16 May 2010

Things I Liked Last Week 051610

01: Kitty, The Hiking Cat: Two people hike from Miami to the southernmost tip of South America. Somewhere in Louisiana, this stray cat (simply named Kitty, as far as I can tell)starts travelling with them, making the entire 9000 mile trek. Cats rule.

02: Chuck Klosterman: CK IV: A Decade Of Curious People And Dangerous Ideas: I love Chuck Klosterman. I also hate Chuck Klosterman a little bit because he makes me hate myself a little bit. You see, Chuck Klosterman essentially has the career I long dreamed for myself, but never had the confidence or skill to pursue in earnest, or actually attain if I had pursued it. Chuck Klosterman is also an unabashed Billy Joel fan. So am I. Chuck doesn't believe in the idea of guilty pleasures. Neither do I. Chuck likes hair metal. Me, not so much. Chuck is an engaging writer. Very likeable words. He asks as many questions as he answers, which is probably for the best as far as pop culture is concerned. Distractions worth talking about. In this collection of (mostly) magazine articles, Chuck writes about Britney Spears, his McNugget diet, Goth Day at Disneyland, the Fargo-Moorhead music scene circa 1994, among many other other things "of the moment" throughout his career. Anyways, love or hate, I like this Chuck Klosterman book, though not as much as Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs...

03: Drop Dead Gorgeous: Well, it took me eleven years to finally watch this 1999 mockumentary-style comedy, and I'm sorry it took so long because it's a hilarious gem of a movie. The subject is teen beauty pageants, which is the biggest reason I resisted the film for so long. Another reason for my hesitation is that among it's rock-solid ensemble cast, Kirstie Alley and Denise Richards feature prominently, and I do not like either of these actresses on a personal level. The thing is, they play the mother-daughter villains of the film, and as villains, they're not only palatable to me, but are damn easy to root against. Now, as much as I dislike Kirstie Alley, she's a great comedic actress, and I only wish I could say the same about Ms. Richards, who is easily the weakest link here. Elsewhere, Kirstin Dunst takes the lead role, and does a great job, and once again I'm wondering why there are so many Dunst-haters on the internet - she's cute and talented, what more needs be said? Then there's Allison Janney and Ellen Barkin, playing two boozy, chain-smoking, trailer court MILFs, and are certainly two of the stronger characters of the film. Amy Adams and the late Brittany Murphy ably play two of the other pageant contestants, and Ms. Murphy in particular gives a fine performance that only makes her untimely death all the more tragic to me. And here's a sentence I never thought I'd write - this movie would have been even better with more Will Sasso. Ayup, the lumbering MadTV veteran here's plays a paint-huffing moron of epic, absurd proportions. Anyways, the film is set in Minnesota, I would have to say that the classic, nasally midwestern accent, as popularized in Fargo, is one of the few elements of this film I didn't necessarily love, if only because I always feel Hollywood is too quick to equate the accent with bumpkins and rubes, as if the midwest is nothing but simpletons as far as the eye can see, and exist only to be ridiculed. Finally, I'd like to note that Drop Dead Gorgeous was written by Lona Williams, who's showbiz career has been one of production assistant on The Simpsons, and story editor for The Drew Carey Show. And here she is, writing an absolutely hilarious, and sometimes charming film, one of the funniest films I've seen in quite awhile. Sadly, she's done almost nothing else in showbiz since, save three uncredited producer jobs. This woman needs to write more films that actually get made. In any event, Drop Dead Gorgeous is an excellent comedy that has somewhat flown under the radar since it's release, and really doesn't deserve it. A MUST!





04: Brian Posehn: "More Metal Than You" video: A friend of mine once said that I look like the indie rock brother of Brian Posehn. I'd maintain that the flannel I fly makes me more of a Grunge cousin, but whatever...I would also maintain that I'm more metal. Just kidding - I would never name my cat "Manowar" and I certainly wouldn't let Gene Simmons anywhere near my weeping Eisenhower. I would lick Lemmy's wart. Then again, I used to work with a guy named Sal, who once got punched in the gut by Henry Rollins at a house party in Green Bay. That's hardcore, and pretty fucking metal.

05: This picture [as always, click to enlarge]: I'm one of those people that thinks we should all just shut our fucking mouths when it comes to Tiger Woods and any other celebrity who cheats on their spouse, because it's none of our business, and none of us are without sin, so we should stop casting stones. That isn't to say that I condone extra-marital affairs, but what I always say is these people really ought to "know themselves". In other words, Tiger Woods biggest "sin" was getting married in the first place. He KNEW he was a horndog long before he got married, so why would he? If Jesse James liked banging tattoo-covered party girls, why the fuck would he even think about settling down, especially with Sandra Bullock, widely considered one of the nicest women in Hollywood, the antithesis of Bombshell McGee? Whatever. My other point is that all this hand-wringing and moral outrage is a bunch of bullshit. A goodly percentage of us are duplicitous and hypocritical, and I always operate on the assumption that the more a person feigns outrage at somebody else's actions, the more likely they are to partake in those actions themselves. I mean, consider all those Christian Conservatives who are always getting caught in their own sex scandals. All those moral leaders who preach that homosexuality is an abomination while sodomizing rentboys behind closed doors. Let's all just shut the fuck up and let each other live our lives.

06: Djeep Lighters: They last longer than Bics, never break before they run out of butane, are shapely, are made in France, only cost $1.29, and do not burn your fingers during the power ballad portion of yr favorite hair metal band's concert. Yet I do not know a single smoker, whether it be cigarettes, weed, meth or crack, that uses Djeep lighters. Their loss, because these are easily the finest disposable lighter on the market today.

07: Madison Gas & Electric: Yesterday morning I was sitting in my easy chair, reading some Murakami (After Dark, if you must know), when an extremely loud explosion from somewhere in the neighborhood came through my open windows and caught my attention. A second later, all the power was out. It seems that a transformer box on one of the lightpoles up the street and around the corner had suddenly and inexplicably exploded and caught fire. After the firemen secured the scene, in came several MG&E trucks to replace the box and the pole, fix some of the powerlines in the neighborhood, and restore power. I just assumed we'd be without power for the better part of the day, considering the extent of the damage, but lo and behold, we had power again about 90 minutes later. Now, I'm more than willing to bitch about the amount I'm billed each month for gas and electric, but all things considered, MGE's repairmen were effective and efficient in this instance, and I liked that.

Hotcha! Hank

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