Friday, January 22, 2010

Let's Recap, Shall We?

My, my, what a week it's been, eh? How to keep track of all the fast and furious developments, you ask? Well, you've come to the right place for that special bitter touch. I've loaded up on coffee and the morning papers and have assembled your cheat sheet for the weekend cocktail parties, so you can look like someone who really cares about current events. If it works, and you get some real chat going, remember you found it right here at the bottom of the cup, where all the bitter dregs congeal.

Cheat Sheet Of The Week - Current Events Version

1. The Haitian Earthquakes. (Yes, Quakes, because even their aftershocks are stronger than most seismic events.) You can find real news about this everywhere. In fact, it's about the only story you can find on TV. Americans donate in record amounts to a country most can't point to on a map. Appear on the cutting edge by mentioning "Smile Boy," the latest survivor to be pulled from the rubble. The photo has become an instant sensation. If you want bonus points, tell your friends everything you know about the history of Haiti. I'm guessing it won't take long.

2. Dems Lose Senate Seat In Assachussets. First, a little perspective: this is NOT a referendum on Health Care. It's NOT a condemnation of Obama. It's NOT the end of civilization. The Democrats still control the Senate and hopefully, this will encourage them to exercise it. However, the symbolism can't be ignored: in a state that's consistently waved the Democratic colors, it appears like spitting on Ted Kennedy's grave to elect a Republican to the Federal Legislature. Extra credit discussion points if you can throw in the name any of the other legislators from MA, all of whom are Democratic. Will that one Republican senator curb healthcare reform? Keep your eye on the ball, people: the REPUBLICANS, as a party, are 100% united against any health bill. They want the insurance companies to profit at the expense of your friends and family members who are denied coverage. When they block you from the hospital, don't blame Obama, blame the rich old white guy, who's probably in the pocket of--

3. The Banks. The Market. Again. So, yesterday, the market "sank" according to the WSJ, on news that the government would dare to propose legislation reigning in banks and risky investment habits. Show your perspective on the markets by pointing out that a year ago, the Dow was below 8,000. So, a couple hundred points yesterday doesn't negate the gains the market has made from the pit of depression. Earn extra street cred in the discussion if you point out that if you can't take the short losses, you shouldn't be in the fucking market to begin with. The only people hurt by bank regulation are people who have more money than the general population. They screwed the economy once. You really want to give 'em a chance to do it again?

4. The Supreme Court Again Gets Into Politics. In the courageous tradition of the court that gave you President W, Corporations are now allowed to campaign for candidates without restrictions. What could possibly go wrong? Earn laughs and the girl of your dreams by coming up with witty campaign slogans: "Pepsi and Palin: This Is It tour, 2012" "The Merck/McCain Healthcare Bill".

5. The Unemployment Ranks Swell. Yes, Conan O'Brien is officially on the dole. Only he gets paid $45 Million. How much was your last unemployment check for? Yep, that's right, you actively contribute to the ruin of a once-great TV show, you publicly bad-mouth your bosses, you have the worst hair in the history of TV, and you get a BONUS. Hell, you could have done that. Bonus conversation points if you can explain why NBC honcho Jeff Zucker had CO arrested in college. Triple bonus points if you can find someone who actually gives a shit.

Annnnnnnd, there you have it, your weekend conversation cheat sheet, dregs-style! Use this knowledge only for good, or to crush your enemies, see them flee before you, and hear the lamentations of their women. (Quadruple bonus points if you identify that reference.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So, I'm in a hotel room in a deserted east coast beach town in the middle of January, playing scrabble with my kids, while my wife's got the Golden Globes telecast on the TV. Foolishly, I had forgotten to load up on booze from home, so I was stone cold sober during the whole process, ergo my take on the old GGs was perhaps a little too unforgiving, but still, this was the worst telecast since the year after 9/11, when they just held a press conference.

It was a uniquely awkward, unpleasant experience where even the attendees didn't seem to be having much fun, and most of them weren't sober. Here, in bullet list form for those with short attention spans, are my top five things wrong with the Globes this year:
  1. A painfully unfunny Ricky Gervais. Catwoman jokes? Way to keep up, Rick-o.
  2. Mariah Carey's continuing love affair with her own boobs.
  3. James Cameron's discussion of his "need to pee" during both acceptance speeches. They're called "Depends", dude.
  4. Sandra Bullock's joke about someone "buying" the award for her. If you know anything about the Globes, you'll know this wasn't a joke. (I think this was Sandy, but if it was someone else, please correct me.)
  5. -Tie- James Cameron's Na'vi speech, which enabled you to clearly imagine him speaking klingon at a Trek convention. -Or- James Cameron ordering the audience to give themselves a round of applause. Considering Avatar will end up making more money than, oh I don't know, the annual income of the entire nation of Haiti, that seemed in particularly bad taste.
I could go on, but it's self-evident, if you were watching. Which brings up the larger question, why were we watching? If I wanted to see a bunch of rich people at a self-congratulatory party, C-span is on all the time. Of course, the really frightening thing about that comparison is most people know more about the folks on the Globes than those on C-span, but the people on the globes don't really affect most of our lives directly.

Now, don't imagine I'm on a high horse, because I was watching the telecast, too. If I hadn't been, maybe my 10 year-old son wouldn't have beaten me in Scrabble. Evidence! Entertainment shows do rot the brain.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ten Ten, Baby!

We're a nation of lists. It doesn't mean anything to us unless it shows up on a list, somewhere. We delight when our preferences are confirmed by someone's "Top Ten" and jeer when something shows up on a "Worst Of". I want you to ask yourself: are you really that afraid of or incapable of coming up with your own unadulterated opinion about something?

But, it's a brand new year, and I'll try and get into the spirit of things (in addition to my usual list in the sidebar). Without further ado, or more clever explanation, my top ten list of top ten lists: