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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

God, Sin and New Orleans

Isn't it really just a matter of time before Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blame the sin and vice New Orleans cultivates through Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street for Katrina's devastation? Safe money is betting Falwell to make such a statement this Sunday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Chateau Marmont Story

Here's our version of the Chateau Marmont joke that originated at Defamer.

So there I was at Chateau Marmont with a 17 year old Robert Downey Jr and James Spader. I knew Junior was gone as he was threatening to swan dive off the balcony onto Molly Ringwold's patio three floors down. The swan dive was standard fare, but that crazy SOB was willing to leave the four East German hookers we had fed-exed that morning because he was, "Jonesin' for some Fire Crotch". I was finishing up the last of the blues when I hear Jim screaming from the bathroom. Seems he and one of the Krauts hit a bit too much ether, she choked on her own vomit and was unconscious. Junior got all pissed that she was the first to go to sleep, considering he'd been up for six days and she should have caught some shut-eye on the way over, so he cooks up a batch and injects it into her leg to try to get her up. She wound up dead, and we never did find out if it was the brown or asphyxiation that did her in. But hey, that's drugs.

Racism of the National Review

Today Jonah Goldberg (the offspring of gossip-monger extraordinaire Lucianne Goldberg) argued Cindy Sheehan is aiding and abetting white supremecists. Nice, Jonah, really nice. From his boyish picture, it looks as though Jonah is of ripe enlistment age... Come to think of it, the National Review seems to know a thing or two about white supremacy...

William Buckley's National Review, which would champion Barry Goldwater for president the following year, was able to. "Let us gently say," it said, "the fiend who set off the bomb does not have the sympathy of the white population in the South; in fact, he set back the cause of the white people there so dramatically as to raise the question whether in fact the explosion was the act of a provocateur -- of a Communist, or of a crazed Negro." The magazine said some evidence supported this possibility.


"And let it be said," the National Review declared, "that the convulsions that go on, and are bound to continue, have resulted from revolutionary assaults on the status quo, and a contempt for the law, which are traceable to the Supreme Court's manifest contempt for the settled traditions of Constitutional practice. Certainly it now appears that Birmingham's Negroes will never be content so long as the white population is free to be free.

"Fourteen months later the National Review weighed in on the murders of Goodman, Schwerner, and Cheney in Mississippi. It noted that a federal grand jury convened in Neshoba County had returned indictments against local police officers. "It is everyone's impression, including ours, that some, at least, of the Neshoba police are a crummy lot," said the magazine airily. "But we pause for reflection. Are 'violation of the Civil Rights Act' and the even more tenuous 'conspiracy to violate' going to become a catch-all charge by which the Federal Government can get its hands on nearly any citizen?"

Monday, August 29, 2005

Operation Yellow Elephant

Oh, moral superiority. This blog reported on Operation Yellow Elephant about a month ago, a movement to enlist college Republicans to fight in Iraq. I'd imagine the result would be the college R's handing out the enlistment fliers and being generally amiable when dealing with anyone attempting encouraging military recruitment.

I think of my mother walking into my room, looking at the home which protected me, my room with the things that I touched and which we laughed over, and simply am numbed by the image of 1,900 mothers having to do the same thing. I supported the war at the beginning. I was told they had big bad weapons, and certainly we could go in there, clear the place out, and be gone in a few months. I was stupid, I was gullible and I was wrong, and now 1,900 mothers must box up the belongings of their sons and daughters--the pictures they displayed of better times down to their shirts and socks. I am truly sorry.

I guess the kids at this school just don't get it. Make sure to watch the end of the video, when a member of the college republicans attempts to claim the moral high ground, arguing the club couldn't be bothered to encourage students to join the military and fight for a war they support because some of the organization's members simply weren't "able to enlist" despite their burning desire to do so. Unlike, of course, those 40-something national guardsmen with a wife and three kids who are being called through the backdoor draft for their third tour of duty...

Video Here

What Would Jesus Wear (to the VMA's)


So, let's get this straight. Jessica Simpson's father is a former southern preacher who now is dressing her up like a street-walker and running around with a $300 haircut complete with blond tips. It makes you wonder whether Pat Robertson would be such a dick if he had a hot daughter.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Missy Elliott...


Crystal Meth's latest victim.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Crazy People

Chicago White Sox's outfielder Carl Everett claimed in 2000 dinosaurs never existed. Indeed, dinosaur bones are made by men, as part of the most elaborate anti-Christian cover-up since the holocaust. Now, religious zealots one step removed from 'creationists' are buildilng 2nd-rate play structures (coming soon to a truck stop near you!) to sell the notion that dinosaurs were created along with men 6,000 years ago. Not only were we all friends, but all dinosaurs were vegetarians until Eve went and screwed everything up. If you thought Hugo Chavez pissed Pat Robertson off, just imagine what he has to say about that Eve character.

Audioslave. My Generation's White Snake...


Who buys tickets to see Audioslave? For that matter, who's paying for a Creed, Nickelback, Tool, Perfect Circle, etc. etc. etc. show? It must just be an entire arena of people who were caller 9 at "Hot (enter number here), Today's Hit Music, Yesterday's Favorites".

Friday, August 26, 2005

National League West...Very Very Bad

How bad is the National League West? The ENTIRE National League East is better than the San Diego Padres who lead the west by six and a half games. The east cellar-dwelling Washington Nationals (read: Montreal Expos) would lead the NL west by two and a half games and until yesterday, the Padres were below .500. Whether or not the NL west champs finish above .500 is nearly as interesting as the best race in baseball, the AL Wildcard.

Drudge Report...Obnoxious

Up until about a month ago I read the drudge report a few times a day. The ridiculous, tabloid pieces and over the top yellow journalism were amusing. Now Drudge is really being shown for what he is--not a showman in a silly hat, but just another Ann Coulter-esque jerk. Today he's just another Swift Boat schmuck (without the war experience) attacking Cindy Sheehan. His comment about Ms. Sheehan's HufPo column today consisted of, "We now have caterers". Clearly his goal is to mock a woman who lost a son in a war he advocates--classy Drudge, classy.

Ebert and Ebert: Two fat thumbs down

Meet Marilyn Wann. Is she really the mild-mannered author of Fatso, the feel good book aimed at obese housewives who spend their afternoons reading Redbook and watching the Rosie O'Donnell show? Or worse......could she be Roger Ebert's Doppleganger!? You make the call.



Thursday, August 25, 2005

3rd World Wireless

Newsflash: NY Times discovers Africans like to talk to their friends too!
Villagers in the two jungle provinces of Congo are so eager for service that they have built 50-foot-high treehouses to catch signals from distant cellphone towers.

"One man uses it as a public pay phone," said Gilbert Nkuli, deputy managing director of Congo operations for Vodacom Group, one of Africa's biggest mobile operators. Those who want to climb to his platform and use his phone pay him for the privilege.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Applaud Here

Mikal Gilmore's op-ed piece in yesterday's NY Times is outstanding. The best quote? It can be found here

The cultural perspective that defines youth has changed drastically.

We've infantilized adolescents. We view them as children whose judgments are immature, who have to be protected from influences that may steer them in wrong directions - directions that may threaten decency or disrupt social authority. True, the same things were said about teenagers in the 1950's and 1960's, but part of our ambition was to dispute mores and intimidate hegemony. Today, the pressures against such instincts for adolescents come from both within their peer group and the culture at large. Teenagers now are themselves often the harshest critics of young nonconformists.


If that's not your bag, try this delightful Slate piece, which certainly more aptly suits the sentiments of the head east crew:
Though I'm normally a pretty empathetic person, I hate teenagers with incredible fervor. It's nothing personal: I hate them categorically, like I hate injustice. I hate the way they roam around in packs, wearing floppy, Technicolor clothes, sculpting their marginal facial hair, slapping and tripping each other, shouting strings of banal obscenities as if they were delivering the "Gettysburg Address." I hate the way they express personal inadequacy through car accessories and vandalism. I even hate the word "teens," which sounds like some kind of infectious skin fungus.

South Korea National Dog Eating Contest

I can't make this shit up.

In Seocheon County, directly north of here, "Amenity Seocheon" is the motto used to advertise the region's unspoiled wilderness. The county also proposed a dog-eating festival for lovers of the meat, which is considered a delicacy in Korea.

"But some pet-lovers opposed the idea and we dropped it," said Lee Jin Hee, a county official.

South Korean Officials Propose National Dog Eating Contest, Offer Bikini Discounts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pat Robertson Drinking Game

Pat Robertson argued for the US to assassinate Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela. I thought his next move would be calling Cindy Sheehan a lesbo, thus I must take a shot. The AP summarizes Robertson's illustrious career as such:
Robertson has made controversial statements in the past. In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

That pretty much covers it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

TGI Friday's Bar Review

When looking to sling back a cold one, there's no better place in San Diego than the ultimate in corporate, homogenized dining; TGI Friday's. Mock it for the over the top kitsch. Ridicule the frat in the corner celebrating Chad or Chip or Conner's birthday, washing down their Chicken Poppers with long islands. TGI Friday's has one thing unrivaled by any other San Diego watering hole. Secretaries. Oodles of them. Fellas, you're not going to find any 'girls nights out' at that hip North Park or PB hole in the wall you enjoy.

Only two groups of women frequent TGI Friday's. One—the secretaries—are no longer able to respectably hit up the joints of their youth. Solidly 30-ish, the female equivalents of rent-a-car regional managers are Friday's bread and butter. They're drinking Lemon Drops with a side car of desperation. The second group is the bachelorette party for the terribly uncreative and inexperienced. They could have gone to Chip 'n' Dales, but these girls chose to consume oversized margaritas to show they're "having a good time". They're either Mormon or terrible planners—hope for the latter.

Sure, you have to deal with the throng of middle managers in town from Dallas driving up in their Dodge Stratus, attempting to take that always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride back to their respective Radisson love-nests. But in the end, the kids are fun and the forced happiness of Fridays (that's a fake bison's head on the wall—aren't we WACKY!) will almost make you believe you're enjoying yourself.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Airport Thoughts

The 8:25 PM San Jose-San Diego flight is the most attractive in the country. Jet Blue’s LAX-JFK Thursday evening flights run a close second...Once a fashion trend reaches the pages of SkyMall, it is officially dead... Those of you still wearing trucker hats, please proceed immediately with the other trash to gate 47, your frog-legging expedition departs tout de suite...Filthy Rich, the E! Network’s newest reality show in which the most obnoxious offspring of the mildly-wealthy participate in a cattle drive, offers a better argument for the estate tax than Paul Krugman ever could...A documented anxiety disorder should allow one to use medical insurance when purchasing booze at airports–especially with a Miller Light costing $11, the same price as a month’s worth of Xanax from Venezuela...Who the fuck still uses chewing tobacco--especially in Callifornia...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

American Religion

Pope B-Dizzle told some German kids today they shouldn't listen to crazy Uncle Martin and think acting all nice and shit will save them from the fiery pits of hell. The only way to save your soul is not through thinking for yourself and acting in the tradition of Jesus, but to listen to your neighborhood priest and sit in church each Sunday. I wish I could be infallible.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Deadman Our Eternal Ghosts Review for San Diego CityBeat

Review of Deadman's newest album, Our Eternal Ghosts, in this week's San Diego CityBeat

DEADMAN: Our Eternal Ghosts

(One Little Indian)

8.59323 out of 10

Goes Well With: Chris Isaak, Blanche, Low


Steven and Sherilyn Collins, the husband and wife who comprise Deadman, last released the critically acclaimed but commercially ignored Palomar. It was a southwestern lament laden with eerie ballads whose sparse instrumentation perfectly set the tone of gritty individualism stereotypical of the American West.

Three years on, Our Eternal Ghosts reproduces much of that same loneliness yet yearns nostalgically for something not found during those days roaming wide open spaces. Our Eternal Ghosts is a less trendy Chris Isaak, a more sincere Lyle Lovett, with Sherilyn’s high pitched laments adding conscience to Deadman’s lyrics, hedging songs from going too far into self-pity or self-loathing.

Where Palomar offered a young man diving with reckless abandon into the great wide open, Our Eternal Ghosts warns of journeys gone awry, imploring travelers to beware of the metaphorical werewolves, monsters, ghosts and grizzly murders that lurk just beyond the horizon.

It’s a truly beautiful effort, crafted by experienced artists.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Overplayed


You've probably seen the photo by now, or maybe even his Leno appearance, but Sam the World's Ugliest Dog is simply too horrific to not grace this page. We look at some pretty crazy shit as we spend 13+ hours a day online, yet a tip of the cap to Sam--at least he's fixed and blind so he probably doesn't know the difference.

C: did I send you that ugly dog?
Z: i don't know?
C: Here
Z: Shut the fuck up
Z: that thing can't be real
C: it was on leno, LA Times article too
Z: that is horrific
Z: someone shoot that creature

Thoughts

C: "I don't need sexual gratification--just the emotional and psychological reassurances a relationship provide."
Z: "Get a dog"

Monday, August 15, 2005

It's Alive!

The internet has returned to my home, thus the regular flurry of postings will continue after the recent two week hiatus. An update on the homefront--things are looking up. The weather proved perfect a week ago in Vancouver and the trip was simply splendid. Thanks to all the folks for their hospitality. I'm preparing for the fast-approaching trip to Munich, where I'll be from September through the end of the year. A short trip to DC and New York precedes Germany, mostly for a bit of job searching. My second to last university course ends this week, and with only two and a half weeks left the specter of real life looms large. See, I put in the word "specter" because that's a word adults use and, you know, I'm one of those. Anyway, enough about me, let's talk about you. And the world. And how I really hope I'm not going to be in Iraq anytime soon. Well, let's talk about that tomorrow at least.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bankruptcy


Oh, Cecilia, you're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to come home
Come on home.
Jubilation, she loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I'm laughing,


The fear which only inevitable doom can cause is upon me. Much like driving directly in front of a cop, my checking account is treading in dangerous territory, a dollar or two above or below the massive doctor's check that will be cashed anyday. Until it is, I taking the only course of action offered to a 21 year old red blooded American Male--mortgage my future. Last weekend it was an expensive trip to Canada, today lunch out in La Jolla...but can you blame me--how else can I supress the fear which accompanies impending forcoslure? Well, besides getting a job.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

UCSD Rant

Over my three years at UC San Diego, I have yet to find a proper adjective to describe the remedial writing courses forced upon undergraduates. Insulting, detrimental, and disenchanting all come to mind, but none truly describes the abhorrent system managed by the bureaucrats at each of the colleges, or at least those who facilitate the Making of the Modern World program at Eleanor Roosevelt College. While I hope this program was originally conceived by academics—and the courses are still taught by professors often overqualified to cram thousands of years of history into a 10 week course—the focus of the seminars, the writing program, simply could not be more mismanaged.

Upon entering UCSD, one selects a ‘college’—basically a terribly conceived version of Cambridge’s college system which attempts to break our massive university into smaller units. Unfortunately this ended up as an unfortunate bastardization of the Cambridge model, with only 6 colleges for over 20,000 undergraduates, providing all of the bureaucratic overlaps and none of the intimacy or self-selecting groups of students interested in similar subjects. With over 4,000 students in each college, the cookie-cutter writing programs beat students into submission, churning out students who must conform to a single writing style. Epitomized by the checklist given to Teaching Assistance which they must use to grade essays, students produce work which merely adheres to a checklist. Either the administrators in charge of the Making of the Modern World program feel teaching assistants are too incompetent to grade undergraduate essays or too overworked to do so—in each case blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the program’s facilitators. Pedantic weekly assignments only add to the belief that the program underestimates and talks down to students. One handout offered ‘reminders’ to students, including the following:


“Make sure your paper has a title”

“Double-Check that the question you pose is phrased as a question. Underline your thesis”

“Attach photocopies of the title pages (or first page of a scholarly article) of your sources, as well as pages from which you quote or paraphrase”

“Put all your materials in a folder of some sort”


At least responding to alumni donation requests will be enjoyable.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Wine Bars

What's that you say, you want more totally awesome articles before their publish dates? You indeed are a cruel mistress.


Bars for Booze, Wineries for Wine


Sideways transported the epicenter of the California wine scene southward, from the famed Napa Valley region to Santa Barbara County—a warmer climate producing simpler, and less expensive wines. The movie also gave undeserved shame to Merlot and Oscar snubs to film’s entire cast, and entrenched the image of wine snobs as aloof, introverted dorks who lacked interpersonal skills. Yet Paul Giamatti’s ability to score Virginia Madsen—a woman wildly beyond his social status and physique would warrant—begs the question, can wine expertise help you nab a woman of superior appearance and social standing? While the new crop of San Diego wine bars offer little more than intimidation and expense even for seasoned wine drinkers, the romantic and inebriating pleasures of wine can be found in a more affordable and alluring setting—the wineries of San Diego.
The romantic allure of wine is unmatched by other culinary and libationary indulgences. Restaurants have always capitalized on wine’s elitism—a proper beer brewed by Trapist monks may be as labor intensive and expensive to produce as a glass Pinot Noir, yet it is vino which stocks the cellars of the world’s finest restaurants, regularly fetching thousands of dollars a bottle at auction. Wine bars have cropped up throughout San Diego to meet the demand of the young set looking to trade in their pints of PBR for a more refined method of getting sloshed, one more fitting of their newly established bank accounts since they moved away from the frat house and out of the mail room.
Only a few San Diego wine bars seem to be poised for long term survival. Integrating expensive wine with expensive cuisine is the road to financial success for restaurants, who can offset the large, initial capital investment to creating a wine cellar with the sale of $20 calamari. Indeed, general wisdom states wine sales increase the check, rather than make the meal as profitable. The economics of a wine bar must then be the same as any watering hole—be profitable by booze alone. Three years ago Bull and Bear seemed primed to capitalize on this younger professional set, offering high priced wines on La Jolla’s fashionable main drag, Prospect Street. The tiny kitchen offered an extensive menu, and a wine list that was as long as it was expensive. If any wine bar should have made it, Bull and Bear’s location and atmosphere certainly positioned it to attract the target customer base. After six months of watching the cantina’s lack of ocean views (blocked by the two and three story restaurants across the street) and inflated prices turn Bull and Bear into yet another LJ money pit, the owners packed up one night and hit the road. Three years later, the restaurant is surviving as a neighborhood pub, with 16 wines by the glass—most from California and priced around six to eight dollars—and a simplified menu producing La Jolla’s best burgers.
Yet none of the wine bars visited seemed to be encouraging patrons to belt ‘em back. Just Wine, located in Hillcrest, offered the best combination of selection and price, with over 100 wines by the glass ranging from four to fifteen dollars. The joint wasn’t exactly hoppin’, and few if any customers were venturing far beyond Just Wine’s half priced bottles or a few glasses of wine. It’s tough to scalp a lush in a wine bar—neither broken hearted souls looking to drown their sorrow nor guys on a night out packed Just Wine. The atmosphere was pedagogical—the friendly and knowledgeable staff worked to educate customers on what they were drinking and how to best enjoy it—yet even on a sparse Tuesday night it seemed most either faked their way through the ordering process or chose blindly from the list. The occasional man-dates were the heaviest drinkers, yet even they opted for the cheaper bottles.
The wine drinker with money to burn will always have plenty of options, often complete with ocean views and attentive sommeliers. The best option for viniculture novices is still to head to the source—the wineries of San Diego county and the surrounding area. Most area wineries offer tasting rooms open daily, including the two closest to San Diego, Bernardo Winery of San Diego and Orfila Vineyards of Escondido. Bernardo, located in Rancho Bernardo and offering free tastings daily from 10-6, opened in 1889 and today produces operates numerous kitschy shops on the grounds surprisingly not encroached by the high priced real estate developments common to the ritzy area. Producing bottles for private labeling as well as purchase on the grounds, the winery offers an affordable and significantly more pleasurable alternative to the local wine bars. A trip to any of the local tasting rooms offers an instant—and cheap—education in wine necessary to traverse the massive menus of the commercial tasting rooms and upscale restaurants.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My Apologies


Things have been rather hectic around here, yet the fruits of avoidance and procrastination soon will abound. A crop of new CityBeat articles next week, and one the week after, including a review of Deadman's new CD, some interviews with transexual victims fo botched botox jobs, a couple bar reviews and a study of San Diego wine bars. Also, only 4 weeks from finishing up my last college course, and 6 weeks from Germany, so posts should be frequent.

First off, I fairly confident I saw the brother from American Chopper in Starbucks today. What he was doing in La Jolla is beyond me, and perhaps it was merely a woman with man-cans and dirty blond locks, yet the guy does have a rather distinctive "look". I know, I know, the brush with celebrity is still wearing off. He ordered a grande caramel latte and a cranberry bliss bar...look for him on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club III next February.

Second, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH BRADGELINA? They were spotted taking a vacation to spring break hot spot Lake Havasu (and by 'hot spot' I of course mean 'fourth rate skank fest for the lowest and poorest of Arizona State skanketry). Billy Bob juice is apparently still running through Jolie, and let us all prey it does not infest the gorgeous loins of Mr. Pitt. He's already rocking that trashy, short, blond hair cut, the only good part of which is allowing me to read US Weekly without questioning my sexuality when looking at him.

Finally, weekend updates will be from Vancouver, let's hope the mounties have fixed their runways by now.

UPDATE: Brad has died his hair black. I repeat, Brad now has black, short hair, NOT blond. We'll keep you updated as this story progresses.