Bad Grandpa

I consider myself to have a sophisticated sense of humor, someone who prefers wit to sight gags. But. But. But I loveeeee me some Jackass.

I've watched the trailer for Bad Grandpa eight times already and not once have I failed to laugh aloud by the end. The Little Miss Sunshine-inspired prank is classic: parents shielding their kids' faces, the judge's eyes bulging out, and the lady giving a solitary clap at the end is too too much. I will never tire of seeing Johnny Knoxville making it rain on a young cross-dressing stripper.

This has the potential to be the funniest film of the year, though it faces tough competition from Spring Breakers, obviously. Sure I'm 30, but I am still going to see this in the theaters ASAP (is it October yet?) and fight the urge to act like a hoodlum afterwards. There was that time immediately after watching another Jackass movie that I body-slammed my friend in the theater lobby, accidentally knocked over an innocent little kid in the process, and then got scolded by mall security.

You probably couldn't tell, but while thinking of that incident, I just stopped typing for a couple minutes to wave around both of my middle fingers and scream, "I don't care, I don't care!" I'm leading a hella productive life right now.


Wannabe VS. Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)

After my friend Adam made the genius observation that "Wannabe" might be a feminist take on "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)", I have to pose the question - Which is the better "Okay, now you have to have sex with my friends" 90s song:

The Spice Girls's classic

or the song off Snoop Dogg's debut album?

I don't know how often the average person needs to express, "yeah, let's bone, but you better also put out for my besties," but in case it's a common sentiment in your life, at least you have two songs for the occasion.

The Spice Girls just put it out there: "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends." They then proceed to explain how each of the Girls prefers to get freaky. In the end, it seems like more of a daunting task than a pleasurable one.

Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg and his crew take a different approach: "I know the pussy's mines, I'mma fuck a couple more times/And when I'm through with it, there's nothing else to do with it/Pass it to a homie, now you hit it/'Cause she ain't nothing but a bitch to me." These dudes are past the point of jealousy and concerns about "sloppy seconds."

It is interesting how "Wannabe" is considered as a sex-positive feminist anthem while Snoop Dogg's song just seems pretty chauvinistic and sleazy with the gender roles reversed. Then again, it might have something to do with the fact that Snoop's lyrics are significantly more graphic ("slaps you across your fat ass with a fat dick" and "starts juggling these motherfucking nuts in your mouth"). The Spice Girls leave a bit more to the imagination with "slam your body down and zigazig ahhh."

For all I know, zigazig ahh is code for testicle juggling, but at least I could play the song in front of my mother as a kid without being mortified, so I'm giving the edge to the Spice Girls.

Which do you prefer?


My Presence Is Charity

"I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation, and outside of America is enough. Just being who he is. You’re the first black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything he should be left alone." 
 - Jay Z responds to Harry Belafonte's criticism that he has turned his back on social responsibility

Oh, JAYunhyphenatedZ. This was not a smart thing to say.

First of all, if I were Harry Belafonte, I could quickly think of 100 celebrities who deserve to be called out for not being socially responsible before Jay Z and Beyonce, so I did wonder about his initial criticism. But when Jay Z has the gall to retort, "My presence is charity," he's not refuting anything, just substantiating Belafonte's point.

Belafonte is a prime example of a man who uses his celebrity to promote his activism and positive social change; who can blame him for wishing more A-listers would use their fame for communal good?

Jay Z is of the belief that being a successful black man is doing America a service. You can trace that thought all the way back to "Izzo" when he raps "I do this for my culture/To let them know what a nigga look like when a nigga in a Roadster." Granted, it is progress for this country to have a millionaire African American who is publicly adored. However, that in itself is not being "socially responsible"; being an exception to the rule doesn't really do much to combat wealth inequality at large.

His comments on Obama are even more telling. Providing hope is certainly not "enough." The president is in a position to effect more change than anyone in the entire world. The problem with Obama is that it is all lip service - he talks the perfect progressive game, but his actions are far more regressive.

Offering hope is not social responsibility. It's naive to say "Well, I became a successful rapper and this dude became President, so we're all good." The American dream needs to be better than one-in-a-million of us can achieve our dreams. It may have worked out for Jay Z, but by pretending these opportunities are available to everyone, he's just bolstering the same hierarchical system that oppresses the many.

I still don't know that Jay Z deserves more criticism than the rest of top celebrities who focus the influence they wield on attaining more wealth rather than positively impacting society. But if he thinks living a life with unparalleled luxuries and privileges is in any way an act of charity, that shows just how out of touch he's become.


Ashton Kutcher Plate

At the risk of boasting, check out this commemorative art that Ashton Kutcher commissioned of himself that I now own!

In 2005, Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher starred in the film Guess Who - a modern bastardization of the Sidney Poitier classic Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - where a white guy meets his girlfriend's black family and race-based hijinks ensue! I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that none of you have seen it. I certainly haven't seen it; heck, my friend worked on the movie, and I don't think even he's seen it.

It is because my friend worked on the film that I now have this fine art. As a sign of gratitude, Kutcher gave the cast and crew painted decorative plates. You might be thinking "How uncharacteristically awesome of Ashton Kutcher to give the crew a thank you keepsake!" Before you get carried away, take a closer look at the plate.

It's a spoof of the Last Supper and Kutcher has cast himself as Jesus Christ. The black cast, inoffensively obviously, surrounds Kutcher as his disciples. It takes a special kind of ego to deify oneself… and an even greater ego still to pass it off as a "gift" that the crew would have any interest in.

Apparently, it's been my friend's closet for years because what do you do with something like that? I guess just pass it off to someone you know that would find it ridiculous enough to appreciate.

And I do! I would actually eat off the plate, except that on the back it warns: "Food consumed from this vessel may be harmful." Mmmmmm, how deliciously toxic! Guess I'll just have to display it on my mantle instead.

The back of the plate also features Ashton's signature and the word "SHALOM." I googled that, and I guess that during filming, Kutcher improvised that his character was Jewish, but the director ultimately cut all references to that out. It's nice to know that this plate is not just a testament to Kutcher's egomania, but also his ill-conceived creative input.

One day I will sell this on eBay and make TENS of DOLLARS!



I meant to post about the band BASTILLE on Bastille Day, because that seemed like a cute thing to do, but since we don't actually acknowledge Bastille Day in America, it came and went without me remembering. Now if it's been 10 days since Bastille Day, but I still want to write about the band anyway.

I first mentioned the band on this blog a couple of years ago, but I only recently heard their music on American radio for the first time. Even though they've already hit it big in the UK, I couldn't be more excited to have a band make a dent over here because I can't get enough of them. Please make them a thing here.

BASTILLE records solid indie/alternative music, though the real draw for me is the singer's voice. You know how singing generally erases any sign of an accent, and it's not until you hear a vocalist do an interview that you're like, "Ohmguh, I didn't even think about the fact that she's Australian (etc.)"? Well that is not the case with Dan Smith. When he sings, you can't possibly miss his thick, hot British accent. It adds unique character. I want to be able to sing like that.

"Pompeii" is their current single and I really enjoy it. It's nearly as good "Flaws" which you should also be crazy about. And if you're all in (and please be so we can go see them in concert when they come back to LA in September) treat your ears to "Overjoyed" and "Icarus" as well.

Even if you're not in the mood for new original music, then you at least have to give BASTILLE's amazing cover of "What Would You Do?" a chance. If you've never realized the genius of City High's Lament-of-a-Prostitute, maybe it's because you haven't heard it in a British accent yet.



Pee-p Show

The bar we hung out at this weekend has a major structural flaw: from a certain angle, you can see right into the men's room. Since it's not a single occupancy rest room, each time another guy enters, it affords an unobstructed view of a urinal.

How do I know this? I found myself sitting in just the right spot. Even though my focus remained on the band playing in the front, I still got plenty of incidental glances at the urinal 10-15 feet behind them in the background. It wouldn't be a big deal except that often times you could see dudes mid-piss, oblivious to the fact that there were spectators.

When more of my friends arrived, I ended up scooting my chair closer to the end of the table to make room. While the polite thing to do would have been not to draw attention to the fact that people were unwittingly urinating more or less publicly, I didn't do that. I don't know, it seemed like a waste of a view. So instead I announced, "Yo, you ladies can see a lot of dick tonight if you want!"

Naturally, that warranted an explanation, but once they understood the situation, they were pretty into it. They informed our whole party each time they spied a bro's penis in the distance.

It seemed funny until, as happens when you drink a bunch of beer, I had to pee. I had to pee so badly that it trumped the my self-consciousness about doing it in front of my friends. I entered, and was disappointed to find that the urinal - the magical, visible urinal - was the only toilet available. I hope that if I just peed at more of a sideways angle rather than straight on, my friends wouldn't be able to see my dick.

No dice, though. "We could see you peeing!" they shouted when I returned to my seat. I guess that's what you call karma? Look, ladies, some of us are just trying to tinkle, not put on a show. Have some respect!

P.S. Oddly, this is the second time I've unintentionally found myself in the bar seat with a view of cock.


On Justice

I wrote two articles this past week that I'd like to share here:

Behind the Police and Media Lies: Black Protests Are "Riots"

Make no mistake, the government has been trying to criminalize protesting for a while now, it's just been easier to call it "rioting" when darker skinned people are participating. All of this fabricated hysteria over supposed rioting is nothing more than the same fear and prejudice that led to Trayvon Martin's death… and the fact that a jury would always have "reasonable doubt" about whether a black man was posing a threat.

I don't even think it's accidental fear-mongering. Read the part about the LAPD and media reporting $15,000 of damage done to a hotel by Martin rally participants. Next time they want to make up shit like that they should probably tell the hotel first, since the hotel representatives were like, "What? No, there was no riot here." HMMMMMM.

6 Reasons the U.S. "Justice" System Is Anything But Just

Oh, and the justice system is bogus. Bogus for so many reasons, but particularly because it doesn't seek justice. It seems some predetermined order and to suck money away from people who don't have it.

So I have this "friend" who was arrested for something. Probably guilty of the crime thanks to the letter of the law, but not guilty to anyone who heard the story and weighed the extenuating circumstances. A jury probably wouldn't have convicted BUT… getting to a jury was near impossible. Not only would that amount to roughly $10,000 in legal fees, but the punishment would be made way more severe as soon as it went to trial. By not taking the plea, it meant higher fines and extended jail time. It's a risk that people can't afford to make, so they're forced to say they're guilty even if they're not.

In other countries, it is illegal for the prosecution to threaten you with much higher charges for going to trial because it amounts to extortion. In the U.S., that's common practice. We're all supposed to have our day in court, but the system is set up to make it nearly impossible for anyone to actually get there. We'd rather take someone's money and label him a felon rather than give him an honest shot at proving his innocence. It's all so messed up, I can barely stand it.


Cherry Popped

1998: Hear "Zoot Suit Riot" and convince myself I'm "really into" swing music despite only knowing this song and "Jump Jive an' Wail."

2013: Only just now realize the vulgar implications of the band name Cherry Poppin' Daddies and physically shudder from repulsion.

 How did that slip by me for 15 years? I knew what it meant to pop a cherry, but I guess I never gave a second thought to a swing band being so crass.


Eating with Cannibals

I'm currently watching a documentary called Eating with Cannibals on a friend's Netflix account because I apparently have little shame. In truth, I'm probably less embarrassed that I've given into morbid bloodlust-y curiosity than I am about the fact that the people who share the account are going to see that title as recently watched and exclaim "Kevin!" I can only imagine what Netflix will see fit to recommend to us after my interest in this flick.

The National Geographic host/narrator who is venturing into remote Papua New Guinea villages where cannibalism has occurred is so fucking smug. He can't help but be condescending and a little grossed out by it all. Like, dude, you came to these people specifically because you knew they'd tell you about incidents of cannibalism - don't act so shocked when they tell you exactly what you expected to hear. Also, would it kill him to spend some time asking them other questions about their culture before getting right into "So, how do humans taste?" It just seems a little rude.

Best fact I've learned so far: men and women taste the same.

Apparently, they only eat people they suspect to be sorcerers… and occasionally for revenge. But pretty much everyone says they haven't eaten a person in a long time. The host, meanwhile, is like LOL, yeah right, liars, I can smell it on your breath.

Oh great, now he's speculating that if missionaries hadn't come to the villages and spread Christian values, they'd probably just be eating each other left and right. If I had swallowed any human recently (and I've pretty much copped to the fact that I'd try it not too long ago), I'd be gagging on it right now.

The only way this documentary ends well is if these Papua New Guineans eat this nosy, judgmental host guy. It's not every day a hunk of white meat wanders into town and asks mouth-watering questions about how you would cook him, so seize the opportunity!


Not Guilty

It's gonna be fine, guys. Given his knack for amateur police work, I'm sure George Zimmerman won't rest until he finds the REAL killer… Just don't get too upset when the real killer winds up being some black kid that Zimmerman has to shoot to apprehend.

And quit blaming racism. The Supreme Court just told us that shit is over!

I haven't been following the Trayvon Martin trial because it seems like a circus. But I've always assumed that George Zimmerman is guilty. And I've always assumed that he would be found not guilty. I'm more shocked that the verdict is eliciting shock than at the verdict itself.


Like, no duh.

This kind of shit happens every day. I say that not to excuse the injustice, but to point out that we should be enraged every day, not just the isolated time the media decides to cover it. Let's talk about this comparable case where a black Florida woman who fired a warning shot (hitting and aimed at no one, mind you) to scare off her abusive ex-husband and was denied "stand your ground" privileges and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Let's talk about discriminatory incarceration rates, unequal sentencing, and stop-and-frisk policies.

"Liberty and justice for all" my ass.



I tell my wife that I want to have eleven kids. That’s not negotiable. But it’s up to her how many pregnancies she gets it done in.
Jared, being a reasonable husband.
Here’s hoping for some quintuplets for her sake.


Drops of Poopiter

I can't believe it came to this, but I found myself defending Train's song "Drops of Jupiter".

It's not that I have any desire to hear the song currently - I think the 9,000 times back when it came out in 2001 were more than sufficient - but I do believe the lyrical content is stronger than most realize.

On the surface, it's just a bunch of nonsense outer space imagery. But I think the galactic references (Jupiter/Venus/moon/sun/Milky Way/shooting star) are actually part of the joke.

He's singing about a woman who finally returned from her "soul vacation" and he asks, "Did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?"

So, my interpretation is that he's singing about a woman who left him for a while because she "needed space". It's not stated directly, but it would explain all of his outer space-related questions as a play on words. Was this "space" everything she hoped it would be? Granted, it's pretty hokey, but also reasonably clever. The fact that you need to work out the "space" pun on your own makes me respect it even more.

Someone didn't want to give Train any credit, however, claiming that since I'm a literature major, I might be attributing too much meaning to the text. So we had to do the unthinkable - we had to look up the inspiration for a Train song.

And, well, I was wrong. I guess the lead singer, Pat Monahan, wrote it about a dream he had after his mom died of cancer and he was picturing her floating off to heaven or whatever. I came up with a perfectly good way to rationalize this dumb song's existence, but the band blew it.

That's the last time I try to give you any credit, Train. Don't count on me to try to rationalize "Hey, Soul Sister" because there's definitely no defending that dumb song.


Go Back From Where You Came From

"I'm sorry, if the people don't like how they are treated here, go back from where you came from… Isn't this a free country, you can like or dislike who you want?????" - Nadine, in defense of racism 

I wrote a fairly unremarkable article "8 Politicians as Racist as Paula Deen". I haven't followed the Deen controversy but I thought I'd capitalize on using her name as click bait (no scruples!). I initially resisted reading the comments because I knew exactly what to expect and that they would surely infuriate me, but I finally gave in.

A lot of people came to defend Paula Deen - presumably they didn't read the article and realize that she was basically referenced in passing. We've all used these words before, some argued. (We have?) "Being PC is bringing this country down" another said. Others asked why rappers could say the n-word. Still others wanted to make sure we knew who the real racists are: all of those minorities that pick on white people. But I'd also like to award bonus points to the people who were happy to criticize Deen's racist language… which they did by using misogynistic language. Haha, that "floozy"/"fat bitch" got what she deserved.

The introductory quote from Nadine may be the most egregious example, but there are other honorary mentions from the thread:

  • John, who considers racial slurs "slang" that he only uses when someone cuts him off in traffic, assuring us that he is otherwise not racist.
  • Cat, who refused to read the article any further once she saw Michele Bachmann's name listed. (Yeah, where would anyone get off calling HER a bigot?)
  • Rolf, who floats the idea that the Republicans mentioned in the article are probably actually Democrats who spent their careers pretending to be Republicans in an attempt to tarnish the party's reputation. Good theory!
  • The dozen or so people who want to give John McCain a pass for saying "gook" and promising to continue using the term because he was a POW. I agree that his circumstances complicate things a bit, but I guarantee a lot of those people don't even give a second thought to Guantanamo Bay. 

Ultimately, I don't care much about figuring out the extent of Paula Deen's racism. Frankly, I have some relatives whose racism I need to worry about before some second-rate celebrity I've never paid attention to previously. But I do find it interesting that while Deen gets canned, U.S. politicians can actually get re-elected after displaying bigotry. Especially because their views - due to their powerful positions - contribute to institutional racism, which causes far more damage than someone who might say a slur out of ignorance rather than hate.

So when Mayor Michael Bloomberg responds to accusations of discrimination for NYC's Stop and Frisk policies by saying he thinks MORE minorities should be searched, I find that really problematic. When Bachmann names ways that black families were better off during slavery, I find that super upsetting, too. And when Bob Allen, a Florida Representative, gets caught trying to pay for gay sex and tries to excuse it by saying he was in the presence of black men and was willing to agree to anything not to get mugged that's… well, actually, that one's just hilarious. "I'm so afraid that a black man might hurt me that I tried to pay him money and offered him oral sex for my own safety" might be the funniest story I've ever heard.


4 Notable Things That Happened While Flying Last Week

4. Look, at this point, it's cliche to say that the TSA molests you. I know that. But also: the TSA molested me. I went through that x-ray thing, and when I came out they said my right shoulder and my left pocket had been "flagged". At first I got what kind of felt like a brief shoulder rub/massage, which, I won't lie, was kind of nice. Then the dude felt up my thigh and smooshed my testicle against my leg. So I guess my ball was the threatening thing they saw in my pocket? Wouldn't be the first time it terrified someone, truthfully.

3. Waiting for a red-eye at an airport is tiresome, but waiting an additional hour and a half because of a delay is downright exhausting. Thankfully, there was a dude who took out his guitar and sang songs at the gate. Normally, this could be annoying when you're just trying to nap, but he was legitimately good. Great, even. Me and the people nearby just kind of quietly sang along. I even applauded at one point to show we were appreciating it.

Only after he was done playing and some fellow passenger asked him his name did I realize I actually knew who the singer was: Tim Urban, a finalist on American idol from a few years back. I actually used to vote for Tim… not because he was good, but because he was notoriously bad. As a fan of VoteForTheWorst.com, a recently defunct website with a mission of keeping the worst singer on the show.

It's a little surreal to sit there and genuinely enjoy a singer only to realize he's someone you once thought was laughably bad, but, you know, consider me a convert.

Oh, and the older guy who asked him his name? He kept misunderstanding and calling Tim "Keith Urban" because he didn't know who he was. But he still asked for a picture with him anyway. Reality TV fame must be the worst.

2. And speaking of reality TV fame, Tim wasn't the only reality star on my flight: Gervase from the first season of Survivor sat a couple rows up from me. The reason this is particularly noteworthy is because he's (more than) rumored to be on the upcoming season of Survivor. In fact, I looked it up, and filming apparently JUST ended, so it made sense that he was now flying back to Philadelphia.

Later, I wrote it up with some pretty pertinent details for a Survivor spoiler message board and got called a liar and troll. Fine, guys, fine! Don't trust me!

Also, thank goodness our plane didn't go down, or it would have been a sad day for reality television junkies.

1. Okay, but the craziest thing of all was this granny/awkward ~25-year-old grandson that sat immediately behind me on my connecting flight (or rather the flight I got put on 5 hours later after missing the next two connecting flights thanks to the first flight's delay). Granny was blind or at least legally blind, so her grandson was reading SkyMall magazine to her. Except instead of reading the provided captions (which some copywriter worked hard on!) he was just interpreting the stuff based on the picture.

The shit in SkyMall is extravagant and bizarre, and to have someone sum up all the goods without a hint of irony was absolutely trippy. Part of me wanted to turn around and tell him to shut up, while the other part of me wanted to take out my phone and record it because it's the kind of WTF nonsense that should go viral.

I fly again Friday. Undoubtedly, more stories to follow.