "Little White Donkey," not her.

Clearly there are cultural differences at play and maybe us dumb Westerners just don't understand and I guess if you raise a child like this they probably will get good grades or whatever but I can't help but wonder at what cost.

Amy Chua says her children were never allowed to be in a school play (or, for that matter, "complain about not being in a school play"). Guess Amy Chua's daughters aren't going to be actresses! Sorry if I'm being snarky but I guess my point is if you shove kids into a super-rigid way of life that you control all the parameters of and don't let them do anything that you haven't planned for ahead of time, I can't help but think that they're maybe not going to develop a creative side the same way a kid who's maybe not treated like a trained dog would.

It's complicated and there are loads of cultural issues I'm sure I'm not sensitive to, but I kind of have a visceral reaction to calling a 7-year-old "pathetic."

UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!! - As commenter Amy suggests, as it turns out, there is more to the story than we originally thought. Apparently Law Professor Amy Chua spoke with columnist Jeff Yang over on SFGate and said, basically, that the article painted an unfair picture:

"I was very surprised," she says. "The Journal basically strung together the most controversial sections of the book. And I had no idea they'd put that kind of a title on it. But the worst thing was, they didn't even hint that the book is about a journey, and that the person at beginning of the book is different from the person at the end -- that I get my comeuppance and retreat from this very strict Chinese parenting model."

So there you go. Maybe it was taken out of context or whatever. I still maintain that calling a 7-year-old "pathetic" is not cool. That said, I also agree with Amy and fellow commenter Verbal Cupcake that many American parents aren't anything to write home about either. I guess there's got to be a middle ground between borderline child abuse and breezy abdication.

Anyway, I don't know if V.C. has kids, but I don't think Amy does, so let's all chat about this again when we all have kids. I feel sort of uncomfortable judging any parent from my childless perch. I'll do it; I just feel a little uncomfortable about it. That is all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I have recieved an email from my sister.

took the mensa test on their website. 22 out of 30. does that mean i'm a mensa? i couldn't find that info on the website. so maybe im not mensa.

Bachelor Jesus: The Girls of Galilee

It’s only Week 2 and I’m already dying over here. Why did they have to put this on during Sober January? Only 2 more weeks. I know three weeks is the 31st but that’s close enough motherfucker. Don’t make me watch this show without booze any more please.

Time for some dating! Dr. Hairflip is up first. She dons some kind of Tinkerbell-meets-Lady-GaGa getup and off they go. He drives her down an isolated dirt road where he rapes and murders her. Oh, wait, this isn’t Lifetime. They come across some kind of electrical switch which she flips and sadly is not electrocuted but instead they are at some kind of Super Creepy Carnival of the Woods that would scare the crap out of Stephen King. I mean, there is blood literally dripping from the Tornado.

(SIDE NOTE: To confirm all your worst fears about carnival rides, please consult regularly. Thank you.)

So they have some wholesome-y type fun and a big makeout session and puke up wine coolers or whatever people do at carnivals. Dr. Hairflip has an alkie dad who’s MIA and is probably the guy outside Zain’s liquors on 3rd Street. This prompts Brad to whine some more about his Absent Dad. Oh, for fuck’s sake, every fucking episode we have to hear about this deadbeat. At this point I want him to appear and go “OK!!! I’M RIGHT FUCKING HERE!!! WHAT DO YOU WANT!!??!!” Hairflip gets a rose.

Next we have 15 Crazy Bitches in a Hummer limo for what’s either a group date or a rap video. It’s some kind of bullshit Red Cross thing to encourage people to give blood. I’ve already slit my wrists so Mission Accomplished. So they’re filming fake PSAs. Ugh, this is painful to watch. Britt says she doesn’t want to do the threesome scene because she’s a food writer from Woodinville, Virginia, but then she basically makes Girls Gone Wild look like Little Women and I guess Woodinville is more fun than we knew. Michelle is an Attention Whore because she’s not getting enough attention. This behavior is rewarded, just like in real life.

Now it’s off to the rooftop pool at the Roosevelt Downtown, which is a loft building that went bankrupt. Just like this show, creatively. BAM see what I did there? Anyway, Melissa the Crispy Waitress is embroiled in some kind of conflict with Raichel. Michelle wants to dissect him and peel away the layers. So do we all, Michelle. So do we all.

Solo date with Jackie the Emotionally Underdeveloped Artist Who Needs a Nose Job. It is to be her very own “Pretty Woman Experience”! Except getting paid to fuck strangers. They go to the Hollywood Bowl and have dinner on stage and talk. Jackie says she never had a boyfriend in college but can’t bring herself to tell him she was a LUG. She gets a rose for some reason. Then SURPRISE!!! Train appears. Now they have to listen to Train play. I know what you’re thinking: “This isn’t a commercial for something or the receptionist’s desk. Why is Train playing?” Oddly, they don’t kill Train and then themselves like any sane person would do. Man, I don’t get paid enough to listen to this.

Time for the Cocktail Party, a perfect end to a day of boredom and loathing. Michelle swoops in to grill Brad about his dietary habits and fave coffee. She’s crazy, which I like. Then some time alone with Lifetime Movie Emily. Blah blah blah. When are you gonna tell him about Racecar Baby, Emily? Spring it on him after the engagement, that’s the ticket.

More Crispy Melissa-Raichel fighting. Raichel says “Jesus does love me. That’s why I will stay.” She is apparently on a different dating show! Bachelor Jesus! “On this date, I thought we would feed all of Echo Park with this loaf of artisan bread and then take a ride on my magic carpet! I will grant you three wishes. You may not wish for additional wishes.” That’s how Jesus works. (NOTE TO ABC: THIS IS MY IDEA DO NOT STEAL IT.)

Oh hey, here come Roberto and Ali to see who is Here for the Right Reasons! Ali lost her dime store extensions and now looks like a Real Live Girl. They will interview the potential candidates for the job of Future Wife and see who measures up. Knowing Ali and Roberto, I imagine the first question might be “Can you help us with the TV Guide crossword? What is Cheers star Ted?”

Finally, God help us, time for the cuts. Bye to both troublemakers Crispy Melissa and Jesus-dating Raichel. Then Keltie, who admits she will die alone. This was her last chance. Apparently Keltie has never tried Walking Into a Bar Anywhere in America. Anyway, whatever.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's January! That's Deadpool time.

Along with celebrating the New Year and getting blackout drunk and making poor choices and whatever, another New Year's Eve tradition at Casa TK is the Annual Selecting Your Deadpool Picks for the New Year. We let it slack last year for some reason. I'm not sure why. ANYWAY, back on track this year! Let's see who we've got.

TK picked:

Zsa Zsa Gabor! Now, I should tell you that the way we score is 100 minus the person's age, so you get a lot more points for younger decedents, and if you pick someone OVER 100 years old, you actually lose points, which is as it should be. NEVERTHELESS, sometimes only one person in a given pool in a given year actually dies, so I'm feeling pretty comfortable picking one nonagenarian once in a while. BONUS: She appears to be in poor health!

Elizabeth Taylor. I tend to pick her regularly, but that old warhorse keeps coming back for more.

Tony Bennett. Hopefully he leaves the GRAND PRIZE in San Francisco.

Willie Mays. Sorry, Say Hey. Nothing personal, only business. I love you, man.

Jerry Stiller. I know, right?

The Wife picked:

Roger Ebert. That seems cold but I can see it.

Hal Holbrook. Solid choice, I think.

Queen Elizabeth. Charles in Charge!

Tara Reid. It's often good to pick an Obviously Troubled Younger Person. Some joker picks Lilo every year, but that bitch never dies. The problem is, you can never see it coming. Like Brittany Murphy? You can't sit here and tell me you'd pick Brittany Murphy. Heath Ledger? C'mon. Anyway, Tara's as good as any, I guess.

Liza Minelli. Bad pick. Liza Minelli actually died in 2002 and has been played by an animatronic robot ever since. Little known fact.

Guest #1, whom we shall refer to as Sigmund, picked as follows:

Michael Douglas. Canny! Doesn't he have some kind of cancer?

Dick Clark. Believe it or not, Dick Clark is still alive, even though he now vaguely resembles a male version of Madame.

Betty White. Struck down at the prime of her career. Tragic.

Margaret Thatcher. Again, I had to refer to Dead or Alive, but it appears the Iron Lady is going strong at 85.

Tracy Morgan. The oddball pick. Love it. Tracy Morgan is so intensely weird that he is just as likely to die in some kind of hot air ballooning/barbequing mishap as a drug overdose.

Guest #2, whom we shall refer to as Natasha, chose:

Hugh Hefner. This was everyone's first pick. Natasha just happened to win the draw and go first. It just seems like his year.

Muammar Qaddafi. Or Ghadafi or however we're spelling it these days. Interesting. Only 68 years old, but I guess you never know with tyrannical despots.

Kim Jong-Il. Wait a minute, Natasha. I sense a trend here.

Amy Winehouse. OK, so you're off of evil old men now. Good.

Dick Cheney. Whoops, never mind.

Finally, The Sister could only round up 3 picks, but they're pretty good:

Lindsay Lohan. Every year. Without fail.

John Cougar Mellencamp. 4 pack a day smoker? Really? I guess, oh yeah, life doesn't go on. OH SNAP.

Fidel Castro. Natasha, you missed one!

Who'd we miss? Any good ones?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A short story based on today's Trending Topics for San Francisco, at around 9:00 a.m.

Jim Harbaugh was upset. He paced his office, fuming, then grabbed his iPhone 3GS and called Vince Young, whom he findly referred to as “Huckleberry Finn,” for reasons neither of them could remember.

“Vince,” Harbaugh said. “Did you see these god damned People’s Choice Awards?”

“Maybe,” said Vince Young. “What’s up?”

“Well,” Harbaugh fumed, “I was watching and the category for Favorite Constitution came up. Can you fucking believe this shit? Britain was nominated?”

“Great Britain doesn’t have a written constitution,” Vince Young said. “What are you talking about? Are you drunk?”

“No, Vince Young, I’ve never been more sober,” Harbaugh said. “So did you see who won?”

“Was it the Netherlands?,” Vince Young asked.

“Japan!,” Harbaugh yelled. “And their constitution only dates to 1947!”

Vince Young shook his head. “Just seems wrong. Anyway, who won for Favorite Pseudonymous American Author?”

“Mark Twain,” Harbaugh replied. “But he wins about every year. At least the years that Ellery Queen doesn’t win.”

Vince Young sighed. “Anyway, #Whats4Breakfast?”

“What did you say?,” Harbaugh asked. “Did you just say ‘Hashtag what’s for breakfast,’ all strung together really fast?”

“Maybe,” Vince Young said. “#ces.”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today's Worst Groupon of the Day

$139 for One 2010 World Series MVP Edgar Renteria–Autographed Baseball, Including Shipping

Yes, we love Edgar Renteria, of course. I mean, he made $10 million in 2010 and played in, what, 70 games? True, true, he did hit 2 key home runs in the World Series, thus backing into the WS MVP award. Look, everyone, including you and me, knows that the MVP of the 2010 World Series was the Giants' pitching staff, but they can't give it to a pitching staff, so they gave it to Edgar Renteria.

Anyway, if you're just DYING to get an Edgar Renteria signed 2010 World Series baseball, here's one for $134 with free shipping. There, I just saved you five bucks. But really, why do you want an Edgar Renteria signed baseball? This is the guy who called a $1 million offer to come back to the Giants "a total disrespect." I mean, Edgar, I know you were the WS MVP and all, but you're also a 34-year-old shortstop who hit .250 and .276 in the last 2 years and has clearly lost a step fielding. I would say a mil is about right for that. Yes, it's the Giants' fault you were grossly overpaid last year, but just wearing a sash doesn't make you Miss America.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Bachelor: At least one of us had therapy to prepare for this nightmare

I actually wasn’t going to do this season until I realized that (1) it’s coming on during Sober January and because it’s SJ my life resembles that of a Bubble Boy with agoraphobia and there really won’t be much else to write about and (2) I don’t remember what 2 was. So I guess I’m stuck with it.

Chris Harrison tells us this will be the Most Shocking Season Yet! Does that mean they finally found someone normal to be on the show? Oh, no, it doesn’t. They found Brad, who’s been on the show before. That’s how bad it is. The selection of people who want to be debased on national television is so thin that we must resort to subjecting the same poor fucks to this treatment over and over.

Brad apparently “stunned and infuriated” people the last time he was on the show by – NOT MAKING THIS UP – not picking anyone at all. That’s right: America was driven to tears of rage by Brad’s refusal to marry someone he had known for 6 weeks on national TV. HOW COULD YOU FAIL US IN THIS WAY BRAD? The whole experience sent Brad into therapy. He’s better now or something.

Let’s meet some chicks! Dentist, Funeral Director, Nanny with Dead Father Issues, Executive Assistant who Has Live Father Issues and is Divorced, a self-described “Manscaper,” a Faux Vampire/Model/Obvious Child Abuse Survivor, and a Walking Lifetime Movie with a Dead Racecar Husband and a Girl named Rickie. Or Ricki. Or Rikki. This is not made plain. Because Dad was named Rickie. The Wife sums it up: “These are clearly the sociopaths from other seasons who weren’t picked to be on the show.” So mean!

Time for Brad to sit down with Chris Harrison and talk about his therapy. Blah blah blah his Dad was never around and said he was going to pick him up and then never did and then had him come live with him and then kicked him out. Brad, let me help you out:

Oh, here come the chicks he didn’t pick 3 years ago for a Fake Confrontation. They both sit with their massive engagement rocks proudly on display. As it turns out, he did not Ruin Their Lives. Chris Harrison looks a little disappointed. This shit is faker than WWE. He says they have made him a better person. That’s the Zoloft, silly!

OK, let’s meet the psychos. The first chick slaps him because America is Mad at Him and also she has anger issues and sees him as her Distant Father. I think. Nanny Ashley grabs his ass. She is a good influence on her young charges! Then we have some chick in Katy Perry shoes and a stripper dress. Ashley the Dentist flips her hair a lot and screams desperation. Madison has fake – I mean, I think they’re fake – vampire teeth. She is one big Bag of Fucked Up. I kind of love her.

Jackie the Artist wants him to pinky swear that he won’t break her heart. I’m guessing her “art” involves fingerpaints and gluing macaroni to construction paper. Desperita does a fake marriage proposal. That will make someone nervous!

Another round of 15. Jesus, this is a lot. Oh, it’s the Mortician! “I think you can make anyone look good,” Brad says. Especially the recently deceased! Jill leads right off with “I’m ready to get married.” Can’t believe she’s single! “J” says it’s her birthday. She is asking for a full name this year. Then more come. God they keep coming. Like locusts.

OK, time to meet and greet with the Ladeez. He has to explain the Last Show Bullshit over and over and over. SO FUCKING BORING. Oh, first appearance of the phrase “Here for the Right Reasons!” That’s a classic. I think I also heard “Not here to make friends” earlier. The Manscaper does a little Manscaping on his wrist. Thank God that was the extent of it. Horrific details about Male Waxing then follow. Artist Jackie is going to sing. This turns out to be not such a great idea. She is a Strong Candidate to be the Kasey of this season. Alli wants to know if her ass looks fat. Some chick keeps stalking Brad around and “stealing him away” over and over and it gets really creepy and depressing.

Lifetime Movie gets some alone time. She’s not willing to settle. Except for a loser with father issues on national TV, I guess! MADISON TIME!!!! She tries to come off as all normal which is challenging when you look like Count Chocula crossed with a Barely Legal model. She is serious about being here! And being demonstrably damaged.

OK, let’s cull some bitches. Nanny Ashley gets the First Impression Rose and gets to stay. Madison gets the Childhood Trauma Survivor Rose. Lifetime Movie and Manscaper and Dr. Hairflip and Morticia and The Slapper all get to stay. Sorry, if you have a Big Chin you will not be riding this ride. Britnee weeps openly. Believe me, Britnee, this is not the end of the road.

COMING UP THIS SEASON: We travel to exotic destinations to watch desperate crazy people hurl themselves at one another. Way to go, ABC!