Sunday, May 31, 2009

what rocks? (the claw machine)

the claw machine
(a game of persistence, frustration and taunting by inanimate objects)

why it rocks: the SATs may test “intelligence,” but the claw machine tests character. as such, this online journal vehemently proposes that elite academic institutions abolish usage of standardized testing in lieu of this, the ultimate test. to succeed on the claw machine, the following skills are necessary in abundance: cleverness, patience, perseverance, adaptability, quick decision-making and having money. are those not the exact same skills that universities seek when evaluating applicants?

why else it rocks: winning a stuffed toy in the crane machine is the absolute most perfect gesture to impress a girl. that must be why they are often located in dating hot-spots, like the movie theater, bowling alleys, restaurants and supermarkets. impressive romantic gifts are too often the result of spending a lot of money or having “good taste.” the claw machine levels the playing field and makes impressing ladies about merit. additionally, there is no better way to grow closer to another person than to “win” something together, to have the feeling of being in cahoots together, to feel like it’s just the two of you against a rigged game, against the odds, the world. plus, you get a soft, squishy trophy that becomes a personification of your union. no matter how bad things ever get between the two romancers, there will always be this token of affection, to remind both of “better times.” also: where else can you convert quarters into the possibility of sexual foreplay? 

seriously, what’s the deal with it rocking: it’s only a matter of time before a good idea eventually goes too far. in this instance, our friends in east asia have taken the cake. for example, in china machines have been known to stock domestic and foreign cigarettes. okay, cancer-causing, but not too weird. where things really get fishy, though, is in the supermarkets where some chinese chains fill their machines with crabs and lobsters. in japan, even pet turtles can be won. it can only be a matter of time before adoption agencies use the claw machine to have artificial parents select their babies. utopia, here we come!

AND it’s not just men, women and children of all ages who love the crane machine. but aliens like these guys below also go gaga for this great adventure in metaliic-hand gaming:


since being introduced in the 1980s, frustrated teenagers have spent countless days, nights and parts of their crushed soul to argue whether or not the machines are rigged. perhaps we’ll never have this answer (though I think we can all agree that claw machine’s grip is weaker than an arthritic grandmother after a three-hour typing course), but here is evidence that the newer models are most certainly rigged:
late-model, high-end claw machines are fully computerized and are remotely programmable by the owner (via a hand-held device). Settings and features commonly available include

-claw strength and aperture
-motion speed, in any direction (that is, the claw can be made to drop slowly but come up quickly, or move right faster than it moves forward)
-pick-up strength and retain strength can be specified separately, as well as the delay between pick-up and return.
-payout percentage: Cranes equipped with this setting have onboard programming which cause the claw's grip parameters to be continually adjusted to achieve a pre-set payout percentage, usually specified with respect to the value of the prizes inside
-"fail limit": If the machine dispenses too many prizes in a given time period, it stops accepting coins and is "out of order"

Friday, May 29, 2009

top 25 fridays: the best breakfast cereals

where every friday we will delve, dissect and rank very important things.

today's top 25: kickass breakfast cereals.
(criteria includes taste, aftertaste, pre-taste and mascot)

1. cap'n crunch (fresh or soggy; who cares? it's deliciously versatile. and supposedly the only cereal served in heaven)
2. cinammon toast crunch (an army of miniature french toast slices in the trenches of my bowl? sign me up)
3. lucky charms (of course we're always after his lucky charms. those fantastic marshmellows gladly stick to our tongues)
4. corn pops (the best of the vegetable-derived cereals)
5. count chocula (a haunted house of dessert for breakfast)
6. kix (kid tested? wait, so the kids are, like, guinea pigging this thing. awesome)
7. frosted flakes (an all-american classic. the "girl next door" of cereals)
8. fruity pebbles (can't be eaten, only inhaled. it's like eating fruit-flavored oxygen sprinkled with sugar)
9. froot loops (because toucan sam makes me irrationally want to own an exotic bird)
10. honey nut cheerios (a homosexual bumble bee is an odd choice for mascot of such a subtle blend of salty, sweet and savory)
11. super golden crisp (the quickest way to a sugar high. notably knocked many recovered sugaraholics off their wagons)
12. trix (severe demerits for bunny bashing)
13. raisin bran (the only thing in the world that is actually healthy and also tastes good. oh, and bananas.)
14. frosted mini-wheats (outstanding texture. it's like eating an armadillo covered in powdered sugar)
15. apple jacks (too much jacks, too little apple)
16. life (fun fact: the dude who palyed "Mikey," John Gilchrist, is still alive and works as an advertising account manager in New York)
17. rice krispies (only deserves to be ranked when having at least three spoonfuls of sugar)
18. alpha-bits (the most educational of the cavity-causing foods)
19. teenage mutant ninja turtles (an extinct, but amazing promotional cereal from the wild early 90s)
20. oreo o's (death by chocolate...hey, not a bad way to go)
21. cocoa pebbles (a slower death by chocolate...)
22. rice chex (a great once-a-month go-to cereal)
23. cheerios (the matt dillon to honey nut cheerios' kevin)
24. wheaties (the breakfast of champions? really? not ranked at 24.)
25. honey smacks (solid cereal; creepy frog mascot)

honorable mentions: bill & ted's excellent cereal, boo berry, corn flakes, crispix, flutie flakes, golden grahams, teddy grahams breakfast bears graham cereal
reluctant honorable mention: Frankenberry (courtesy of @katieguhl)

(note: none of these cereals contain nuts due to my immense nut allergy)
(other note: except "honey nut cheerios" because it's so good sometimes i "chance" it).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

how to succeed at...hide & seek:

hide and seek is a wonderful game which measures intellect, ingenuinity, attrition and boredom.
if you wish to add "dominant hide and seek skills" to your resume, here is a brief list of strategies that can be implemented to increase your ranking:

the hiders:
-use the restroom before engaging in competition. there's nothing that ruins a good hiding spot faster than a killer bladder.
-turn off your phone. catchy ringtones may be cool, but they can also be uncool giveaways.
-control your breating. if you're a mouth breather, try going nose. if you're an ashmatic, just quit.
-location, location, location? false. in the land of hide & seek, it's stealth, stealth, stealth. therefore, channel your inner tom cruise.
-nevertheless, location is important. so as the creepy dude in indiana jones says: choose wisely.
-avoid hiding under beds. unless your life is actually a 90's sitcom, this hiding spot sucks. (and, if you do live in a 90's sitcom, become great friends with the object of your affection; it will take years for him/her to realize that you should be more than just friends...but it'll happen).
-be honest with yourself. if you played offensive line in high school you shouldn't be hiding in that cranny behind the couch.
-where would waldo hide? amongst the commotion, that's where. part of waldo's talent comes from immersing himself in distraction. hide in places with many goings-on.
-dabble in the taboo: bathrooms, parent's room, underneath the electrical wiring.
-become as small as possible. curl into a ball, a piece of macaroni, a childhood version of yourself.
-while hiding, think of terrible traumas you have incurred throughout your lifetime. these sensitive memories will keep you quiet.
-under no circumstances may you laugh if the seeker passes you. (this is a strangely valid reminder).
-when you are finally found, claim the seeker has cheated. tell him the round is played "under protest." consequently, you remain undefeated.

the seekers:
-count down softly, use this time period to listen for clues.
-eyes on the prize. but also nose, ears, cheek and tongue. don't be afraid to use your senses.
-remember that you are harry potter and the hider is your golden snitch.
-try to rattle your opponent. slander him/her verbally as you seek, trying to get a reaction.
-use your resources; round up pets to cover more ground
-if you are struggling, pretend to quit. this will anger the hider.
-if you are playing with multiple persons, use those you have found to narc out others.
-don't give up. don't ever give up. your reputation, self-esteem and self-perception are riding on it.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

what rocks? (people who hassle seat-savers)

people who hassle seat-savers
(highly evolved persons)

why they rock: you walk into a movie theater. you are highly excited for this movie. you saw the trailer ten months ago and for that long you have used a portion of the back of your mind to consider if this movie will live up to the expectations you have set. regardless, today will be a memorable day. you will either love this movie and admire your predictive instincts or despise it and make a mental note to increase your level of skepticism. many people share this goal of revelation and therefore the theater is packed. where will you sit? the only seats left seem to be in the front (damn you for being so nonchalant about getting to the theater, damn you for thinking that when the cashier said there were seats still available you were in the clear). you can’t believe that you are going to be forced to sit in the front. but, huzzah! you notice three empty seats. you start walking to these seats. you realize that the life is not out to get you and that, in the end, the world is a benevolent place. or is it? a seemingly normal man or woman bursts your bubble of hope and says “these are saved.” “all three,” you ask. he/she nods. this person that crushed your soul is better known as a seat-saver. 

why else they rock: just as pure evil does and always will exist so do (and always will) seat-savers. since the dawn of time, seat-savers have walked among us. certain historians fiercely believe that judas saved three seats, much to the dismay of last-supper-goers who had no place to sit. they were forced to leave, whispered mutterings and all. The fact is that seat-savers have utterly and completely infiltrated our species. your parents might be seat-savers. your lovers might be seat-savers. even you may just be playing the part of hilarious-article-reader as you prepare for a lifetime of saving way too many seats. the point is, though, that in this world gone awry, a few brave, bold and golden souls have had the guts to stand up to seat-savers. and it’s time we buy hats with long brims and tip said hats accordingly. 

seriously, what’s the deal with their rocking: until movie theaters and other popular seat-filled venues finally pass a law that states every person may save no more than one seat, we need to take matters into our own hands. so, let us return to the second-person theoretical example above. you can either say something like “oh, okay,” or you can make the seat-saver feel extremely terrible. it’s important to your dignity and to the future of mankind that you choose the latter. it is your responsibility as a self-respecting human being to try your best to ruin this persons day. perhaps that sounds cruel/harsh/unnecessary. i assure you, though, this is not the case. in actuality, you are becoming a de fact “teacher of life.” after all, seat-saving is a learned behavior. It comes from the popular children’s game musical chairs which instills young persons with the concept that seating-objects are important and should be hoarded whenever possible. therefore, if we follow the example of those who actively hassle, we can help seat-savers unlearn this undesirable behavior. amen.

a quick list of things to say in order to shame seat-savers…
-you are saving allllllllllllll of those seats (the more l’s, the more shame)
-who do you think you are, saving more than one seat?
-seriously? like, are you being serious? 
-[scoff] + [laugh]
-[scoff] + [laugh] + [eye-roll]
-you are making me very angry and you don’t want to see me when i’m angry (works best if your skin has a greenish hue)
-i would spit on you, but you don’t deserve my saliva
-i hope you die
-i hope you die, and then you find this totally awesome seat in heaven, but then find out it’s being saved so you are forced into an eternal stay in purgatory.

Friday, May 22, 2009

top 25 fridays: rating the letters of the alphabet

where every friday we will delve, dissect and rank very important things.

today's top 25: best letters of the alphabet.
(criteria includes sound, shape, words where this letter can be found and "je ne sais quoi")

1. y (the famous sometimes-y is the object of every letter's envy)
2. k ("c" in diguise)
3. m (as dignified as any ambassador out there)
4. g (the silent killer)
5. q (the beauty of rarity)
6. i (the top-ranked vowel; signifies imaginary numbers)
7. w (the classy thug)
8. j (always a wonderful surprise, wherever it flies)
9. p (necessary to form penguin)
10. e (useful in conjoined twin-form)
11. z (bonus points for being the most onomatopoeiac)
12. n (m's little brother. good pedigree)
13. s (hard, sharp, clever, sneaky)
14. h (too humble)
15. b (the average joe of letters)
16. o (zero's ugly cousin)
17. r (dangerously volatile)
18. l (great letter; ugly in lowrcase. the butterface of the alphabet)
19. d (happy to fly under the radar)
20. x (needs better marketing. too rare)
21. t (better when iced)
22. c (too wimpy)
23. f (too ugly)
24. v (too similar to the roman numeral 5)
25. a (too pompous. how's it feel at the back of the line there, "a?")
unranked: u (half a "w." lame)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

the cousinette revolution begins...

oh, and cool, you can get your bachelor's degree online in 2 years. now i feel like a complete idiot for going that remedial 4-year route.  Share/Save/Bookmark

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

shortcuts into heaven...

want to live out eternity on the beaches of paradise? hobnob with james dean, mother teresa and walter matthau? sounds pretty perfect, right? except for all the faith, piety and years of “good works” required to get in. if only there was a secret stairway into heaven…lo and behold, now there is! 

if you want to make the world an instantly better place all you have to do is add the following below into your everyday vernacular:

cousinette [kuhz-uh-net]
– noun

a cousin of the female variety

sick of hearing people talk about their “cousins” but not knowing whether they are referring to male cousins or female cousins? endure this travesty no longer. It’s time we rip a page out a page from the romance-language playbook. the spanish differentiate between male cousins (primos) and female cousins (primas) as do the ever-hip French with cousin (male) and cousine (female). even in english we have different words for nieces and nephews. cousinette is an idea whose time has come. therefore, i urge you, with all my heart, all my soul and all my functional organs: let’s make this happen, let’s get cousinette into our thoughts, conversations and family trees. 


1. i have two cousins named josh and jimmy and one cousinette named kelly.
2. my dad’s brother’s daughter? oh, you mean my cousinette.
3. i couldn’t find a date for prom, so i invited my cousinette.
4. i couldn’t find a date for prom, so i invited my cousinette, but she said that was disgusting so i’m going with this prostitute i met on the world wide web. she loves the mets!


editor’s note: in addition to being an awesome new slang english word, cousinette also refers to a vegetable-based french soup. For those who want to take this whole cousinette thing to the next level and throw cousinette parties and whatnot, here is a recipe to make it the perfect occasion.

100g/4oz Fresh Sorrel, washed, de-stalked finely shredded
1 Lettuce, washed and shredded
100g/4oz Fresh Spinach, washed, de-stalked finely shredded
1 large bunch Flat Leaved Parsley
120ml/4 fl.oz. Crème Frâiche
1L/35fl.oz. Water
Plenty of Salt and White Pepper
Rye Bread to serve

1. Wash the parsley well then tie into a bunch with string. Cut of the top leafy parts and chop roughly, reserving the bunch of stalks still tied together.
2. Place the water, parsley stalks, salt and pepper in a large saucepan, bring to the boil then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove the parsley stalks, check the seasoning then stir in the crème fraiche.
4. To serve - place a piece of rye bread into 4 individual serving bowls then pour the soup over the top. Serve immediately.
(this word was co-created with the hilarious and highly rational Dave Kushner. like the theoretical prostitute prom date, he too loves the mets). Share/Save/Bookmark

belated new years resolutions (5/20/09)

-sneer at ugly babies that i pass on the street
-greet enemies with the phrase "bad morning"
-sneeze more frequently and with greater gusto.
-figure out what, exactly, is a "bushel" and a "peck"
-improve my non-existant thumb-wrestling skills
-start an elaborate prank that will make my mother think she is going crazy and stay committed to the fulfilment of such prank until mother is about to check into an asylum at which point i give her a dynamic hug and reveal the mystery.
-save my thank yous for only those situations in which I acquire something of monetary value.
-eat more grilled cheese.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

what rocks? (professor xavier)

professor charles xavier
(the martin luther king jr. of mutants) 
(the phil jackson of caped crusaders) 
(the world’s foremost handicapped superhero)

why he rocks: wolverine gets all the hype and cyclops gets all the chicks,  so what exactly does professor charles xavier, the leader of the x-men, get? apparently male pattern baldness and a rusty wheelchair. doesn’t sound like a fair deal. after all, without professor x, it’s a good bet that wolverine would be stuck in the middle of nowhere, playing bass for a loud, lame garage band and pretty boy cyclops would have been forced to gouge his own eyes out (great job blake! wonderful reference to homer’s odyssey) and living out his days as a benchwarmer for a beep baseball. therefore at his core, professor xavier is a life-changer. so what’s the best way to honor a life-changer such as he? i say that if martin luther king jr. gets a holiday, then professor x deserves one too. and it should be a thursday holiday, because there are no holidays on thursdays and a Thursday holiday would create a de facto four-day weekend.

why else he rocks: for giving a good name to peeping toms everywhere. in order to make better use of his astounding telepathic and telekinetic powers, professor x created a device called cerebro, which allows him to tap into the minds and hearts of mutants around the globe. yeah, so basically he uses an omnipotent binocular/microscope to spy on anyone, anywhere at anytime. megan’s law anyone? hold your freaked out horses. professor xavier is a living saint who only uses this enormous voyeur-viewer for good. plus, let’s face it, and i don’t mean to sound like a full-time jerk, but there’s a pretty solid chance that his “powers below the belt” are as functional as his limp legs.

seriously, what’s the deal with his rocking: creating the xavier school for gifted youngsters is all well and good, but what really separates the x-men from the boys is the danger room, the coolest room ever created in the history of history. it’s more expensive than a five-star hotel room, more fun than a chucke e. cheese birthday room and more functional than a bathroom. the danger room is where professor Xavier trains his students for battle as if they were superpowered chess pieces. the room has everything: booby traps, projectile firing devices, flamethrowers, collapsing walls, futuristic force-fields and life-like holographic enemies who attack like there’s no tomorrow. in a nutshell: it’s awesome. in a bigger nutshell: it’s supercalifragilously awesome. the moral of the story is that professor x succeeded where so many great minds have failed, in creating a human-sized version of the board game mousetrap. take that, einstein! if creating a studious sanctuary for the genetically gifted doesn’t earn you a thursday holiday, creating the world’s best battle-training room should be more than enough. after all, we live in a country that places education second to a military-industrial fetish.  

exhibit a: the danger room

exhibit b: the board game mousetrap

don't forget to comment; they say people who leave comments are likely to outlive their non-commenting counterparts by 4.37 years. Imagine all the wonderful things you could do with that extra 4.37 years! Share/Save/Bookmark

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

what rocks? (rc cola)

rc cola
(aka royal crown cola)
(aka “the ross perot of cola beverages”)

why it rocks: because anything with the word “royal” in it makes you feel like a king/queen. throw in the bonus of drinking a beverage with an acronym – because all acronyms are cool, except the ones that phonetically spell words different from their actual spelling (i.e. KEWL; Knowledge Environment for Web-based Learng) – and one can’t help but be seduced into a self-esteem spree when drinking the luxurious, luscious, luminous cola-riffic liquid goodness that is rc cola. 

why else it rocks: because in the 1950s, the combination of rc cola and moonpies became known as the “working man’s lunch” in the american south. i keep re-reading the previous sentence for the pure joy of salivating. also, i know what i'll be eating for lunch tomorrow and the next two hundred days after that.

seriously, what’s the deal with it rocking: how can one NOT imagine the following scenario: a jubilant, rambunctious pre-teen with angelic pigtails goes by the name goldilocks. it’s a brilliantly warm summer day and she is extensively bored. so she runs away from home following a dispute with her brother over the mating habits of goldfish and runs into the woods. like all small children, she is at first fascinated by the woods, then bored by them and then petrified by their towering shadows as the sun begins to dip into the oblivion of the horizon. before a panic attack ensues, goldilocks finds a home that just so happens to be owned by a clan of soda-enthusiasts who also just so happen to be bears. she knocks, there is no answer. the damn sun continues to retire behind the hills and goldilocks gets desperate. she slips in nimbly through the broken window behind the house. it’s been a long day, she is thirsty, she thinks she is dying of thirst, then remembers that it takes several weeks to die of thirst but then worries that maybe she is the exception to this rule. she has already come this far – running away from home, fantasizing about her stupid brother’s violent death, breaking and entering – why not add thieving food and drink to her list. so she opens the refrigerator, allowing a chilly breeze to evaporate into and throughout the cozy unknown home; she smiles, a prelude to the drink she will soon imbibe. first, she pulls out a can of poppa bear’s pepsi. she takes a sip, spits it out and declares this soda “tastes much too plastic-y.” then she takes a swig of momma bear’s coke, which she also spits out and declares “too damn sugary.” her pulse increases dynamically, sweat multiplies and slurs into the nooks of her undeveloped body. is there a beverage out there that can possibly satiate her furious and mysterious desires? in an act of desperation, she reaches for baby bear’s rc cola. her sip turns into a gulp turns into a swig turns into a chug. she smiles permanently, relieved, revived, herself again. “this is juuuuuuuust right,” she echoes, speaking to herself and also to no one all at once. just then, she hears keys ricochet into the door. she grabs the 24-pack of baby bear’s rc cola and escapes out the back window. she turns back momentarily, removes a photo of her brother and writes on the back “ha! i stole your rc cola. it was awesome. i regret nothing.” she leaves and vanishes into the night. 

want to see the cheapest commercial ever produced in the history of television? 

(estimated retail cost: $.02333333333)


Sunday, May 10, 2009

what rocks? (totally non-jewish stage names)

totally non-jewish stage names
('berg is for the b-listers)

why they rock: they say that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but apparently nothing smells sweeter than a totally non-jewish rose. ("they" being romeo, shakespeare, rabid english teachers and parrots who commonly quote 16th century literature). in the jungle that is acting, it’s easy to understand the desire for a most memorable moniker, but it's notable that achieving this goal so often results in jewish men and women with very jewish men and women’s names choosing to "ditch" or "eighty-six" their aforementioned very jewish names for very not jewish surrogate surnames. so not jewish that you'd think these lovely men and women couldn't pick a latka out of an appetizer line-up. 

this isn't merely a one time occurrence. it happens all the time. almost every day. sometimes even twice a day! one cannot deny, then, that it happens quite a bit. to honor these brave men and women, please meet our totally non-jewish alias all-stars:

the starting five
jon stewart (leibowitz
natalie portman (hershlag)
jason alexander (greenspan)
albert brooks (einstein)
brad garrett (gerstenfeld)

6th man
michael ian black (schwartz)
woody allen
(born Allen Stewart Konigsberg; circa December 1, 1876)

paul rudd
(rudnitzky; paul's name was actually changed by his family before he was ever conceived, but it’s likely that his ancestors predicted unborn Paul would one day grace the silver screen with his likeable averagejoeness and, as such, they altered his name accordingly)

one can't help but admit that above lingers an impressive squad. in fact, i'd venture to wager that they would most likely kick the crap out of the harlem wizards. in acting. not basketball. but perhaps a short film about basketball. 

why else they rock: let’s face it: we live in an enormous world. and anyone and anything that can help us condense the infinite bits of data that swirl around us into bite-size pieces ought to be rewarded and perhaps even given a key to the city. and let’s also face it: jewish names are long. they make mississippi look monosyllabic. it’s for this reason that we must take a moment and pay homage to those bold souls who had the guts, gall and balls to take a sharpie to their birth certificate. the members of the alias all-stars (and, also, the less successful people who didn’t make our list deserve and live off unemployment and have a stack of unused headshots haunting their desk), they’re the folks who are making the world a better place. they give us the gift of brevity and catchiness, and they give us this gift on a daily basis. all of this, though, begs the question: why is it that jewish names, then, tend to be so un-catchy? why must they so often lack panache? and, ultimately, is anti-semetism really just pro-panache? 

seriously, what's the deal with their rocking: once upon a time there was an exuberant young lady blessed with a sly smile and hair that would have made medusa stare at the mirror in jealousy. her name was caryn elaine johnson. caryn was a revolutionary, a rebel, a radical and defied the trend of opting for aryan stage names. caryn elaine johnson moved in the opposite direction and tacked on a jewish name, a really jewish name, perhaps even the most jewish name of them all: goldberg. As mentioned above, caryn elaine goldberg was smart. some might even say she was a smart cookie. i don’t quite understand the etymology of that phrase, but i do like the image it invokes and must admit that her next decision certainly earns her smart cookie status. caryn elaine goldberg faced the same problem that the artists later known as jon stewart and natalie portman faced: her name lacked panache, and it lacked it real bad. so she once again took matters into her own hands and this time took the first name of her favorite practical joke item: the whoopee cushion. her name: whoopi goldberg. whoopi stands as sort of a cautionary tale. she goes to show that if you want to make it with a ‘berg you’re probably going to have to go big with your first name, preferably dubbing yourself after a practical joke item. and i for one, as a jew, a writer, a consumer of pop culture, admit that i don’t think the daily show would be nearly as popular if it starred chinesefingertrap leibowitz. i mean, would you watch that?

are you an unsuccessful actor in need of a gimmicky jolt?
here’s how you can come up with a totally non-jewish stage name!

take your first name and add one of the following:
-your first pet’s middle name.
-the street that your favorite cartoon family lives on.
-the name of poplar root beer bottler.
-your favorite kitchen utensil.
-your favorite winter olympic athlete’s nickname.
-a socially acceptable curse word and/or ethnic slur
-your favorite onomatopoeia.

congratulations, you now have a non-jewish stage name!
nothing can stop you now…except perhaps mosquitos and bureaucracy.
but hey, almost noting can stop you now!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

what rocks? (the brothers malina)

the amazing malina brothers!*^
(josh & alfred malina; more than just "actors")
(*not officially related)
(^also, alfred is actually a mOlina…but close enough).

why they rock: though neither is technically american (alfred is european, josh is intellectual), the brothers malina remain staples in the american film and television landscape, possessing what hollywood insiders, social outsiders and greek historians commonly refer to as "the midas touch." every project they touch turns to metaphorical gold. between them their portfolio boasts some of the best endeavors of the past couple decades. ever heard of indiana jones? what about a few good men? boogie nights, the da vinci code, spiderman 2, the larry sanders show, ladies man, sports night or the west wing ring a bell? a stellar roster indeed, but arguably more important is their lack of bombs, stinkers and duds. you’d be hardpressed to find either roaming through the backdrop of a bad project, a true rarity in this blockbuster age. the point is, if you’re watching a movie or tv show and one of the malina brothers prances across the screen, you’re probably going to have a pleasant viewing experience. and that counts for a lot. 

why else do they rock: because acting is a real ballbreaking business, especially when you constantly elicit the following response to some degree "wait, how do i know that guy? didn't we go to high school together? yeah, we did, i think, and didn't he date my sister. man, i was so mad at the time. why was i so protective of her? I mean, she was and still is a cute girl." not exactly the impression you hope to make as an actor or human being. and upon rereading that tangential quote i notice that it seems relatively condescending; to compare a lifetime of one’s achievement to a face from a high school year book. it isn’t intended as condescending, though. on the contary, actually. there is something immensely lighthearted about remembering acquaintances from yesteryear; they infuse us with comfort, nostalgia, and a sly private smile. and, in a strange way, that’s what the brothers malina do for us. we remember them, from somewhere, some time, someplace unknown. they make us appreciate that rare feeling of having a vague idea on the tip of our tongues. they are memorable, but not too memorable. 

seriously what's the deal with their rocking: the brothers malina live and act in obscurity. even their biggest fans are guilty of referring to them as “doctor octopus” or “that smart guy from sports night” (or, “that smart guy from west wing, no, that’s rob lowe, no that’s bradley whitford, no, the one that has glasses, no, toby didn’t have glasses…). obscurity isn’t typically a desired quality and I’m sure to some degree both wish the dice had rolled differently, that they had men with enormous pecks, blue steel expressions and leading man status. but I submit that if they did have these things, we would hate them. because that’s exactly what we like about them, everything that they are not while still being more than just anti-heroes. what makes the brothers malina so irresistible is their seeming level of attainability. every time they steal a scene or paralyze us with a magnificent monologue, we feel like we are the only ones noticing this greatness. we feel special, too, to notice their specialness and that makes them attainable to us. we get them, or at least we think we do. sure, we all acknowledge that clooney and pitt live in a different universe than us, but the brothers malina seem to inhabit our same confines of reality. we can’t help but feel as though our paths may cross. they probably won’t, but they might. and might counts for a lot these days. it’s very much like the recent shift in the porn industry; more and more people now prefer to watch a “regular” girl strip in front of a shaky handheld camera, than watch jenna jameson diddle the delivery boy and other such malarkey. the brothers maline are not Debbie Does Dallas; they are this girl whose name we think is Debbie from a place that looks like dallas and who, if we met on the street, we might just have a chance. 

are you an arrested development fan? Firefly? Freaks & Geeks? 
well clearly you enjoy the bandwagon of cancelled television shows. so if you haven’t seen “sports night,” check it out immediately. and, as a bonus, if you tell people you love it (regardless of veracity) you shall receive the same street cred as persons who say "bottle rocket is my favorite wes anderson movie."  
if you want the street cred without all the hard work, here’s a quick clip of josh in action: 

an incomplete list of american actors who the brothers malina should be more famous than:
-charlie sheen
-jonah hill
-keanu reeves
-george from grey’s anatomy
-anyone from the cast of heroes
-james van der beek
-jonah hill (intentionally included twice)
-llih hanoj (read backwards)

an incomplete list of italian actors who the brothers malina should be more famous than:
-robert benigni

an incomplete list of martian actors who the brothers malina should be more famous than:
-marvin the martian


Monday, May 4, 2009

your monday snippet (YMS)

do monkey businesses have an MR department (monkey resources)?
if not, then who fires the slackers? Share/Save/Bookmark

Sunday, May 3, 2009

what rocks? (carmen sandiego)

carmen sandiego
(ringleader of V.I.L.E.)
(crime vixen with an absurd amount of frequent flier miles)

why she rocks: since 1985, carmen isabella sandiego has been scampering around the globe, pilfering the world’s greatest relics, eluding agents from the esteemed ACME detective agency and then snickering in their faces. she’s cocky, crooked and cackle-some; she’s the whole package and after 24 years still remains at large. one is almost forced to wonder if, after 2.4 decades of failed attempts to apprehend a fictional femme-fatale, what chance do we really have at cornering mr. bin laden.

why else she rocks: what separates carmen from the other criminal kingpins of our generation (other than her gender) (and her most excellent trenchcoat) (and that sneakily stylish fedora) (oh, and also the eccentric habit of primarily recruiting goons with pun names like patty larceny, vic the slick and double trouble (twins)) is her motivation for wreaking havoc. few people realize (or more likely “remember”) that carmen used to be an ace detective for ACME but quickly found catching criminals too easy and decided that outsmarting ACME itself would make for a greater challenge. clearly she doesn’t do it for the glitz, the glamor, the money, the treasures, the video game royalties or the gameshow created in her honor, carmen does it for one reason and one two-word reason only: the thrill. 

seriously, what’s the deal with her rocking: not just anyone can start an international, unstoppable crime ring with a cool acronym. it takes stealth, smarts and most importantly it takes money. and for this reason, ms. sandiego is the embodiment of the american dream. as a girl with modest upbringings, carmen was noted for her dazzling redhair and severe precociousness. when she was ten years old, she parlayed these assets into entry on a game show called It’s a Wise Child (for those non-Catcher salinger fans, who some call the “true salinger fans,” yes, she did indeed participate on the same program as seymour, franny, zooey and the rest of the lot. some even say she had a “thing” with buddy). on this game show she won a substantial sum of money. she invested this money in herself, using it to travel extensively around the world, studying the criminal world and then starting an expansive thievery corporation (that’s a band, right? if so; can someone remind me what they sing, again?). basically, she did exactly what Christian bale did in batman begins, except she used her knowledge and powers for evil. say what you will about evil, but her rags to riches tale should be an inspiration to us all, particularly girls, bumbling thieves and people with last names of cities in california.

how do you know when you’ve really hit it big?
when a bunch of really white dudes sing about you in acapella!
check it out:

a short list of the more improbable items that carmen thieved:
-the great wall of china
-the la brea tar pits
-the panama canal
-the dead sea
-old faithful
-the great barrier reef
-all of idaho’s potatoes
-paris’ fall fashion collection
-all of the george washington faces from all the $1 bills in all of the world
-the voices of the vienna boys’ choir.

a short list of the men carmen has allegedly dated:
-judd nelson
-richard greico
-lyle lovett
-dan cortese
-thomas crowne
-keyser soze
-chris hardwick
-mark paul gosselaar
-mr. big (from sex and the city)
-mr. big (the guy who sings “to be with you”) Share/Save/Bookmark

Friday, May 1, 2009

what rocks? (staring contests)

staring contests
(window to the soul vs. window to the soul)

why they rock: when adults have a disagreement, they sue each other. when kids have a disagreement, they compete in a staring contest; it’s basically litigation for kids. which method of conflict resolution seems more civilized? do the kids know something we don’t? after all, didn’t neanderthals settle their disputes with lawsuits? I distinctly remember learning about a certain unfrozen caveman lawyer (we miss you, dearly, phil hartman). advantage: kids.

why else they rock: too much of ages 1 to 18 is ruled by jockdom. staring contests, however, offer a chance for the underdog, the “little guy,” the archetypical “spaz/loser/dork” to settle the score. perhaps even “get revenge.” perhaps also even “implement subconscious highly-skilled methods of mind-control and thought implantation.” winning a staring contest requires poise, cleverness, creativity and anger; four adjectives that “spaz/loser/dorks” never seem to be running short on. take that, quarterback of the football team. 

seriously, what’s the deal with their rocking: the controversy…staring contest enthusiasts are split into two camps: those believe blinking and making facial gestures to get your opponent to crumble is legal and those who believe blinking or any other kind of gimmick is absolutely illegal. if you can’t figure out which camp you belong to please take the following baseball themed test to determine your allegiance:

who do you believe is the true single-season homerun king of baseball?

a) barry bonds! (you support blinking)
b) mark mcGwire! (you support blinking)
c) sammy sosa! (you support blinking and also corked bats)
d) roger maris! (you are a purist and find blinking to be abominable)
e) hank aaron! (wrong record, dude)
f) babe ruth! (you are a meddlesome contrarian and most likely a yankee fan who is frustrated that there correlation between money spent and wins is a murky one)

starting to remember how awesome staring contests are?
want to “bone up” on how to win more of them?
Wikihow gives us 6 tips to dominating your next staring contest:

1. take a nice long blink and close your eyes tightly right before the contest begins. this will produce tears that your eyes will need to keep moist. (staring contests, like sex and brownies, depend a great deal upon creating moisture. therefore, watch out for sexaholics, sluts and pastry chefs). 

2. think of something really sad while staring at your opponent. this will help stop you from laughing or smirking. (if you’ve been repressing a crippling childhood trauma for the majority of your life, now’s the time to get your money’s worth!)

3. remember to relax. too much stress will cause you to strain your eye muscles and could lead to eye strain (if you can acquire some potent and affordable marijuana, you’re starting much closer to the finish line than your sober counterpart). 

4. open your eyes really wide during the contest and, when you think you are about to blink, open them even wider. this goes against your natural instincts, but will actually make your eyes water, thus keeping them most (again we return to moisture, and again we must return to the sex analogy. it’s likely that with tip #4, men will display a major competitive advantage; when you start to get really close, it’s time to jump into the metaphorical cold shower). 

5. time yourself in the mirror and see how long you can hold it for. remember, practice makes perfect! (if you get bored with the self-staring contest in the mirror, practice making out with yourself. if arod does it, you can too!)

6. when you are about to blink, squint and furrow your brow. Again, this will produce tears and help to keep you staring for longer. (okay, i’m beginning to realize the immense possibility that the kids who were best at staring contests are now most likely the best lovers; from an early age they exhibited a precocious and copious amount of discipline, dexterity, and durability. crap, this is mildly disconcerting; my childhood nickname was blinky.)

want to learn more about staring contests but don’t have the patience to sift through scholarly works or sit through a documentary? then check out “unflinching triumph” a mockumentary that explores the little-known subculture of professional staredown contests.