Tuesday, December 30, 2008

First Thing We Do Is, Maim All the Doctors

I despise doctors.

It was a doctor that misdiagnosed me with bipolar disorder (I am, actually, suffering severe depression in tandem with a family tradition called anxiety disorder) and put me on two medications that made me gain 25 pounds until I took myself off of them.

It was a doctor that just recently recommended Celexa as an antidepressant with "pretty much no weight gain profile at all". The quote is fresh in my mind, as this practitioner of health and well-being and making as much money as you possibly can wrote out a prescription just yesterday. Eager to not have a repeat of the "sneak attack" I experienced with the other drugs, I researched for myself the likelihood of weight gain on Celexa. I discovered that, well, pretty much any drug could make you gain weight. So I'm refusing medication. I'd rather suffer with the occasional blue period than be the obese pig I am now.

One productive thing did result from the visit, however: I've been eating between 1200-1400 calories per day and exercising five days a week, one hour a day at least. I'm doing the stationary bike, the treadmill, and weights. I am also not losing weight. So this white-coated mercenary recommends I try to boost my metabolism with six small meals throughout the day. Despite the rather sneering tone of my post thus far, I am going to try this. I will try anything.

I've given myself a year to lose 50 pounds. I'm not sure what will happen if I fail at this goal.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Never Forget That Bob Geldof Is Irish

Last night as I lay in bed, NBC's Sunday Night Football "game" between the Broncos and Chargers on the TV, I realized:

--The Chargers are getting into the playoffs with an 8-8 record. Meanwhile, the Patriots miss out with a record of 11-5. No one outside the state of Massachusetts is upset about that last one.

--The Chargers completely deserve to be in the postseason, just off the Week 1 "Hochulima".

--I can't wait for Brett Favre to leave. Matt Ryan is more than ready to step up into the role of "white boy QB the media can't wait to blow".

--U2's "New Years Day" is one of the most engaging songs of the 80s, a decade whose musical legacy I defend to the death, or at least the cousin of. You got The Edge using guitar effects tastefully, a killing fields bass line, Bono not singing about lemons. Where did it all go wrong? Well, they're from Ireland. All good things from Ireland drop more precipitously than good things from other countries. U2's music, James Joyce's eyesight, Samuel Beckett's writing. It's a total legacy.

--The Vikings probably won't make it past the first round, but so what? They won the division, and over the course of the season beat the other three NFC division leaders while they were at it. Happiness is a warm field goal. Bring on Kevin Kolb!

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. I'm a Rib-Breaker

Let's see if the weekly bag can cheer me.

Hey, someone sure had fun with Santa Snoopy. Well, you know, I got a pic taken with Count Snoopula once.

Cool, succinct piece on the awesomocity of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Not to mention the Senators suck. Go Caps.

No, Peyton is Linus. Eli is Rerun.

Biggest insult to the blockhead ever...this year.

The Patriots, the Cowboys, and the Jets out of the playoffs? Meanwhile the Vikes win the North? Beautiful.

Dumbest thing I've read this year, and that's amazing considering I am a faithful peruser of the comments on Brooklyn Vegan.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Anatomy of a Fantasy Football Champion

Is there anything better than winning a fantasy football championship? Of course there is. Sex, for one. Pizza, also. Getting all 120 stars in a Mario game, sure. Seeing Sonic Youth live, no doubt--just so long as the date isn't August 17th.

That said, finishing a Fantasy season triumphant is the dogs balls. It's immensely gratifying to see "1st place" or "league champion" next to the fantastic nickname you chose to represent your immaculately-selected gaggle of number-munchers.

My fellow SY head "Rob Instigator" has run a Yahoo-based fantasy league for seven years now, the last three featuring yours sincerely as the leader of "Snoopy's Smash Squad", a handle that evokes nothing less than the sublime visual of a coolly rabid beagle with a facemask-free helmet on his head and a chilled football in his hands, as he plows over some hapless would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone. My first year--2006--I finished in second place for the regular season and captured third overall, losing in the semis to my boyfriend (arguably the Charlie Brown-iest moment of my life so far. And then he promptly gave up on the whole fantasy racket, complaining it was "too taxing". What a friggin' pussy.)

In 2007, I ended the regular season in third, and felt I would just sashay my big ass to the big dance. In a turn of events that should be minor legend in the Fantasy universe, the top four seeds lost their first round matchups, and the eighth seed overall ended up taking top honors. Meanwhile my ass finishes seventh of ten.

I entered the 2008 Fantasy Football world with Lincoln-esque determination. The year before I had the top pick in the live draft and didn't even make the semis. For '08 I got sixth--and there were ten players again in the league. My first pick was Patriots megabeast receiver Randy Moss. By draft's end, I could sit back and gaze with parental pride at what I just knew would be the most powerful Squad incarnation yet. I had two studs at QB: Tony Romo and Philip Rivers. In addition to Moss, I acquired Chris Chambers, a former Dolphin who I figured could sneak up on a lot of defenses. Other than Antonio Gates at tight end, Rivers didn't have a real go-to option through the air. Despite a suspension which would cause him to get ass-splinters for the first two games of the year, I could not pass on Steve Smith of the Panthers. To help the cause, though, I snatched up dependable Derrick Mason.

Tight end, being such a notoriously scatter-pointed (and thus ulcer-inducing) position, was very much on my mind. I beat the other coaches to the punch in the draft and snapped up the first TE pick with Jason Witten. Santonio Holmes would serve well as my flex player, and no one as far as I could tell was fuckin' with Jones-Drew and Fatboy White as my dual RB corps. Just because I could, I took Rudi Johnson as my backup. And prayed devoutly for the health of my frontline.

The kicker is the party skank of your team, so not only is that position undrafted mostly, but is unquestionably the most interchangeable. Of course this year we had some tardboy who couldn't be there at his comp for the live action, so he pre-set his players for the system to pick for him as they became available. Which is not what makes him a tardboy. That would be selecting Adam Vinateri in the fourth round. How the hell do you pre-set a kicker? You could kinda tell dude's season was gonna be cow crap mixed with hog maw after that. I ended up getting Josh Scobee off the wire just 'cause I had to get somebody.

For my first two romps in the Instigator park I used the vaunted Baltimore defense. This year, though, I really believed in my Vikings. I bought into all that shit about their stupendous defense, how it wasn't just gonna be stopping the run this year, hell no, they're gonna be shuttin' down some passin' game too! However, I noticed as the draft wound down that none of my fellow coaches had snatched up the other purple team. So, out of tradition and seeing so many of their games on local TV that I actually know first-hand what they're capable of, I got the Ravens as a back up.

Like kickers, defensive players are also sluts, unless you stumble upon a super stud that you want all to yourself. To further display my Purple Pride, I selected Jared Allen. Then Phillips, then Ekuban, and finally Atogwe, mainly 'cause I dug the name. Which is as close to stereotypical "girl coaching" as you'll ever catch me doing.

(Being a female coach in Fantasy Football is really no big deal. Being a female coach who directs her team with intelligence, cunning and guile--thereby making her a certified "boach"--is the best deal. Even when the dudes you compete with act like they're not fazed, they quite fucking are. A few philistine leagues still ban women, well aware of the admonition given by Cato the Censor way back in 215 B.C.: "Suffer women once to arrive at an equality with you, and they will from that moment become your superiors.")

Now let's take a look, week by week, at my championship season.

Week 1

Green Bowl Packers 70.62
Snoopy's Smash Squad--68.97

Each of the previous Week 1's I walked away from my glowing screen victorious, convinced that a 1-0 start was the ultimate rabbits foot for the season ahead.

So of course I lost my first match this year.

My opponent was another Sonic Youth fan I knew via the Interweb (although he's a sight more than an SY fan; he's one of the most ecumenical fans of music I've ever encountered). He had a good lineup, but I felt super confident. Romo did get his points, but should have put up even better numbers versus the Brownies. Even with Tom Brady gone for the whole year with a poetic knee injury, Moss got over 100 yards and a score. The pickup of Chris Chambers proved fortuitous as well.

To be a successful Fantasy coach you really need your backs to be productive. So LenDale White's touchdown and 40 yards total (the most he can run at one time without vomiting, incidentally) was tempered by Maurice Jones-Drew's 2.50. Holmes let me down badly; sub 1 is never anything but sucking spermwhale wang. And Minnesota lost their first game of the season. To Green Bay.

The only thing shitter than my point total was the fact that I lost by less than two points! It was the TE and flex positions that really did me in. Then I scoured my bench afterwards and saw I'd sat Atogwe and thus lost out on nearly six points. Oh, and Rivers, my backup QB? 24.68 points with 3 TD's.

Week 2
Snoopy's Smash Squad 98.00
The Glass Wrath 52.63

The rebound was quick, with a smashing of some fucktard who would quickly lose his heart for Internet coaching. Romo delivered with over 24 points and Chambers scored yet again. The effects of a Brady-less Pats hurt Moss, but both of my backs scored, creating that numerical symmetry that us FF types dig like bacon-fried bacon. Witten attained 100 yards receiving, which is really like 200 yards for a tight end.

As far as Rudi Johnson at flex--it was only week 2. I had no inkling that the Lions were destined for historical suckassness and that their players (save for their party skank) were to be shunned like the works of Jack Kerouac from my bookshelves.

I noticed Rivers got over 30 points. And I remember feeling proud that I had two studs, in case one got injured. But...was I starting the premium stud?

As for Ass Bath, a good rule of thumb is that any time your quarterback finishes with less than a single point you will lose. (We hadn't received the office memo about Browns players, either.) And when you have a receiver with no points? That means you fell prey to the sophomore slump and picked Colston! Also his TE put up the goose egg. And two of his defensive guys didn't even suit up.

Week 3
Snoopy's Smash Squad 101.52
Sonic Life 82.67

Whupping the commish is awesome like riding a Super Monkey Ball over steaming hot lava, 'cause he's the dude making your glory possible and you get to show him up. Understand that Rob did not lose this game. I won. Five positions garnered 10-plus points, including exactly 30 from my backs combined and a stab-happy 20 from the Ravens. I also picked up Chris Gamble for D.

And yeah...Rivers doubled up on Romo again. How much longer could I let ol' Marmalard kill it on the pine?

Week 4
Snoopy's Smash Squad 115.15
Blindbandits 53.75

Blindbandits is a Fantasy pro, and a multiple winner in Rob's league. This gave him the balls required to dis my ass with some inspired pre-game smack talk that referenced my gender and my Snoopy fetish. So naturally I destroyed his ass. Double up, like that bullshit Mase album.

Romo lost to the Skins, but still managed 3 TD's and over 300 yards. Rivers beat the Raiders, but only got eight points. That's how important real life scores are to Fantasy.

I decided to christen my backs 8Ball & MJD.

Week 5
Devilsluts 115.07
Snoopy's Smash Squad 91.37

It was poor Devilsluts who'd drafted Brady in the first round. But he picked up Delhomme and trudged onward. Slutty is Rob's bro, and he sucks, pretty much. That's why this loss stung. Like on some "Devilsluts bit my bottom! Now my bottom's big!" type nonsense.

I can't blame it on my decision to bench White for Johnson, 'cause they each fell under 2 points. Actually, LenWhale managed but 0.20 points. Other than that, my squad was straight antihistamine money, homey. I just couldn't beat a team with two receivers who go over 10 and a back that racks up 23. Reggie Bush, what a numbnuts.

Week 6
Snoopy's Smash Squad 106.70
Son of a Bookie 77.88

Cracking the century mark again, and how good it felt. Like cunnilingus good.

If I am to reflect upon the actual head-to-head, however, it was a bittersweet victory. Like an elephant crushing a flea circus. Guy had over 12 points from a receiver and a combined 31 and a half from his backs (including that brittle shitface Portis). But he forgot that his TE and a Defensive Back were on a bye! And then another DB slot is empty just 'cause he forgot to fill it, just like he never fills a vagina.

Starting Minnesota's D against Detroit over Balto's D facing Indy was my move of the week. But what the hell was I thinking, leaving Atogwe on the bench still? He put up eleven points!

Week 7
Snoopy's Smash Squad 116.38
Les Existentialistes 55.65

Romo's injury forced me to start Rivers--who promptly puts up 11.88 in a loss to the Bills who at this point were still not entirely naked in the eyes of the NFL.

My decision to fill a WR slot with a return guy--just like Cribbs last year--backfired. A Jags bye week meant one more week of Rudi Johnson's woeful incompetence, but the Space Age Pimp scored three times and made a happy boach indeed.

I have now decided that Balto must be my main defense. I love the Vikes, but they're not the purple sage to ride. More to that end, I dropped Jared Allen.

Week 8

Snoopy's Smash Squad 118.37
Dildoughnuts 109.70

This was the match of the year for the regular season. I had only two losses and sat in second, underneath only Dildobreath, who was undefeated. If anybody could take his smug ass down, it was the boach. My team fucking brought it: Rivers 27+, Smith near 20, Moby Prick over 12, and Balto's D in double digits yet again. Even Return Guy scored to justify his flex spot.

Dildo damn near stole it away on the Monday night game with Rob Bironas kicking his way to 16 points, but luckily Fat Boy found the end zone twice to save me. Good job, Lard Lad--I owe you a Mountain Dew.

This game marked the point where these fuckboys had to recognize me as a general in this shit. I even added Ray Lewis because I could.

Week 9
Alief Street Frogs 99.60
Snoopy's Smash Squad 76.73

Hanging around the upper echelon was ASF. Letdown was inevitable.

With Romo nursing a boo-boo and San Diego on a bye, I chanced it with the Jags' David Garrard (he's no Byron Leftwich, but at least he's playing). Well, he sucked. No TD's, 1 pick and three sacks against the Bengals. Moss sucked too, although seeing the Pats lose to the Colts is always hilarious. Blame Wes Welker for that.

My running backs are taking turns being studs. Oh that's wonderful, that.

In the what the fuck moment of the season, I benched Witten for Bo Sciafe. His 1.30 was a full half point better than what the bench-bound 'Boy managed. What a fuckin' position tight end is.

New kicker! Pass 'em around....

None of which stood a chance against Kurt Warner's own private Arena-ho, Eddie fucking Royal, and a ten point game from the Redskins kicker. Oh man...that hurt. (It's much funnier hearing that in Alex Rocco's voice.)

Bye week really kicked my ass.

Week 10
Snoopy's Smash Squad 106.98
Green Bowl Packers 76.35

Revenge is a dish best served al dente.

Week 11
Snoopy's Smash Squad 71.37
The Glass Wrath 63.00

This was too close. Oh the ethereal nature of crap shoot glory.

Romo returned, but I was skeptical and rode Rivers--against the Steelers. Romo ended up with eight more points. Out of print.

New kicker!

Week 12
Snoopy's Smash Squad 130.52
Sonic Life 103.57

Commish tried hard...aww, Commish always tries hard! But I had Romo, Moss and the D all over 20. MJD and JLH each over 10. *cues "Bridge is Over"*

But, again, Rob coulda beat anybody else that week. Pennington beasted, AP was AD, and hell even his kicker beat the ass of my kickers, inasmuch as the pussiest player on any given team can beat another team's pussy. But he faced the Squad. Story over.

Week 13
Snoopy's Smash Squad 115.93
Blindbandits 96.18

This fucker again.

Once more Romo surpassed 300 yards with 3 TDs. Unbelievably, my promotion of Derrick Mason pays off and WideAss White finds the end zone twice, thanks to some strategically-placed Carl's Jr. burgers.

Can't believe I sat Witten. Only got 115 yards and a score. As for the BB pellets, if only two of his guys hadn't thrown shutouts, he mighta pulled it off. Must be fucking awesome to lose when a player gets 30 points, huh, BB?!

(Before we go on to the next week, I would like to apologize for the baseball metaphor in the previous paragraph. Because if this week has taught us anything, it's that baseball fucking sucks and fuck the Yankees and MLB get a fucking salary cap because your sport is becoming a goddamn joke that a consecutive games streak won't be able to "save" this time. Idiots. Those ridiculous contracts look real good to the public in a recession, you sickening wads of vomitous fuck.

Can you imagine playing Fantasy Baseball? 162 games! I'd rather play Fantasy Chess or some nonsense.)

Week 14
Snoopy's Smash Squad 101.95
Devilsluts 68.92

Again I serve up a plate that would make the offerings on this season of Top Chef look awesome, thanks quite much to a top-heavy roster for my opponent. I started Romo against Pitt's crazed D, because Rivers was facing Oakland again--and he did quite piss-poor in the initial meeting. So of course he bombs their secondary for 26.08 Fantasy points. Football, you drive me crazy!

Pleasant surprise--Mason with another score. Really, Flacco didn't have much else.

New kicker! The Pats dude.

Week 15
Snoopy's Smash Squad 111.38
Blindbandits 76.57

11-3, ranked first overall, and in the playoffs. My third tete-a-tete with BB pellets is the most crucial yet, and he choked like Mama Cass didn't. Whew! I mean other than Turner, damn. That shit just makes you wanna crack screens.

Starting Rivers at KC was disastrous until he engineered an unbelievable fourth quarter comeback that had me gaping at the TV like I was about to accept a long-distance wadshot. Add in some boss catching numbers and another trip to the Cribbs well, and I could not help but destroy.

Bonehead move of the week--picking up Robert Mathis and his ass doesn't even play!

Week 16
Snoopy's Smash Squad 122.00
Dildoughnuts 87.90

Dildo beat ASF in the other semi matchup, and it could only be that way. We were the best two teams all year, and he desperately wanted to avenge his first loss of the year. I feared him, mainly due to Brees playing the Lions. I could just feel the 40-ness creeping up on me. But I had to put together the best team I could with what I had available. I thought, If I cannot win right here right now--cue the Van Halen and I'll wound you--I don't know if I have the heart to do this for another year.

My biggest sticking point was Saturday's Ravens-Cowboys game. As I don't get NFL Network, I'd have to depend on the Internet to drive me crazy with updates. I couldn't fully trust Philip Rivers against a stingy Bucs pass D, so I started Romo against my own defense. I started Witten (with fast-rising John Carlson on the bench) and picked up--on Saturday afternoon--faster-rising 'Boys back Tashard Choice. I had a real good vibe about Choice because Marion Barber was likely not going to suit up and Choice was riding a hot streak in the last couple games, including 100-plus cumulative yards against the Steelers.

It all paid off. Romo got 15 points thanks to late scores, Witten scored, and Choice ran in the first TD of the game.

The third receiver slot got run a train on for sure. I couldn't trust Cribbs, a return guy who may see some snaps at QB, may catch some passes, may run the ball. Randle El, shit no, I'm not trusting a Redskin in the most important game of my life. Between Mason and Holmes, I chose the latter, figuring Big Ben had a slightly better chance with his secondary matchup.

So Mason got a touchdown Saturday night and I about shit marble.

Another pickup was Sammy Morris, part of the Pats platoon of backs. I trusted him way more at home against Arizona than Moby against the Steel Curtain.

Come Sunday, I had a 20+ point lead on my opponent, and I never lost it. Holmes made a fantastic TD grab in an otherwise butt-ass game. Morris didn't score, but gained solid yards.

But then Rivers got 33 points against that "vaunted" pass defense and I'm like, fuck! Shit! Dildo had his backs playing 4 o'clock games, and my cynical mind could see Thomas Jones and Steve Slaton running roughshod over bullshit defenses.

But then something happened. The Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day! He went to Seattle and shat a bunch of snow upon the field! Merry Christmas, Jets! A field goal for your stocking! He visited the Texans and the Raiders and piled presents so high in the Texans end zones that not a ball could break the plane!

And Dildo's receivers? Calvin "Megatron" Johnson was straight cheeks! And Bernard Berrian, why children, he was mo' cheeks! And by Monday night, with Chicago's D needing to surpass forty points to win, Dildo knew he was done, and the mighty Smash Squad boach rejoiced even as the Bears win meant the Vikings could still blow the division lead.

I'm a winner...but some shit never changes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Peanuts is Timeless, Pt. The Cowboys Suck

It's a Snoopy snowman! Although really, the ideal Snooman is the one depicted on the flag hanging outside my house: two large mounds of snow with Snoop's behatted head sticking out the top.

I've written about many Peanuts specials, including all the "major" ones. There remain three, however, that I've desperately wanted to review but could not, thanks to their non-presence on DVD. The first would be It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown, the pre-Roger Rabbit attempt at mixing animation with live action. Believe it or not, it remains the only Peanuts program I have not seen. The other two are ones I've watched repeatedly on video: Snoopy's Reunion and It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, two specials that are sorely underappreciated. Well, two of my dreams are about to come true when Warner releases Snoopy's Reunion on DVD April 7th. The bonus special? It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown.

2010? Futz me.

I think growing up to be a member of the Browns is actually worse.

Yeah, except Peppermint Patty wasn't in the show. Oops.

I can't believe someone with the username "Edina Monsoon" attacks Peanuts. Deep down you know it's fabulous, sweetie darling! Sweetie. Darling.

And...Patsy! Et tu, sweetie? Leave the reviews to me, darling.

Friday, December 19, 2008

R.I.P Slinky Woman

WalletPop just put out an article highlighting some people and products that will not last to see 2009.

It's kinda sad to see Zima go, if only because growing up as a young alcholic dilettante in Hagerstown, I learned it's not about the label, but the buzz. And if you drank enough Zimas, no matter how much they tasted like lime mixed with yak wiz, you'd get drunk.

I blame Sonic Youth for the CD bust at Starbucks. Proudly.

My mother will sorely miss the Diet Dr Pepper Cherry Chocolate. You know what else should go missing in 2009? Aspartame.

Crown Pilot finally got toppled by Allied Biscuit!

So sorrowful, the departure of Arena Football. All we as a nation can hope for is that Jon Bon Jovi takes this bittersweet experience of champion one year, oblivion the next, and writes a song that has a heartsearingly anthemic chorus made to be shouted along to in one's vehicle.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Just a Fantasy. It's Not the Real Thing.

So after three years in the Instigator Fantasy Football League on Yahoo, I've finally reached the championship game. My opponent is a fellow Sonic Youth fan who stood at number one for most of the season until being defeated and usurped by my awesome ass.

If I lose, I finish second. A position in which there is no shame, at least not when you're talking about internet-based competitions.

And a loss is a real possibility. Although I do have the edge in head-to-head battle, can I do it again? I'm a 17 point underdog, thanks to the presence of Drew Brees (playing fucking Detroit! The Lions!), Steve Slaton (the Texans don't suck anymore!), LaDanian Tomlinson (one TD, 63 yards), super-kicker Rob Bironas and DeMarcus Ware on his team. On my side I have Pro Bowl snub Phillip Rivers, Randy Moss, Steve Smith, Maurice Jones-Drew, and the Baltimore defense.

I will likely not win. My main hope is, then, to not lose by a lot. I have no players taking the field in the Monday night game, while my opponent has the Chicago defense against the Packers. It's like a clash of the shitans, but there's always the chance Aaron Rodgers could not gulp 'n' blow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. Pack Your Troubles In Your Old Shit Bag

Seems I posted a similar story last holiday season. Some people got no respect.

The couple that picks together sticks together.

Ron Santo, you know I've had it up to here with Cubs fans desperate bitching. It's reaching Red Sox proportions, y'all, it really is. Of course, yes, sure, Ron Santo deserves to be in the Hall. Although if he played any position other than third base with those numbers, he wouldn't even be considered.

Ahahahaha...one of the best moments of the modern NFL. Let's watch again! And here's another sporty one.

Political writers--lazy or awesome? I choose, lawesome.

There are literally far too many blogs and news sites that reference the Charlie Brown tree this time of year. Seriously, way more articles than needles on that sad tree. Google it you don't believe. You'll get 70 jatillion hits, even more than if you typed "hot asian bukkake hooker S&M". So here are links to the stories that I found the most interesting. (Note on that last one: it would probably break the author's heart to find out that Coca-Cola had blatant advertisements in the original airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas, eh?)

This is awesome. But spell his fucking last name right. (Related: I am now officially in the finals of my fantasy league. More later in the week.)

I always forget Gremlins is a Christmas movie. Who can forget Phoebe Cates filling our hearts with warmth and laughter telling that story about the time her pops dressed up as the big boy Claus!

Number one in all conceivable ways.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Allied Command Ignored All Of Its Men

Doing the "Peanuts is Timeless" posts that kick off every week here in Trapper Jenn Land, I endeavor to scour the internet for the most significant, interesting, and entertaining references to the greatest comic strip to ever grace the world. It is only inevitable something will miss my gaze.

I can only imagine that Thanksgiving dinner clouded my judgment and caused the oversight of a New Zealand site's Best and Worst Christmas Songs poll printed on November 25th of this year. Readers of the NZ Herald decided, in their infinite sagacity, that the worst holiday tune of ever-ever must be "Snoopy's Christmas" by the Royal Guardsmen.

Now, let me explain something. While I am a Snoopy fanatic, I do not instantly approve of something just because it contains the name Snoopy, or features his face and/or body. Despite my mega-fandom, I am able to use my powers of discernment and decide for myself whether or not a book, shirt, song, or cookie jar is worthy of my support.

(The preceding paragraph was bullshit. I'd buy a Snoopy shirt that said "Sonic Youth sucks" if Snoopy was winking on it.)

But, I don't think "Snoopy's Christmas" is the pinnacle of seasonal tunes. However, it is far from the worst. And all New Zealanders who deemed it such are worthless sacks of poo. The lyrics are a fictional recreation of the World War I "Christmas Truce", for starters. How's that for substantive lyricism? Not to mention that every other line namedrops "Snoopy", lest you forget who our hero is.

"Snoopy's Christmas" was followed by:

Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano (1970)
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Randy Brooks (1979)
Santa Never Made It Into Darwin - Bill & Boyd (1975)
Mistletoe and Wine - Cliff Richards (1988)
The Christmas Song - Alvin and the Chipmunks (1981)

I am proud as hell to say I've never heard the third and fourth songs. One great thing about being an American of a certain age is Cliff Richards just doesn't mean shit to you at all. The others are OK, save for "Grandma Got Run Over", which is a terrifyingly bad song even if you do find the twistedly humorous demises of the elderly knee-slap hilarious.

The best list is, well, da best:

All I Want for Christmas - Mariah Carey (1994)
Last Christmas (I gave you my heart) - Wham (1984)
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues featuring Kirsty McColl (1987)
Christmas Is All Around Us - Bill Nighy - as Billy Mack in Love Actually (2003)
Do They Know It's Christmas Time At All? - Band Aid (1984)
Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon (1971)
You're a Mean One Mr Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft (1966)

Again, numbers 3 and 4 have never passed by my ears. (I cannot imagine Shane MacGowan filled with any spirit that can't be contained in a glass, anyway.) The Band Aid track is only passable in parody (just last night I could be heard regaling my mother with a rousing "Do They Know It's Arbor Day"), although as far as altruistic asshole anthems go, it knocks piss out of "We Are the World". I've already posted my thoughts on Lennon's protest fluff. And heh, Thurl Ravenscroft actually did the voice of the "No Dogs Allowed" guy in Snoopy Come Home. I'm getting all these signs that I need to review that film.

New Zealand must be real pop-friendly to put Mariah best-evah, although to be honest, it is pretty much the only Mariah Carey song I like. It starts out all smoky-diva and then bursts into a bell-happy boisterous bop, while the former Mrs. Mottola actually reins in her runaway pipes for once. It speaks to the ineffable quality of Christmas that the season of presents and decorations and cookies can inspire singers and musicians who normally make me puke green stuff the texture of hair conditioner to create actual listenable tracks. In addition to Mariah's anomaly, there's also Bryan Adams' "Christmas Time" which mainly gets by on the chorus melody. But seriously...Bryan goddamn Adams, people! Mr. Cuts Like a Knife! Sir Anything I'd Do I'd Do It Just to Get Him To Shut Up Before My Brain Evaporates! He actually did a good song! That's the power of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What's Black and White and Hilarious?

Gaki No Tsukai's annual Batsu game, this year held in a newspaper company.

I like my idea of a prison much better still, but oh well, gaijin scum get no input.

Also, just like last year, all five cast members will be participating. Seems they've abandoned the pattern of playing a smaller-scale Batsu game amongst themselves to determine who will help dish out the punishment and who will take it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Peanuts is Timeless, Pt. Chiki Chiki

Tonight marked the first showing this year of A Charlie Brown Christmas on ABC. Despite the presence of the DVD in my collection, I totally watched that shit.

Another reason why Japanese people rule/suck.

Well, as the saying goes, "Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold."

This article reminds me that I need to fit a Snoopy, Come Home review in here sooner rather than later. Big ups to the writer for the killer reference.

Simple, touching.

This is actually very relevant to my life. One must remember that, in song at least, the Red Baron once treated Snoopy to some holiday bubbly.

Either the football gag refs are slippin', or my standards are getting higher.

This is good news for them people there. And for anyone (like me) who can't get enough of that logo.

I never could stand "Baby, It's Cold Outside". I don't want sexual innuendo in my Christmas music, thanks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fantastic Firsts, Sloppy Seconds, and Thorough Thirds

Sean Avery received a six-game suspension from the National Hockey League for an indirect insult to a much better player, Calgary Flames defensemen Dion Phaneuf. I don't take umbrage with the substance of Avery's words, no matter how crude, and certainly don't find distasteful verbiage a legitimate reason to temporarily deprive a man of his livelihood. What does rub me the wrong way, though, was the way Avery went about it.

Reporters were waiting to speak with Avery about disparaging remarks he'd made last month about Flames star Jarome Iginla when Avery walked over to the group and asked if there was a camera present. When told there was, he said, "I'm just going to say one thing."

"I'm really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada," the Ontario native said. "I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight." He then walked out of the locker room.

How unstoppably douchebag is that? Avery must have been up all night not only planning the exact words to say, but the manner in which he'd say them. He probably approached the media quicker than planned when he realized he was about to forget what he wanted to tell them, and just managed to get his so-clever comments out in the nick of time. Phew!

The worst part of this whole debacle is Avery was forced to sit out that night's game against the Flames, thereby denying hockey fans the chance to see Phaneuf--one of the league's fiercest hitters--put hockey's leading metrosexual through the plexiglass.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From the Land of the Flag That Looks Like My Face

You know...red on white.

News that video site Joost is now working with Nippon Television Network and Yoshimoto Kogyo to legally broadcast Japanese comedies over the Innaweb. But wait there's more! These shows will also feature English subtitles. As I'm really not much on anime at all, the biggest news to me personally is that the Gaki No Tsukai "Yamasaki vs. Morimon" series will soon be up on Joost. Beyond brilliant. I have always wondered what the hell those two were yelling at each other before Morio inevitably knocked the yakisoba outta poor Hou-san. Could more subbed Gaki follow?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An "Unbeatleble"* Christmastime

Mix 95 has been rocking Christmas tuneage for three weeks now, showing all who tune in that holiday playlists are as repetitive and predictable as those of the rest of the year. But instead of the latest smashes from T.I and/or Li'l Wayne, our ears are treated to "Do They Know It's Christmas?", the Chipmunks, that goddamn song about the shoes, and several hundred versions of "O Holy Night", the holiday equivalent to "The Star Spangled Banner" for vocalists worldwide. I even saw Patti Smith do a version live.

The assumption that anyone who's ever entered a recording studio has cut at least one yuletide number is not too ridiculous. There's David Bowie with Bing Crosby, Destiny's Child, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Faith Hill, Jim Croce, and lest we forget the Brit-pop clusterfuck of the previous paragraph.

Also, a couple former Beatles.

Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" and John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" pervade the airwaves this time o' year. Neither is a great song. One is universally derided--to the point where even its notoriously self-loving creator has disowned it. The other is considered a brave, moving song of hope. I'll let you guess which is which, if you promise to think real hard. It's amazing that those guys couldn't even do Christmas songs without inspiring the same old weary choir to sing their older, wearier choruses that continue to dog each man's legacy.

"Wonderful Christmastime"--now, what's the official party line on Macca? Trite, cutesy, shallow, fluffy, utterly without edge. A walking, talking, thumbs-upping Family Circus panel. Well, let it be known that the only "party line" I've ever toed had Allison Wolfe in it. It's fucked, but brother James won't get his due as one of the most brilliant song crafters ever to grace any planet till he's composed his last melody. And even then some smartass will say Lennon died better.

"Happy Xmas"--Lennon, on the other hand, was worshipped during his life as a passionate vessel of peace, love, life and harrassing Harry Nilsson. The non-conspiracy that ended his time on Earth served further to elevate him to modern-day sainthood, as death is so wont to retroactively color the events of any life in the most agreeably profound hues.

But, just as McCartney wins the battles of "Who wrote the better Beatles songs?" and "Who had the better post-Beatles albums?", so he bests his former partner-in-crime here. Which is still like being the tallest Oompa Loompa. But the reasons he comes out ahead are strong.

--No pretentious hooey. "So this is Christmas/And what have you done?" Confronting the listener into some kinda-sorta soul-searching at what is intended to be a celebratory season? Unexpected! "War is over/If you want it". No it very fucking well is not. The people have the power all right; they're called, "the people in power".

--No children singing. Macca mentions a "choir of children sing(ing) their song" but he wasn't dense enough to toss a gaggle of off-key dirt merchants on the song. As far as Lennon, well, I see that Pat Benatar's "We Belong" taught him nothing. I understand that song was recorded four years after his death, but that's still no excuse.

--Celine Dion never covered "Wonderful Christmastime". Also blessing us with their versions of "So This Is Xmas"--NSync and Maroon 5.

--Dipset "interpreted" Paul's chorus for "Dipset Xmas Time". De La Soul sampled the song. Hip hop rides with Macca.

--Much is made of the galling simplicity of so many Macca lyrics, but what then is "A very merry Christmas/And a happy New Year/Let's hope it's a good one/Without any fear"? That Wham song about getting diddled around on the day after Christmas has better words.

In the end, Elton destroys both songs anyway. Dude made "merry" a one-syllable word.

*(Don't blame me for "unbeatleble"; Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth actually used that word to describe the band's catalog in the "Top 100 Beatles Songs" issue of Uncut. As if the fact "Things We Said Today" didn't make the list wasn't hard enough to stomach.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. Purple and Gold

Sorry for the delay...Firefox has been a bitch about crashing lately, and I had to retrieve all my Peanuts links.

It's a Thanksgiving explosion: behold the king of Macys! How the fuck are you putting A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Weezer in the same sentence! A real American Idol takes a picture with some midget poser loser! Ratings improved slightly! And big up lesbians! This is the best Peanuts-related writing you'll cast orbs upon outside of this here blog.

Snoopy had nothing to do with Charlie Brown's tree. That was Blockhead alone, with Linus as a disbelieving Thomas. Don't you remember Snoopy's hysterical doggy laughter at the very sight of that twig?

"During a Father's Day trip to an amusement park, Snoop is excited to have the family introduce him to his namesake, Snoopy, and takes photos with the comic strip legend in his low-rider."

Shit. I may have to watch that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm Feelin' Ya Memorabilia

Inspired by Carrie Brownstein's latest post at Monitor Mix...

Kim Gordon's Snoopy-stickered Gibson bass
Ricky Wilson's blue Mosrite on the back cover of The B-52's
Paul McCartney's Rickenbacker 4001
The handwritten lyrics to Nas' "It Ain't Hard to Tell"

And there could be several hundred more, but with Thanksgiving in my belly, this quartet of touchstone items will have to do.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. I Miss My Puppy

For further goods on the upcoming Snoopy WWI Flying Ace game, peep this interview. Most anticipated game since Super Mario Galaxy!

Snoopy toys at Wendys...I think I'll have to pass, and wait for Ebay.

I didn't get to hang with Snoopy when I got my fingers printed. I got McGruff.

I gots to get back to Dorney Park next year.

This is a nice review, but I take umbrage with this part:

His central thesis, that Schulz was melancholic and withdrawn, has been criticised by Schulz's family, but Michaelis has the strips on his side.

As opposed to his family, who only have the fact that they spent their lives with the man on their side. Good grief. Also, there was no Sherman. It was Shermy. And his hair was boss.

Football gags!

I hope the Yankees crash and burn continues for the next 15 years.

I hope the American crash and burn doesn't last too much longer.

Watching Texas Tech crash and burn was astonishing. Has a number two team ever been crushed that decisively by a numerically inferior squad?

The worst Peanuts special is It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown. By far. It is actually not even close. Whatever the second worst is, it sure as hell isn't Flashbeagle, which needs to come out on DVD now so I can review it. Cornball and hilarious, like people think Larry the Cable Guy is, but he actually isn't.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Give No Quarter

America has voted on the best and worst state quarter designs, and the results are a mix of the dead-on, the way-off and the where the hell?

First, the worst:

1. Idaho--A bird, the state, and a motto. Not one potato anywhere. Instant lose. Although to say it's the worst is kinda harsh, at least it was rendered well, unlike Michigan.

4. New Hampshire--I'm pretty incredulous at the presence of this one. A rock formation with the greatest motto of all 50 states makes for a quality quarter. Lot of these voters musta been crazy ageist.

5. New Mexico--NM has the second-best state flag behind Maryland, so it was smart to include the sun symbol on the coin as well. Not sure what isn't to like here.

7. Maryland--I can't tell you how much I anticipated my home state's coin. Seriously, I couldn't wait to count the crabs. So the day comes, they're unleashed to the populace, and we got...the dome of the state capital in Annapolis. What a "Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine" moment that was.

Chesapeake Bay! Crabs! The Oriole! Black-eyed susans! What the flib!

Notable omission: the clusterfuck of poorly-rendered foliage on Mississippi. I don't know what flower that's supposed to be and I don't care.

8. Wyoming--Picking on Wyoming is mean. It's like pushing around a kid in a wheelchair. They tried!

Now, the bestest:

1. Alaska--Hard to argue with this masterpiece. This coin almost makes up for Sarah Palin.

Then a whole bunch of well-drawn ones.

7. Virginia--Depicting ships. Zuh?

See, America's choices for the finest of the quarters kinda befuddles. Outside of Virginia, nothing is there that shouldn't be, but some notable omissions were made.

Georgia--I can understand why it wouldn't have more popular sentiment, what with that motto containing ideas that are simply un-American these days. But peaches win as a rule. By themselves, in oatmeal, in cereal, on coins.

Wisconsin--My choice for second-best, can it be coincidence that both my favorites feature animals? When this one came out, I was gobsmacked. This state, unlike Maryland, got it. The Dairy State gives us an incomplete cheese wheel, unshucked corn, and a disembodied cow head. Brilliant. It should be their new flag design.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Camp of Approval

So a few days ago I make a post wherein I jibed at the hardcore Obama supporters who seemed to think the man had supernatural powers to effect changes in society. I jokingly asked what the hell they expected from him--to singlehandedly save the housing market? To make marijuana legal?

Yesterday I found this "letter to Obama" by Pam Anderson on her website. First of all, I commend her; her spelling is much better than Courtney Love's, and she doesn't attack Kim Gordon anywhere. Yes, kudos.

It actually starts "Dear Mr. Obama", which reminds me of that godawful "Dear Mr. Jesus" song that radio plays at Christmas. You know that tune? Sad little kid talks to the son of God, asking for salvation from abusive parents? It's so damn saccharine my teeth start dissolving in my mouth when I hear it. Makes "The Christmas Shoes" sound like a Black Flag song.

Anyway, back to Pam. After asking for the release of Leonard Peltier and the instant castration of molesters both realized and "potential", she proposes the following:

"I think we should Legalize Marijuana, tax and monitor -farm Hemp etc-this would make our borders less corrupt and then I think eventually this will be more secure option and save children in the long run – we should be able to farm Hemp in America- it’s just silly— it would create jobs- and be good for environment."

I fucking knew it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

If You Don't Know Gaki, You Don't Know Funny

The latest episode of Japan's long-running comedy show Gaki No Tsukai Ya Arahende!!. No subtitles, but you don't need them. Trust me. I love the fact that an old Randy Moss Vikings jersey represents Japanese hip hop style. Skol!

I'm eager for the batsu games from 2003 to 2007 to be subbed so I can do a big-ass overview on the blog, complete with screen caps.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The More Things Change

Personally I love the idea of Hillary Clinton as the new Secretary of State. Not only because I feel she's a qualified candidate with a world-renowned name, but because it seems to be chafing the sensitive regions of so many Obama supporters.

It's not hard to get the vibe that many folks thought Barack Obama was going to take over the presidency and stock his cabinet with Independents under the age of 45. Hearing the prez-elect cite Lincoln as an inspiration must have broken their hearts--You're supposed to wipe the slate clean, Barry! You're not supposed to look to the past to solve the problems of the future! That's not what you promised!

Understand, I voted for Obama. At no point was I under the delusion that the man possessed a magical elixir of skin color and brilliant oratory skills that, with one timely pour, could remedy all the ills of America and the world. I voted for him so that this country could have someone intelligent and open representing it after eight years of Good Ol' Boy.

I hope recent developments--reaching out to Clinton, reaching out to McCain--have slapped some of the most fervent Obamaniacs out of their reverie. This is real life, kids; this is what politics is. What exactly did they think he was going to do? Pull our troops out within one week of taking office? Pay off everyone's mortgages? Legalize weed? Come the hell on. Politics is a game. Obama knows how to play it. Why else were so many of us on his "team"?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Peanuts is Timeless, Pt. The Doctor Will See You Now or Later

The J & P Show gotta hit these folks up sometime, eh?

The upcoming Snoopy video game will not hit stores till 2010. Good grief.

Football gags here, there, but thankfully not everywhere. Speaking of which, November 16th marked the 56th anniversary of possibly the most timeless thing about the strip.

Nice to see one of my favorite Peanuts lines pop up here.

So why is Peanuts so popular? 'Cause millions of people like it. It hits some chamber in the heart for millions, and has for generations. But this blogger is one of the no doubt countless millions for whom Peanuts does not strike the mark. People are made different. Ain't that a kick in the.

I need to start reviewing these books, damnit.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This Album Will Suck Suck

Detroit rapper Trick Trick is ready to unleash his new album, and golly gosh does he not like gay people! And I don't even mean he's a homophobe in the sense most anti-gay men are, in that they just hate the gay males, this dude is even hating lesbians. Which I think even most in the hip hop community would give the gas face to.

As per usual, the comments underneath the article are brilliant, and I highly recommend killing valuable minutes by reading them. Or I'll just save you the time and copy/paste the best one here.


People, he's got a point. If several thousand episodes of Cops have taught us anything, it's that heterosexual relationships are bastions of gentility and sobriety. Also, meth makes you lose teeth. Lots of teeth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. Don't Forget the "T"

I await the bootleg Snoopy Obama shirt. C'mon people, make it happen.

Only one vote?

No, still not getting iTunes. Hope I'm not missing too much.

Oh yes. Oh hell yes. This is why you have a Wii. The buzz on the Innaweb is that this trailer is about 78 times more mindblowing than anyone expected, and that includes your Snoopy-obsessed blogger.

The world will not end in 2012. The absurdist comedy of a Sarah Palin presidential campaign will only feel like the end of the world.

Snoopy is Prez, like that shocks anyone.

Seneca Wallace=Charlie Brown. Prescient!

This here is a good bit of advice.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Family Matters

A recent article about my late maternal grandpops, the last person born in Lincoln's cabin (the author is no relation, by the way.)

I remember being in fifth grade when I found out about Ivy Davenport's claim to fame. I've been enamored of it ever since, to the point where I'm still hunting down a video copy of the episode of "I've Got a Secret" on which he appeared.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One Hour and A Few Minutes Later

One day in, and my decision to eschew medication has torn my soul into two distinct halves, one a heaving mess of doubt, dread, and doomsaying; the other, a resolute mass of defiance, daring and DIY. No doctor (or spiritualist) need be to know that a split soul isn't conducive to all-around health.

Understand this: doctors are not your friends. They will be as polite and helpful as is necessary to take your money. The self-help path in the face of bottle after bottle of pills is not a road they will lead you down, not even begrudgingly. Doctors are politicians, selling hope by the milligram, pretending to care about a person other than themselves while all the while operating in the suffocating shadow of their true agenda.

You may recall that my decision was borne of a concern for the monetary and physical effects of long-term use. For the sake of full disclosure, I've been taking 0.25 MG of Risperdal. This is a pittance compared to what I was on before, but it seems to do the same job insofar as it keeps my system "regular".

I am the type of personality who freaks out at the "what if". Even if a side effect occurred in only an average of 1 in every 1,000 persons observed, I am frozen by the fact that, well, it happened. Thus, I avoided pills till I felt I literally had no other option.

April of this year I began to break down. There is simply no other way to put it. Aches and pains travelled throughout my body. Panic attacks became a daily occurrence. The snowball grew and grew until I was unable to go to my job, unable to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling utterly out of sorts, and smashed under the sweat-coated palm of this mysterious ailment. Doctors could not figure it out. They ascertained what it wasn't--lupus, fibromyalgia, heart problem, blood clot, cancer. Their diplomas hung so proud.

Finally, my third trip to the local ER bore fruit. I was questioned by a mental health worker who recommended the hospital's outpatient treatment program. This involved group therapy as a means to confront my sickness (eventually determined to be a sour admixture of bipolar and panic disorders) and then, hopefully, devise a plan to control it.

Around the time I was placed into said program, my physician prescribed Symbyax, a relatively new bipolar treatment that combines olanzapine and fluoxetine. In the three months I wrestled with my baffling foe, I'd gained 30 pounds. I had no clue that olanzapine was also known as Zyprexa, and further, that this Zyprexa was (and is) notorious for the side effect of weight gain.

The outpatient program and subsequent individual therapy sessions--which I am still undergoing--helped immensely. My prodigal life returned. I could work again. I had energy. I could read my Sonic Youth tour journals and not tear up in agonizing envy at that brave, resourceful woman who pursued a dream because she could.

The happiness didn't last.

The Symbyax evened me out, but it also widened an already considerable frame, packing 20 more pounds onto it.

I've heard people say of antipsychotic medication that to be on them is to be "fat and happy" and to be off them, "thin and miserable". That's cute. It's also, in my case, dead fucking wrong.

I insisted on a switch and the Risperdal entered my life. Around this time, I cut red meat out of my diet and joined Golds Gym. It has been a month since. The emotional and physical benefits of these most recent changes were enough to make me question the necessity of pills. I fretted myself useless over the cumulative effects of the pharmaceutical treatment. I flipped the coin and saw the possibility that my body and mind would revert back to their depressed states if I gave up on the pills.

Helpless, I reached out to a pharmacist. I felt my doctor and psychiatrist were in the business of selling me one of several thousand "solutions", so I took my grievances to a middle man, as it were. I was advised not to quit the treatment entirely, but rather to split all my pills in half and take one half a night. I was also told that the low dosage made serious side effects more unlikely
to occur. With this counsel, I made the new decision. To not throw my meds away, but to alter them, and to keep perspective on what is rather than lose sleep over what may never be.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ill Pills Face Their Hour of Reprisal

I'm going off my medication. I've decided that the risks aren't worth it, as I'm starting to notice
little facial tics that could be related to tardive dyskinesia. So I'm going off of all medication
after 4 and a half months. With the dietary changes I've made, and my gym routine, I've
decided not to depend on pills. I'm not going back to them. Drug industries will get no more of
my money.

Just hope these mild facial tics fade. It's mainly frequent licking of the lips, which can be a
sign of the tardive disorder, or could be something else. I had a flare up of it a month or so
ago and it faded. I read the more you take certain pills the more at risk you are at having a
severe, debilitating case of it, and it could be irreversible. My parents didn't raise an idiot.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Peanuts is Timeless, Vote Snoopy

All I have to say is, fuck that paper. You run from your soul when you run from Peanuts.

Snoopy is Kawaii! Somebody buy me Rosetta Stone Japanese for Christmas.

I agree with the fundamental statement of this article, but I can't help but wonder more and more if the American people are too scared to be anything but Charlie Brown.

Hallmark's done it again!

The election will end, but the analogy will continue.

Real-life 'Nuts.

Another football reference, but I like the fact the author admits "99% of what I write is crap."

Ratings for the Pumpkin.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown

It doesn't matter whether you hunger for "change" or crave "experience"--Peanuts is for everyone.

AIRDATE: 10/29/72

STORY: Birchwood Elementary is about to nominate their choices for Student Body President, and no one is more ready for sweeping change than Sally Brown, who is a wreck over being too short to open her locker. Linus thinks Charlie Brown would make a good prez ("Stand up, Chuck!"), but a quick poll by Lucy reveals the brutal truth--he doesn't stand a chance. With a heart full of hope and affection, Sally immediately recommends Linus. Lucy takes another poll, bullying much of the school populace into supporting her little brother. One kid, however, cannot be cajoled. This big-haired blonde kid is Russell Anderson, and he will run against Linus.

The debates go off smashingly for our licorice-haired hero until he decides to devote some speech time to the Great Pumpkin. Predictably, he is met with scorn. Despite this faux pas, he still pulls out the win, 84-83, with the final, deciding vote cast by none other than Russell Anderson.

Sally's glee at her Sweet Baboo's ascension is short-lived. A trip to the principal's office makes it clear that no drastic shifts in power will be happening, and the new president will remember upon which side his toast is jellied or else. There is little Linus can do but capitulate, and litte Sally can do but be enraged. "He sold out!" A classic American tale...8.

ANIMATION: Basically flawless. Bright and bold, and don't you just love Lucy with the "Oswald's just been shot!" face? 10.

MUSIC: Mellow brilliance, sauntering around the school grounds with a supreme vibe of colorblast cool. Which reminds me, this special features the animated debut of one Joseph I. Cool, theme song in hand.


VOICES: Chad Webber is a notable 9 for his perpetually-waking up Chuck. Stephen Shea is a fantastic Linus, jumping headfirst/feetlast into his oratorial spotlight with crazed relish. 10 fa sho.

Robin Kohn is 9 for a suitably peeved Lucy, while Hilary Momberger turns in another fantastic, 10 as Sally. "It's a known fact that, that all of our country's Presidents started their morning with a rousing breakfast." Seriously, Taft would eat a whole buffalo.

Todd Barbee, better known as Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, is a serviceable 7.5 as Russell, the honorable loser. Brian Kazajian is Schroeder, and earns a 7, which is pretty much all a Schroeder voicer can hope for.

Finally, the great Linda Ercoli gets a 9 for Violet. She's arguably the greatest voice actor in the Peanuts reperatory, but is woefully underused as a school paper reporter, accounting for her less-than-perfect showing here.


--The original "Linus runs for office" storyline appeared in some strips from October 1964. Although there, Linus' profession of admiration for the generous fruit resulted in his blowing the election.

Really, in the history of political gaffes, Linus' is rather minor. At least he didn't show up to school in a tank, call Russell a "macaca", or joke about blowing up the high school across town. At least the kid believes in something, majority opinion be damned. There's something very profoundly sad about the way he laments, "It's depressing to think that there are students who don't believe in the Great Pumpkin." Lucy's reflection on the ultimately unfulfilling duties of the campaign worker are also incredibly insightful for a childrens show.

--It's impossible to root against Linus. "I will purge the kingdom! My administration will release us from our spiritual Babylon!" What happened to speeches like that? It's poetry, plain and simple.

--Arguably the greatest segment involves Linus and Lucy attending a talk-radio show set up by Snoopy (yeah, it totally makes sense). The goal is for the candidate to answer queries set forth by voters. The "y'know" caller is hilarious and still relevant, but best of all is the caller (with a voice sounding very Linus-y) who goes on and on about the glory of this opportunity to directly question a candidate, and how important it is to the cause of democracy...and then promptly forgets what question he wanted to ask.


--Snoopy sez vote Clemson. I sez, fear the turtle.

--Where are the parents?!!

--Notice how the "not" looks thrown in at the last second in the title? That's 'cause it was. Yep, the show was originally going to be called You're Elected, Charlie Brown, until someone realized that Charlie Brown being named to any office would fly in the fat round face of all established as normal in the Peanuts universe. But while the title was able to be altered at the last minute, the brief title song could not be re-recorded. That's the kinda thing that can warp kids minds. Hopefully.

You're Not Elected is fresh out on DVD, and is worth every penny. Election day in America is Tuesday and I hope you get out and vote for who you want to represent the country.

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?