Friday, October 31, 2008

Political Nuts

Election season is upon us, and with it, the standard promises, attacks, speeches, gaffes, smiles and stern looks of leadership, all culminating in the naming of one man to the highest office in all the land.

As is my wont, I was writing up a review of You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, when Patrick suggested that I do a preview of sorts, in the form of a "what-if-they-were" post. I immediately cottoned to the advice, and so present the top 5 political figures of the election year as Peanuts characters.


Hillary Clinton is...Lucy Van Pelt

Anyone who would liken Alaska governor and VP hopeful Sarah Palin to the fussbudget-imbalancing Lucy has a brain as muddled as Pigpen's underwear. Say what you will about either of these ladies, but they are outspoken, blunt, determined, and more than a tad bitchy. Hillary's pulled the football away from Bill so many times it's no surprise he likes to be on his back so much.


Joe Biden is...Shermy

Poor Shermy. He started out a star, the dink to Charlie Brown's doink, the bacon to the eggs, the butter to the biscuit, the Lee to the Thurston. But somewhere along the way, his creator realized Shermy really wasn't all that memorable, and a co-headliner became an extra. When people are placed in stations higher than the one they are genuinely meant to occupy in life, their luck will only last so long before they regress to their proper place. That's what will happen to Biden if and when Barack Obama is named president. There's nothing wrong with Biden, it's just...some people are Shermys.


Sarah Palin is...Sally Brown

Sarah and Sally love to futz with words. But Sally has an excuse--she's a child. What's Palins deal? She's from Alaska? Fuck that, polar bears are from Alaska too, and they're mad smart. Because Sally is a fictional character, a drawing, her blunders and malapropisms are endearing and hilarious. Because Sarah is a real live person who could very well be one tumble down the stairs away from the presidency, she's just frightening.



Barack Obama is...Linus Van Pelt

Oh what, you thought I was gonna say Franklin? Please, Obama wishes his pants looked that cool. Get past the surface and it's obvious that Barack shares the most common ground with Linus, the eloquent, thoughtful pontificater who to this day holds millions captive with his recitation of a Bible verse, even as he clutches a soft blue blanket in one hand. Also, Rev. Jeremiah Wright=The Great Pumpkin. Think about it.


John McCain is...the Kite-Eating Tree

Seriously, what a prick. Just waits around with a malevolent glee, waits ever so patiently for you to lose control of the kite and then opens up its wide, omnivorous yawp and munches and crunches all your hopes and dreams without a thought to the lives it has crushed and the futures it has irretrievably ruined. That tree's a bastard, too.

Charlie Brown is...



Hmm. This was a toughie. I know the obvious surface comparison would be "Joe the Plumber" but that's faulty for a couple reasons, not least that Chuck would never deem anyone a "communist". Just not in his nature. Charlie Brown is a sweet kid, maybe not so bright, never quits even in the face of inevitable catastrophe, believes in his heroes, believes in love, believes he will one day win, takes care of his infinitely cooler animal companion, and gets made fun of by the other kids on the other block who somehow just wouldn't be the same without ol' wishy-washy to push around while he's down. He's the kid who will never kick the football, but--through a mixture of stupidity and determination--can never stop trying. Isn't it obvious who Charlie Brown is?



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Can't Sue Me!

Or maybe they can. Veteran hip hop duo M.O.P. (stands for Mash Out Posse, kids) are suing the WWE for 150 grand over an unauthorized sample of their song "Ante Up" in John Cena's new entrance music. Apparently, the WWE approached M.O.P. about using a bit of the song and the Brownsville boys wisely declined. Who the hell wants their greatest song thrown into the theme tune for some garbage-ass "wrestler" who will be dead before age 50 anyway?

Remember when Cyndi Lauper actually "joined" the WWF to manage Wendi Richter and beef with Lou Albano? Wow, remember when there Vince's sewer tank actually had some female grapplers who actually, uh, wrestled? You know, women who could actually sell their moves and had some appeal beyond boobs and butt? It was a long time ago, but trust me, it happened.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Weighing Is the Hardest Part

Quitting Symbyax (and switching to Risperdal) and joining a gym. Should get me to my goal of losing 60 pounds in one year. Maybe. It's slow going. I have to remember to stay patient, and stay persistent and results will allegedly come.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Peanuts is Timeless, Pt. Several Hundred

No attack on Sarah Palin is greater than the one she inflicts on herself daily by merely being who she is.

The travails of the kicker. Every kickers helmet should have a zig zag on it.

I'd like one day to be in the position to worry about whether a woman is really, truly going to named President.

This is like my Mecca.

Philly's about to win something, you blockheads.

Sometimes we just make lists to state the mindnumbingly obvious.

ECHL, holla at ya frog!

Yusef Islam just got fitted for his zig zag shirt.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Been One Year

Since my father died. There's nothing like the loss of one of the people who helped make you possible. It brings the reality of life (and death) into exruciatingly sharp focus.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. Bounce Bounce Snoopy Bounce

I hate that the Snoopy Bounce at Camp Snoopy is for kids only. Why the hell can't a big ol' adult such as myself flop around like an idiot inside the tent?

Who's that Joe? Who's that Joe? He's just the coolin'est Joe you know.

The drawing is scary, in that if Schulz himself ever drew Lucy as a bear, that's what he'd come up with.

This is great; I maintain my fandom of Kathy Griffin despite my boyfriends rampant distaste for her self-aware comedic antics. Also, who knew Sharon Gless was still alive? Check out the official website and vote, damn you.

I still need to see this footage. SNL knows that Peanuts delivers.

Please do not compare the Chicago Bears to anything in Peanuts. I loathe the Marshmallows of the Midway.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lou Holtz Missed the Memo

Saying anything positive about Adolf Hitler is like men saying they feel "raped". It's gonna cause a shitstorm.

Friday night on ESPN, former Notre Dame head coach turned analyst Lou Holtz was talking about the Michigan football teams dire need for leadership, which led him to remark, "Ya know, Hitler was a great leader too."

Which in many ways he was. He uplifted the spirits of his nation. He boosted Germany's economy.

Of course, he also oversaw the slaughter of millions in the name of a "final solution". This tends to overshadow any positives of ones reign of power, revisionist history be damned. It also assures that just the mere mention of the name Hitler will arouse powerful emotion, whether one is making reference to the fact he was one of the most charismatic leaders in world history, or using him to equate a person with wickedness.

Holtz' words are thoughtless, as are people calling George W. Bush "worse than Hitler" or failed Boston MC/former Source magazine owner Ray Benzino calling Eminem "the rap Hitler". Hitler is now less a figure in history as a synonym for "wretched" and "vile". Which is fine. But if his time in power taught us anything, it should be that words are powerful and should be wielded with precise care. Bush is not worse than Hitler, not even close. Bush is a barely competent super-Christian with more strings attached to his back than is safe to count. Eminem did not harm the status of the black MC in hip hop, or the genre in general. Shitty music did that just fine.

I wonder if there shouldn't be a moratorium on Hitler's name altogether. Some things might just be too intense, too fraught with pain and rage.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Leanne Wins Project Runway, And There Was Much Rejoicing

Unless you're one of the commenters on Blogging Project Runway, then you think Korto got robbed because Bravo hates black people. The idea that Korto Momolu lost because of her race is actually so insane that I don't even think the people who say it believe it. Korto's line was fantastic...Leanne's was better. Deal. With. It. Also, how significant is a black person winning a reality show to the overall social scheme? Especially when the nation is on the verge of electing it's first non-white President.

Leanne Marshall took a single inspiration (waves), a limited color palette, and then proceeded to turn out ten immaculately-designed, effortlessly flowing looks. The gentle wave look was shown off in not only dresses, but gowns, shorts, skirts, and jackets. Leanne displayed damn near every possible way she could spin the source, resulting in a beautiful, enchanting collection that bested the admittedly fantastic efforts of her competitors.

Drinks are on this brother:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Portrait of the Blogger As a Dorkus Malorkus

For about three years of my adolescence--ages 17 to 19--I decided to develop my writing chops by writing reviews of magazines I'd purchased. This was not exactly a futile exercise; on average, I bought eight magazines a month. My constants were Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Guitar World and Rolling Stone. Issues of Request, B-Side, Time, Newsweek, Musician and Sports Illustrated would sneak in there every once in a while.

Scurrying through some old papers, I found not only the magazine "essays", but some snippets of unfinished fiction. Today I'll be sharing but a smidgen of what I uncovered. I hope that if nothing else, it shows how far I've come as a writer. Man, back when I was 18 I thought I was the shit with the pen.

GUITAR WORLD FEBRUARY 1996

Keith Richards on the cover, but the sell is "The Top 50 Albums of All Time". Surely "Daydream Nation" is on there. SURELY that brilliantly defiant piece of reconstructive art, that utter apotheosis of smirking grubby "pop", SURELY it is on this here list. I'm choking on the hairy fairly obvious here.

The editorial takes time out to list an additional 10 records that, in the editor's humble opinion, should have made the ultimate cut.. 3 stand out: a Link Wray comp, SRV's "Texas Flood" and...ah..."Daydream Nation." Yet Gomez made the list. Thank you, Michael Azerrad. Pwilder! Helmet do kick ass though--Gina Arnold, swim laps 'round that.

Kagle would dig this Dino Jr. shirt with the cow (like Atom Heart Mother, but then again, no). Of Metallica's 987 shirts, 67% involve metal up yer ass.

You heard the new Foo Fighters song? "Obstacle Gel"? Or "Popsicle Realm"? Hey, your guess is as good as Grohl's and he's singin' the goddamn thing.

This piece on hardcore confirms that, wow, people still read "Maximum Thought Control." Rarrwrr, smash the fags!

DETAILS APRIL 1996

A smirking Mark Wahlberg is the first layer you must peel to get to stories on Calvin "My Wife Left Me Because I Like Young Boys" Klein and Michael "My Wife Also Left Me Because I Like Young Boys" Jackson. The editorial lets off some steam about alleged misconceptions about this generation of youths as depressed and isolated and addicted to the catchy angst of Billy "My Wife Should Leave Me Because I'm Me" Corgan.

And there I was tonight, desultory and desperate, listening to the first tape of "Mellon Collie", sad machines perpetuating eternal entrapment. The place was Kagle's car. Mere feet away, the front door of the little house where Dwayne lives. I was just out there waiting while they fucked. Sure Jenn, just hang out in the cold-ass car while I get dick. I'd say that's what skinny girls do to their fat girl friends, but she's fucking fat too. I sulked then; I sulk now.

In Spain, Billy Corgan would be "Orez Corrigane".

Anka R. used to have Ihair, but now she's back in jet black. Still an expert in the sack. Knowing you get only a limited view from your back. This bitch knows dudes who hit the H-spot. Did you know "ESO" stands for EXTENDED SEXUAL ORGASM? I thought it was Jeff Lynne's new band! Here's Tim Leary claiming LSD can help us gals attain "several hundred" shake-sessions. Attainment is one thing, maintenance quite another. Ideally, orgasms and exorcisms should be damn near indistinguishable from each other.

2pac quoting Frost? Damn. Hope springs eternal. Wait, that was Thayer.

Ending this with a review praising a band for sounding "like Sonic Youth when they were still young." So now they are older and still ass is kicked.

SPIN AUGUST 1994

Perry Farrell? Ugh. Another "ugh" to this woman writing a srettel in defense and praise of Courtney EVOL: "Love shows women how to be sexy and feminine, yet still independent, intelligent and unique." Real women don't need shown jackshit by a self-aggrandizing junkie, but thanks anyway.

Hate hate HATE these fucking zits.

It may be comforting to think Cobain left the gymnasium to give someone else a fair shot at jumping rope, but more likely he just fucking hated square dancing. And he was just tired to the point of no point at all at his fuckface peers calling him "stupid" and "ugly" when he knew better than that. And the fantasies of ripping off their heads, spitting juicily in the fresh bloody stump and lighting the torso on fire to make S'mores just got TOO healthy. Delusions can be fun.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY 10/20/95

You know what snatches up any and all available cake? Thurston Moore writing this mag.

"Thanks for the A review of our new record (Washing Machine), but what's with referring to Kim Gordon's vocals as having a 'Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?' quality? Do...Aerosmith suffer this criticism as they sing their teen-angst anthems? To attribute to a woman in rock the identity of being desirous of lost youth while commending elder-statesmen to status to men is an all-too-common occurrence in rock journalism."

DETAILS JULY 1996

Bush story. Groupie offers Gavin Rossdale a BJ that would make him "see God". Kagle's ex went out with this one girl who told him, after a particularly lengthy afternoon of sexanigans, "I saw God". It was uttered in such a solemn tone that he damn near laughed in her face. Six hours they went at it! I'd be seein' shit too. John the Baptist at least.

SPIN DECEMBER 1995

Courtney Love is like the picture you took at the family reunion. You get it back and noticed this weird shiny ball-thing above everybodys head. Excited with UFO dreams, you have the photo blown up. Turns out the otherworldly craft was a ball of aluminum foil that your little compulsive bed-wetter brother was hurling around the yard. All that augmentation just to be disappointed.

I bring her up because her Lolla diaries are printed this issue. I haven't been this disgusted by the written word since that Robert Herrick collection I thumbed through in the school library last year. "They had a limo, and it was white...." It was a white limo, bitch, they had a white limo. That is how you construct that sentence. She rags on Thurston because he told her, "We're a very conservative band, Courtney". OH THE HORROR! I just want a Tootsie Roooolll.

She goes off on Thurston's child, as well.

"I've never seen his daughter smile once...Frances can kick Coco's butt any day of the week in terms of being a happy child....I wonder what it's going to be like for Coco growing up in New York with people who are just too damned cool and have too much estrogen in their home."

I admire the Spin proofreaders for the obvious effort they had to put into this article.

--------------------------------------------------------

At one end of the block there stood a store: SALVATORES SWEETS--CANDIES, ALL KINDS, read the red and white sign. The owner, manager, and sole employee was Salvatore Murillo, who was not otherwise known as Sal. He considered himself another in the eternal line of great Italian artists.

This was the intended opening paragraph for a short story, but the actual story itself never developed. I'm not the kind of writer who can make an enrapturing tale around a candy shop owner. In fact, I'm not the kind of writer who can make an enrapturing short story, period. I had to find that out the hard way. I've got tons of those paragraphs, textual detritus, trial and error. You never know what you're incapable of till you try and fail.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. Oh Hai

Go pick up that Great Pumpkin DVD, especially since ABC is taking their sweet time announcing when it will air this year.

I've pointed out this blog entry because the last paragraph is dedicated to what is unarguably one of the five greatest Peanuts strips of all friggin' time. Hell, it might even be number one. Now there's a list idea!

I can't name one TV drama I watch religiously other than SVU. Mainly because I want to be there when Stabler, in a fit of cobra-coiled righteous rage, punches a dude dressed up as Santa. The context will be pretty secondary, don't you think?

The Chicago Charlie Browns. I like the sound of that. Cubs fans are the new Red Sox fans. Red Sox fans? They're the new Yankees fans.

Everybody dance.

Congrats to this years recipient of the Silver Snoopy!

Just one political ball-gag article this week? Somebody's slipping. Might be me.

The Office is hilarious. My Name Is Earl? Not so much.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Make It...Yeah: The Top 5 Looks of Project Runway's Fifth Season

Blogging Project Runway is polling their readers for the "Top 5 Looks" of this season of Project Runway. When the poll closes, they will reveal the winning designs five to one. After submitting my choices, I thought, hell, why not explain myself here on my patch of the interweb? Yes, why not, indeed.

5. Terri, "Good Queen Fun"

Terri, bless her, she did a lot of stuff involving pants. Which is not exactly "high couture" or "fashion forward", or any of the other buzz phrases that Heidi Klum's earpiece tells her to say. But clearly, the woman could style a drag queen like no ones business, and honestly, was robbed of a victory in said challenge. The "geisha on acid" concept was inspired, and the multitude of colors makes for a gloriously busy look. Just an awe-inspiring design.

4. Korto, "The Fashion That Drives You"



The patience to weave several million seatbelts into a sophisticated (but no doubt
heavy) coat is what separates a designer like Korto from say, someone like Blayne.

3. Leanne, "Bright Lights Big City"



And now kids, we enter the Leanne Marshall section of the program, devoted solely to the most talented, innovative, bangiest, most-looking-like-one-of-my-friends designer of the season.

This was the first of her creations that made me take notice, and strongly suggested that this mousy, soft-spoken girl--of all the mousy, soft-spoken girls who competed early on--was the real deal. Taking her inspiration from a tree grate, Leanne paired a basic sleeveless blouse with an attention-grabbing skirt that showcased what would become her clear trademark touch, pleats. The color is also wonderful. Why this didn't win is still a mystery, up there with why The Shawshank Redemption is considered by so many to be a classic movie.

2. Leanne, "Double O Fashion"


Eventually Leanne would rack up two victories, with the look she designed for Diane Von Furstenburg being the second. This picture doesn't do the beautiful cobalt color justice, nor does it give you a look at the divine ruffle that extended down the back of the dress. The jacket still causes some consternation among fans, as to whether or not it detracts or elevates the overall look, but please...the dress!

1. Leanne, "The Fashion That Drives You"




So when you're all like, "Jenn, this season was so lackluster, the designers were so blah, and the looks, please, name one look from season five that can stand up to any other seasons best" I'll name this one. And then you sort of just cock your head to the side and give a little "yeah yeah" 'cause there's no denying it: Leanne announced she was top-tier when she took seat covers, fringed some friggin' seatbelts, and gave her model hips from here to Houston, but it worked. And that, dear friends, is what Christmas, I mean Project Runway, is all about.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. Sinus Headaches Rule

I have no idea yet if this album sucks or not.

The bailout is a bamma-ass.

The Sci Fi Channel: inexplicably still existing.

Charlie Brown health care.

I don't care how much gratitude she shows for being the voice of Sally oh those many years ago, Fergie represents the worst of non-murderous humanity.

Another day, another unlucky schmuck.

The bailout is a janky ho.

I told Cubs fans when Soriano left the Nationals: enjoy the productive loser. Savor the dude who hits tons o' homers and gets your hopes up. 'Cause he's got no heart.

Not one, but two articles about the Vanderbilt Commodores that recall the ball gag.

Now here's someone who points out Snoopy's rather bad record in the Sopwith. Charlie's hardly the only loser in town.

The bailout is a scuzzy limping beeyotch.

Peanuts is worldwide.

Finally, auction news. This just in, Peanuts strips are still sought after.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown

The summer of 2008 was not short. It was, in fact, rather lengthy.

From late April to late July, I struggled through an initially mysterious weakness and pain that medication didn't make a dent in, and which four different doctors couldn't pinpoint precisely. The idea that I had everything from a tumor to MS to fibromyalgia ran through my mind, stretching the bright, hot days out to interminable length. Finally, a fifth physician was able to identify my condition as a mental and physical breakdown which could only be expected, as seeing I was not treating my mental disorder properly, and oh yeah, I have a neurological disorder too. I'm still on meds, still going to therapy, and still looking over my shoulder to see if that bulldozer is coming back on the road again. And there you have the Charlie Browniest moment of my life.

AIRDATE: 9/27/69

STORY: It's back to school, and back to work. The teacher wants the kids to write a 500-word "theme" on what they did over the summer. Through interspersed sequences of the Van Pelts scribbling at their desks, the scenes play out.

Lucy signs all the kids up for summer camp. ("I feel like I've been drafted", Linus moans.) While the girls (including the rarely-spotted Sophie and proto-Marcie Clara) are eager and focused, the boys (including the homie Shermy) are a hot mess. The prospect of challenging the girls in various athletic events cheers them up, however, and Charlie Brown acts as de facto coach, pepping up his comrades while snickeringly beseeching them to not beat up on those poor, weak girls too badly.

Swimming, softball and a nature hunt all end the same way, with the females victorious. The boys are desperate. Upon noticing Snoopy challenging (and beating) the rest of the fellas in arm wrestling, Charlie Brown's light bulb cracks. As the "Masked Marvel", Snoopy will challenge the girl representative in an arm wrestling duel. The girls pick Lucy, who pushes the Marvel to the sweaty, agonizing brink, until he reaches back into his reserves and plants a kiss on the horrified Lucy, leading her to pull her arm away, and the boys to claim a rather specious victory.

It's basically a strip idea stretched to the absolute limit...8.

ANIMATION: Jerky in spots, with some real baffling moments, such as Chuck's hangdog expression in this scene.

The arm wrestling scenes, however, are impeccably drawn and animated. In the special Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown, Schulz claimed it to be "the best animated scene in all the shows." Let's break it down.


The combatants locked in struggle.


Faces showing surprise and strain.


A superb close-up drawing, a new perspective in the short history of the Peanuts shows up to this point.


The sweat beads now virtually part of the air. The tension is unbearable!


Mwah!


Victory!

That is some good stuff, Bill Melendez. 8

MUSIC: The main theme is like some minor variation on "Peppermint Patty". That's not a complaint. The highlight comes when the bus rambles the kids to camp. The horn blasts that had been dominating the soundtrack fall off to be replaced by a pirouette of piano and flute when the site is reached. 9

VOICES: In his last appearance, Peter Robbins scores another 10 as Charlie Brown. Here he is by turns sarcastic, resigned, snarly...the perfect blockhead. Pamelyn Ferdin gets an 8 for her strangely cutesy Lucy, while an 8 is also in order for Glenn Gilger as brother Linus. Hilary Momberger makes a short but sweet Sally, scoring a perfect 10 for nailing all the preciousness, precociousness, petulance and peeved impatience that the character is known for ("I won't learn nuttin'!"). Christopher DeFaria continues the cavalcade of perfection with a faultless turn as that ineffably cool tomboy Peppermint Patty.

(Although they are animated and given voice, no credit is given to whomever did Schroeder and Shermy. No real loss, however; the Schroeder is unbearably high-pitched, and Shermy...well, who cares about Shermy.)

ALL SUMMER LONG

--Snoopy's one flight of fantasy here is as a bus driver. Here we get a glimpse into what Snoopy's ideal world would be. And it is? Everyone, man and animal, with Snoopy heads.





All of which makes me rethink that whole Snoopy as Unquestioned Lord and Master of the Universe thing.

--Stretchy legs!



--Check the names.



--After handing the boys their butts in softball, the glowing girls endeavor to cheer them up with a rousing rendition of "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag" (which appeared, sans vocals, in Great Pumpkin). Seated around the campfire, faces creased with dread, the boys eventually, joylessly join in.

CRUEL SUMMER

--The girls also break into a sort of sing-song when Charlie Brown presents the arm wrestling challenge. "Hey amateur. Are you the boys cham-peen? You better be better at wrist wrestling then you are at swimming, or ball-playing, or canoeing...." and it just continues until a red-faced Chuck paddles away in abject humiliation.

--"Team! Come on! Come on, team!" The pitiful way Charlie Brown tries to rally the troops sounds a lot like me watching the Minnesota Vikings this year.

--When the kids are gathered at the bus stop, and Linus says his hellos to Chuck and Sally, Charlie Brown says hi back. Why is that odd? 'Cause, he just talks over Linus! Poor blanket boy can barely get "Hi, Charlie Brown" out before blockhead's all "Hi Linus". How exceedingly rude. No wonder you lose as a rule.

--
Charlie Brown is proud of the great job he did pinning the map of Earth up on the wall.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Good News We All Need

I needed something to look forward to after the debacle that was last nights Project Runway. It was highly entertaining, but also highly bullshit that they couldn't pick a loser, when Kenley so clearly qualifies on all fronts. "Leanne just does pleats in muted colors, it's been done." Your look's been done too, honey; it was called the 1950s.

So it is with great joy that I found, and now share with you, the news that Warner Home Video will be releasing You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown on DVD this coming January. I have been beyond merely satisfied with the frequency and quality of Warner's reissues, and this one should be no different.