Saturday, December 29, 2007

2008

2008 is shaping up to be an interesting year for me. Among many other things, most of which aren't worth mentioning to the internet-at-large, I will be moving to Austin, Texas for several months beginning late January to take a job. I bring this up here because I will not have a reliable internet connection while I am living there, either where I'll be living or where I'll be working. This will make it harder to write things on the internet on a somewhat regular basis.

Now: I waste a shitload of time online, so this may turn out to be a good thing for me personally. I can make myself devote time to finishing a new Mathletes album, or riding my bike, or reading that Neil Young biography that someone loaned me six months ago, or finally learning to play the trumpet, or masturbating using nothing but the power of my imagination (and BOTH hands!), or taking naps, or learning to cook something besides eggs or pasta. The sky's the limit when you're not catching up on/held prisoner by hilarious YouTube clips of Saturday Night Live's The Best of Jon Lovitz.

I am still figuring out exactly what this means for this blog and anything else I do online. I promise to keep you posted as I figure out exactly what's what.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Top Fifteen New Television Shows of 2007

Reality:
5. Crying With The Stars
4. Eat This Thing
3. I Can't Believe We're Having Fucking Sextuplets
2. Who Wants Some Dollars
1. Asshole Celebrity Children

Drama:
5. The Ghost Frottager
4. Sex Cops
3. CSI: Yo' Mama
2. The Pretenderer
1. Law And Order: File Sharing Task Force

Comedy:
5. YTMNDTV
4. My Fat Stupid Husband
3. The Date Rapers
2. Eleven Minute ADD Stoner Cartoon
1. The Benny Hill Show (US)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Top Twenty Songs of 2007

20. "Scream At Me (Cold)" by Painther
19. "Whiskey, Scotch and Liquor" by Johnny Rumbleseat
18. "At Least My Fish Loves Me" by Leave Grandpa Alone
17. "Do U Want (To Sit Wit' Me)" by Big Baby K
16. "Death" by Temple of Disgust
15. "(To Be Held By The Strong Tender Loving Arms Of) A Man Like You" by Jacqueline St. Croix
14. "Touch The Dragon" by Omega Horse
13. "Jumpy" by Lady Love (feat. Zoom Crew)
12. "A Pocketful of Chrysanthemum" by Flown Away With Whales
11. "Watch Me Touch It" by Fancy Fea$t
10. "Forget-You-Not" by The Crying Team
9. "Another Drink With My Buds (Part Two)" by Auntie Penultimate
8. "Clap (Your Hands)" by Turtle Birthday
7. "21st Century Lycanthropy" by High Crimes of the Modern City-State
6. "Cat Got Your Tail" by Judy Toot and the Pickles
5. "Everybody Say Party" by Fat Man & Li'l Boy
4. "Shouting At U" by Johnni James
3. "A Boat and a Pig and a Ten Farthings Ago" by Eliza Jane Maddox
2. "Ticklish (They're So)" by Deluxxxe
1. "Jeremy (Pearl Jam cover)" by The Bashful Swingsets

Monday, December 17, 2007

Top Fifteen Albums of 2007

Let's get alphabetical!

Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder (Hooks as big as a hippo)

Battles - Mirrored (Finally, a band where robots play the instruments AND write the songs)

Bring Back the Guns - Dry Futures (One of several Houston acts on this list; sort of like Pavement but angrier and shreddier, or Bossanova-era Pixies. Fifty pounds of ninja-sharp guitar hooks per square inch)

Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity (Their best album since their last one)

Fishboy - Albatross: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State With The Power of Rock and Roll (Equal parts epic and miniature. Why aren't all albums concept albums? And why aren't all indiepop albums this great?)

Hearts of Animals - Lemming Baby (Amazing Casio-fried one-woman shoegaze band. I was never able to actually buy a copy of this, but I pretty much crashed the HoA MySpace page this year from replaying the songs. Amazing live, too)

Jana Hunter - There Is No Home (Timeless. She sounds like a ghost, but not a scary one. I don't know any better way of describing it)

LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (Better than the last one!)

The Linus Pauling Quartet - All Things Are Light
(Heavier than Christ. Stoned-out Texas Psych riffing your face right off of your skull, leaving only a big-ass grin. Simultaneously the coolest album I heard all year and the dorkiest. Vinyl-only, but their last release was an mp3 CD-R with their complete collected works. Can't get much more 21st century than that)

Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (In the future, all rock stars will be elfin androgynes airing out their psychological laundry over plastic funk and sugar-bombed laptop pop)

Panda Bear - Person Pitch
(I never seem to be able to listen to any Animal Collective album all the way through, but I can't stop listening to this)

Radiohead - In Rainbows (A given. I got this off of a file sharing network; force of habit)

Sinkcharmer - Vegetable Farmer (This is the kind of album I wish I would get around to making already)

Something Fierce - Teenage Ruins 7" (PUNK! FUCKING! ROCK! the way it's supposed to be - fun, dirty, catchy and utterly joyous. The title track is about the most brilliantly anthemic three minutes I've ever heard)

Times New Viking - Present The Paisley Reich (Recording budgets are for assholes)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top Five DVDs I Bought in 2007

I'm not sure that any of these actually came out in 2007, but that's when I bought them. I got Netflix this year, but I'm only counting DVDs I actually physically own, just because.

5. The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics 5.1

So my friend Tamarie's ex-boyfriend gave her a surround sound system several years ago as a Christmas gift. This was apparently a bit of a turning point in the relationship; her reaction was basically "why would this guy think I want a huge ugly box and a bunch of wires cluttering up my apartment?". Two months later they broke up, and she gave the huge ugly box and bunch of wires to me. Note to guys: your girlfriend is probably not as much of a gadget geek as you are.

So anyway, that's how I ended up with a surround sound system, something I'd previously considered to be kind of silly and unnecessary. Leave it to the sound wizards in the Flaming Lips, just about my favorite band in the whole wide world, to get me to embrace crazy audio technology. I wasn't as enthused about their last album, At War With The Mystics, as I'd been about their other stuff, but having the crazy-ass 5.1 mix they did for the album explode all around me and shoot lasers through my head led me to appreciate it as a truly great achievement (the surround sound versions of The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots are also words-fail fantastic). Bonus: It comes with the music videos they made for the album, a bunch of bonus tracks, and Wayne Coyne's address to an Oklahoma City-area high school's graduating class (see below). Fantastic.



4. Children of Men
Would have been higher on the list, but I bought it at Best Buy and didn't realize I was getting the full-screen version. Nominated for an Oscar for Cinematography, and I'm looking at the pan & scan version. I hate caring about shit like that. Anyway, this movie is incredible, a semi-post-apocalyptic dystopian fable disguised as a badass action flick. I love movies where the future is dirty and society is falling apart; gives me comfort that I'll probably be dead by the time all that happens for real. I don't care that I'm a year behind everyone else who raved about this movie: If you haven't seen it, you probably ought to, and if you have: I know, right???

I can't find a YouTube clip worth posting, but seeing as how I bitched about the full-screen thing just now, it'd be kind of weird for me to show a bunch of people a cell-phone quality blip of a gorgeously shot movie.

3. Gimme Gimme Octopus (Kure Kure Takora)
I found a bootleg DVD of this violent and quasisensical Japanese children's show from the 60s (no subtitles). There's about an hour's worth of shorts, but it's kind of upsetting the longer I watch so I'm not even sure I've seen them all. To describe it in any words other than the blurb on the DVD's case would be doing it a great disservice, so here it is: "An octopus and a peanut are in love with the same walrus".


2. The Dana Carvey Show
Another bootleg (courtesy like the last selection of Houston's own Domy Books, which has all kinds of amazing shit), this disc has five of the seven episodes that ever aired for this mid-90s network TV sketch show, one of the single greatest waste of potential in comedy history. The cast includes Carvey (who I'd remembered so fondly from a youth spent watching SNL reruns on Comedy Central) hamming it up amongst the likes of Steven Colbert, Steve Carell, and Robert Smigel. The writing staff includes those guys and Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Jon Glaser, Charlie Kaufman and Dino Stamatopolous. Between all those, you've got writers and/or performers from Mr. Show, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Being John Malkovich, Saturday Night Live, The Office, Adaptation, TV Funhouse, Chappelle's Show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Eternal Spotless Sunny Face Brain. I think I even saw Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk in the credits for one episode. What the fuck.

It's not so much that the show is bad; it's mostly just mediocre. As I said, Dana Carvey made me laugh a whole lot when I was younger, so the most I'll say about him is he's really, really, really proud of his celebrity imitations. Which is a bummer, because for every three forced Ross Perot bits, there's something like this:

They canceled the shit out of this one in a month and a half. I would've just fired Dana Carvey.

1. Tom Goes to the Mayor: Businessman's Edition

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, neither of whom are Dutch, are the most important thing to happen to comedy in the last five years. Or maybe the next five. Possibly both. The show is brilliant; apparently Cartoon Network received more hate mail about this show than any other Adult Swim program in history. I could write a term paper on why I like this show (and their follow-up, Tim and Eric: Awesome Show Great Job), but I will say this about them: they are better than anyone I can think of at using humor to make you legitimately uncomfortable, without resorting to the easy out of "boundary-pushing" offensiveness. As great as the show is, this DVD is worth it alone for the short film in the bonus features, where Eric fires Tim and replaces him with Michael Cera and Louie Anderson.

By the way: I didn't look very hard to find that clip I posted above; I probably could have found something a bit more uncomfortable to prove my half-baked point, but it's late and I'm tired. Tune in later this week for my top ten albums of the year, copy-pasted from vh1.com.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Top Five Films 2007

This is a tough one, as I only saw two movies from 2007 (one of them on my PC... thanks, bit torrent!). I am having to fudge the rules a bit for this list.

5. Pick a Winner

Featuring music by Lightning Bolt, White Mice, Wolf Eyes, and a bunch of other bands your parents don't like. This is available on DVD via Load Records, but they've made the entire thing available for free via that (admittedly low-res) YouTube clip above. Would have placed higher in this list, but I have never been able to watch more than 15 minutes without passing out.

4. King of Kong

Every time I start to feel stupid for caring deeply about stupid bullshit that doesn't matter, I will remember this film and I will be happy again.

3. "What is Wrong With You"

Loses points for not being an actual film, and being close to two decades old, and not even having been posted to YouTube within the last calendar year. Gains points for being my favorite thing of all time.

2. The Darjeeling Limited

Because even the worst Wes Anderson movie is better than basically any other movie.

1. "What is Wrong with You"

Oh, what the hell... I've gotta be true to my instincts.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I am going to do a bunch of year-end top ten lists, I think

Or maybe top five lists. Depends on how much I like things, and how many of them I like. I have some thinking to do.

I only saw one movie this year, so that's out. I like music a bunch... That'll probably make for at least a couple lists. I found out I liked a couple of foods I used to think were gross, but that's not really something I need to make a year-end list out of (food is not really all that topical, except in the sense that you need to eat it before it spoils). I guess I've got a couple weeks to figure this out.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanksgiving

The following is a series of text messages I received this Thanksgiving, while I was at my parents' house. We ate a little after 3:00, so keep in mind that for a lot of this I was sitting next to my grandpa, trying not to be rude (to my credit, my phone was at least on vibrate).

1:55 PM
I do have strong feelings for you…and as odd as i keep telling myself that is…i still do. When i went out with jeff it was because i convinced myself

1:56 PM
razy to wear my heart out in the open like i do and like you so much and want to only court you right from the start…but that’s who i am. Im fairytales

1:59 PM
and crazytown. And when it didn’t seem like you were, i did go out and see other boys and put my walls up towards you…

2:13 PM
ey really really wanted to be around me. i never had any other reasons and if i felt that you felt and wanted the same with me as I did with you I wouldn

2:16 PM
you will meet…all i know is i cant help but think of you. i was at my aunts with my friends and family all day having so much fun! Drinking and cookin

2:17 PM
I didnt expect me to go out and date and you not to, i just expected to make myself not feel for you and move on by showing myself boys who acted like th

2:30 PM
And because i want to be honest, i have spent 2 nights in a bed with jeff since ive dated him this time. We didnt have sex. I didnt touch him at all. Bu

3:04 PM
ut i feel right in my actions because of your tone with me (on a regular basis) and your actions. I appreciate so very much that you would invite me to d

3:11 PM
You are as bi polar as a polar bear. Be kind to me or dont. It cant be both anymore...i would also likd to say im sorry i was so quick to write you off b

3:12 PM
inner with travie trav and his parents but how was i supposed to know? You spoke to me and acted as if i would be lucky to see you ever...

3:39 PM
k of you when im trying to think of anything but you. Ive thought of you since i first met you...there has to be something to that. I know you think im c

3:47 PM
that i didnt want to like someone (you) so much when they could just take or leave me. I needed more assurance than that if my heart was already falling

3:49 PM
for you . So i went out with him on the full intention of never having feelings for you again. But here i am... He kissed me and i thought of you. I thin

3:51 PM
g and i just kept thinking of you. Jeff came over to my aunts later that night to hang out and drink and still i thought of you. I spent last weekend mos

3:52 PM
tly at home or with my family. ..not boys...i'm not the crazy girl you imagine. I just am crazy about you. And the way you treat me drives me crazy!

3:58 PM
t go out and see others just because we disagreed or whatever...thats definately not who i am. When im shown respect and honesty, im the most loyal puppy

3:59 PM
and surprise surprise. I thought of you. You ass...happy thanksgiving zach.

4:04 PM
t the first night (when i planned on having nothing to do with you ever again)He touched me over my jeans but my shirt and bra were off...it was awful...

4:11 PM
I just read that and it sounds like rape or something. it wasnt...it was nice actually but you know what i mean

9:19 PM
*Duplicate*
Zombihe! Are you amapzing time!

And now, here are my responses:

2:00 PM
Who is this? I think you have the wrong number

3:04 PM
PLEASE STOP TEXTING ME. YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER.

4:13 PM
Why am I still getting text messages from you? who is zach? for christ's sake, YOU HAVE GOT THE WRONG NUMBER

Thank you to Verizon Wireless and their innovative "William Burroughs" method of text-message delivery. Also to the unknown teenage girl who transformed my otherwise-pleasant Thanksgiving into a Kafka-esque technological farce.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Great Moments in Mathlete History: The Official Slump Christmas Album

So: my friend Keith Reynolds (under the auspices of his band/performance art project/production company/self, Slump) puts on a Christmas pageant almost every holiday season, "The Slump XXX-Mas Show." The shows became something of a local hit here in town, combining familiar holiday icons like Santa & Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, Frosty and Jesus with enormous, unwieldy casts largely comprised of amateurs, stoners and ex-strippers reveling in what one reviewer referred to as "infantile scatology".

I participated in the show several years ago (my first "legitimate acting" role; I played I think a hobo or something). Inspired by both the show's "kindergartener learning to cuss" aesthetic and Keith's penchant for shameless hucksterism (among sundry other things, he once made a good deal of money selling "lucky pennies" for a dollar at a street fair), I decided to put together what was marketed as "The Official Slump Christmas Album" and sell it at shows. In a span of four days I came up with eleven songs, including two recordings of songs from the show: a rewrite of "Silent Night" and "Sucka Fucka (WARNING: NOT AN ACTUAL CHRISTMAS SONG)".

Other than the Slump songs, nothing on the album had anything to do with the Slump Christmas show other than a loose association with Christmas. The final product was half-assed and moronic at best, but I had a lot of fun and made sixty bucks, thus cementing my love of seat-of-the-pants art capitalism. As an afterthought, I sent a mislabeled copy of the disc to a music website that had reviewed a few Mathletes albums. The result turned out to be the single best thing any human has written about a piece of art I've produced.

This is one of the most offensive records I have ever listened to -- a collection of 11 tracks with titles like "Santa Is an Obese Racist" and "Fuck Shit Up with Jesus". Even the ones that sound like they might be okay are revolting. "Silent Night" combines the melody we all remember from Sunday School with lyrics about a rape, including the memorable chorus (this is the "sleep in heavenly peace" part) of "I'm going to fuck your ass." "Greensleeves" does a similar trick with another familiar melody, but this time the lyrics are not really objectionable, just retarded. The entire second verse consists of either Joe or Keith singing the words "green sleeves" over and over, kind of like the song at the end of Elmo's World.

I'm not against satire. I don't mind songs that make fun of religion. It's just that these tracks are not funny enough to justify their obscenity, and they are, musically speaking, not very interesting. They are mostly drum-machine driven, low-rent-synth-filled, disco-beated wastes of time. I had to listen to this. You don't.

-- Jennifer Kelly, Splendid E-Zine


I probably should have just retired then and there. Hell if I know how I'll ever top "I had to listen to this. You don't."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

fun/asshole things to do to your family at Thanksgiving dinner

1. If you're straight, announce that you're coming out of the closet. If at all possible, do so when your grandpa is saying grace. Once the discussion moves elsewhere, quietly start piercing your nipples.
2. If you're gay and your parents disapprove, announce that you're going to be straight all day long as a present to your family. Then say that you need to be excused early because you've "got to go find some (pussy/dick) before midnight".
3. If you're a girl, announce that you're pregnant (again, during grace if possible). Later, excuse yourself and go to the restroom, then come back after a half-hour and announce that you just had a miscarriage so never mind.
4. Flirt with grandma.
5. Forcefully pick your nose. When confronted, explain to them that you'd rather eat boogers than that shit laid out on the table. Bonus points if you start bleeding.
6. Fake neck tattoo of a bulldog with an enormous erection.
7. Play footsie with everyone within leg's length.
8. Wear your iPod for the entirety of the evening. Sing along occasionally
9. Repeatedly and aggressively deny the Holocaust (unless your parents agree with such, in which case, uh, find a new family).
10. If you're a guy-- you know the scene in American Pie where the kid and the pie and the... yeah. Ask if you can help in the kitchen and do that to every dish you can get your hands on. When you're caught fucking the green bean casserole and they find holes in everything else: "What's the big deal? It's not like I'm coming in anything."
11. Hog all the stuffing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Regarding these blogs I do

First of all:
cash advance

Cash Advance Loans


I have no idea how they calculated that, but if a website says it it must be true. I expect my MacArthur Fellowship certificate is in the mail.

Seriously, that's hilarious. The Marmaduke Explained blog got a "College (Postgrad)" label, which is odd considering I use so many more big words there (I've been mostly talking about animals for the last week in this one, and some of my sentences weren't even really sentences). Maybe "Genius" is somewhere below "College (Postgrad)" on the smarts totem? I dunno, I never graduated. Thankfully I didn't have more fart and dick jokes; otherwise I probably would've scored "College (Undergrad)."

Second, the thing where I draw stuff on index cards is being updated more or less regularly again.

Finally, cottage cheese is actually pretty good. So is Metalocalypse. I just figured all this out yesterday. Why did nobody tell me?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I hope you have all enjoyed Fable Week

If any of you are writers, specifically philosophically-minded allegorical moralists, and wish to expand upon any of these scenarios, you have my blessings.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Giraffe vs. Vampire Bat

Vampire Bat dies from exhaustion. Giraffe wins but is mildly annoyed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Turtle vs. Tortoise vs. Terrapin

Tortoise wins by default. Turtle is upset but Terrapin takes it in stride and goes for a swim.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Frog vs. Dog

Draw (Frog is extraordinarily poisonous, but Dog is vegan and also not very affectionate).

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fish vs. Pine Tree

Draw.

Lion vs. Hamster (On a Boat)

Hamster jumps off boat, Lion chases after, both drown. Boat wins.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lion vs. Hamster

Lion catches and eats the hamster, but is still hungry.

Pig vs. Snake vs. Ice Cream

No matter what, ice cream loses.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dudes Korner: "How to convince a lady to have sex with you in 20 words or less"

"I'll bet you my penis can't fit inside your vagina. If you win, you get to have sex with me!"

"Pardon me, but could I interest you in some orgasms?"

"It's not long, but it's skinny!" (warning: highly risky)

"You remind me of a girl I used to know who loved having casual sex with me"

"Do you have any (your ethnicity) in you? Want some in your vagina?"

"Whooo, baby, you're making MY 'seventh inning' stretch!" (only effective during the seventh inning at baseball games, if at all)

"What are you, chicken?"

Joe Mathlete Improves Famous Poetry

This Is Just to Say
(William Carlos Williams)

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so yummy
Mmm-mmm yummy plums

A Dream Deferred
(Langston Hughes)

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun? Yuck!
Or fester like a sore--
And then run? Double yuck!
Does it stink like rotten meat? Yuck City USA!!!
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet? NOW we're talking!

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I hope it crusts and sugars over like a syrupy sweet.

The Road Not Taken
(Robert Frost)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And a grizzly bear ate me.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Haiku Corner

"Untitled Haiku For Grandchildren"

As you are right now
So too was I, long ago
Still, please hush up now



"Untitled Haiku For Grandchildren no. 2"

Stop picking your nose
There are no more boogers there
What is wrong with you



"Untitled Haiku For Grandchildren no. 3"

When I was your age
I wasn't such an asshole
Sure, go tell your mom

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Context ruins everything



It was either post this or take a day off. I'm sorry.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ron Paul


I have a friend named Walt who grew up in East Texas in the 60s and 70s, spending most of his youth in the cities of Freeport and Angleton. Walt hates the war in Iraq with a passion, and is sick enough of the status quo to advocate rioting at least a quarter of the time I talk politics with him. He thinks the Bush administration is the worst thing to happen to America in decades, possibly ever, and is massively disillusioned with the Democratic party. He will not be voting for Dr. Ron Paul.

As many of you know, Ron Paul was a gynecologist before entering politics. As probably only one or two of you know, Ron Paul was Walt's mother's gynecologist before entering politics. According to Walt, Ron Paul once recommended her a hysterectomy for reasons still at large, a recommendation that was not taken after a different doctor gave a second opinion discrediting and mocking Ron Paul's advice. Walt's mother lives to this day, hale and healthy and with every last bit of her uterus.

Ron Paul tried to steal my friend's mom's uterus.

I'm not going to tell you who I'm voting for, and I'm not going to tell you who I'm not voting for, but I will say this: a vote for Ron Paul is a vote for a man who tried to steal my friend's mom's uterus.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Attn: The Internet

How do you make a podcast? Is it pretty easy? Does anyone listen to them?

Is it legal? What if I just podcasted a Beatles album or something... Do people give a shit?

Why do "podcast" and "podcasting" clear Firefox's spellcheck, but not "podcasted"?

And how come neither "spellcheck" nor "spellchecker" pass the spellcheck(er)? Common usage, internet... jeez.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Grone Protocol: The Alabaster Mask of Iniquity, Chapter 008

Like most of you, I am a popular writer of highbrow thrillers and suspense novels in my spare time. For your entertainment and erudition (both of which I care about so much it gives me night terrors), I will be serializing my latest work, THE GRONE PROTOCOL, here in my “blog” (short for “web blog”) every "week" (seems more like bi-monthly now, but whatever). Here’s the eighth chapter, which should more than fill your daily quota of gripping intrigue. If not, just google "gripping intrigue" and leave me alone.

008

Chi Chi Caraniveggilio stepped out onto the balcony like a butterfly fart. As the party carried on inside the living room, she sighed and lit a tampon from her purse, believing it to be a cigar. After putting out the tampon and realizing she had left her cigars on the coffee table, she sighed again, twice. "Mama Mia," she thought. "I've really burned the spaghetti this time."

Chi Chi was an Italian, from Italy, and she liked to smoke cigars. She had been a world-famous local celebrity in her hometown of Genoa, the host of the gourmet cooking show "La Camera Squisita Grande di Come Circa Lascili Mangiano un Certo Molto Buon Alimento Oggi che Caratterizza il Vostro Chi Chi Ospite" ("The Big Delicious House of How About Let's Eat Some Very Good Food Today Featuring Your Host Chi Chi"), a program whose revolutionary approach to microwaving and ludicrously cumbersome title made her an international superstar in Genoa and its surrounding villages. Chi Chi relished her fame, but she gave it all up to come to America, where she lived a life of quiet, cigar-filled anonymity.

Chi Chi loved her life in the States, and loved regaling her new American friends and acquaintances with tales of microwaving damn near everything she felt like. But Chi Chi had a secret. A secret that she was totally never ever going to tell anybody in a million billion years, even her Mom or her very best friend in the world or postsecret.com. A secret that, if revealed, would no longer be a secret.

As she walked back into her neighbor's nephew's bar mitzvah to retrieve her cigar bag, she paused. A thought crept into her head: "Provengo da un paese differente che sono dentro ora ed ancora penso occasionalmente in lingua della mia nazione precedente," which means something in Italian. If she was from the future instead of Italy, she would know that no matter how untranslated her thoughts were, they weren't untranslated enough to prevent what was about to happen.

A partial list of things besides Autumn weather that I think are rad

I love NewsRadio. When I was in high school I wrote letters to keep them from canceling it, twice. It only worked the first time. It had the best ensemble cast of any show on television, outstanding writing, a beautiful mix of subtle and slapstick not equaled until Arrested Development, and I developed a crush on Maura Tierney so massive it almost makes me want to watch ER (almost). I still count they day I found out about Phil Hartman's murder as one of the saddest days of my life.

I love burritos. And I love living in Texas, where they are really good at burritos. I even love non-Texan burritos if they're done right; I love Chipotle and its weird, German Minimalist approach to both burritos and decor. I love enchiladas too.

I love Guided by Voices. I got to see them six times, and fully regret only being over 21 (and thus as drunk as they were) the last time I saw them. I would have a hard time narrowing down a list of my top 100 Guided by Voices songs, and would have to make sacrifices left and right; there are maybe only one or two other bands for whom that would be anywhere near the case.

I love animals, and wish that they would invent a kitten that was both cuddly didn't shit so I could have a pet. If you think kittens are not hard for someone to take care of, you have not seen the inside of my apartment.

I love playing the drums. I am horrible at the drums, but they are the most fun instrument to play.

I love England, and keep having dreams about moving there. I love that they speak the same language I do in England, but it is still a foreign nation. I also love Canada, for many of the same reasons.

I love Wes Anderson films, and could not care less that all his films are very similar to one another. If someone starts making better Wes Anderson films than Wes Anderson, it might be a problem, but for now Wes Anderson makes the best Wes Anderson films, and I love Wes Anderson films.

This is only a partial list... There are totally other things in this world that I love, but I'm tired of listing them right now. I think I've covered enough for one Rad Week.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Okay, I got something

I know this has been a really shitty Rad Week, but I thought of something I like a whole bunch and am really happy about: Autumn is here!

I love a lot of things about my hometown; it's got a bunch of traffic and pollution and haunted strip clubs and gigantic evil corporations and Z.Z. Top (I think), but it's also got its good points. For 90% of any given year, the weather is certainly not one of the good points. This summer alone we had over 50 consecutive days with temperatures over 100 degrees,* and as Houston was built on a swamp it has more humidity than is healthy for humans.

But man, Autumn totally just got here this week and I've been so excited.

I have a sweatshirt that is one of my favorite things. It is old and lightweight and dark blue and has pockets and a hood and a zipper and everything. I get to wear it about six weeks' worth out of any given year. This week was the first sweatshirt weather we have had since February. Next week it'll probably be ninety something degrees like it was last week, but our miserable seven month summer is finally starting to die. I went to a park and sat down on a bench and there was a breeze and it was really, really pleasant.

See, this is boring, and also I bitched about things for most of it. I am not good at this. I do like a lot of things, but I don't see much of a point writing about them. Maybe I'll just come up with a list tomorrow and be done with it.

I apologize for how poor this Rad Week has turned out.

*: Source: Guesstimate, based on how much I hate the summer

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Alright wait hold on gimme a sec

I'm CERTAIN there has got to be something that I like that's worth writing about... Shit.

I'm working on it...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Starting tomorrow: RAD WEEK BEGINS!


So I've noticed I've been bitching about things a lot lately, from cartoons I really shouldn't care about to internet fads to children's entertainment I really, really, REALLY shouldn't care about to the still-distant presidential elections to the internet to spooky strip clubs in my hometown. Also that comic strip.

You would be forgiven in assuming that I'm a black hole of bitterness and misdirected bile. While it's true that there are a good deal of things in this world that make me sad, frustrated, angry and generally not all that happy, I would like to take the next week to prove that there are, indeed, a lot of things I really like.

So check back tomorrow for the first installment of Rad Week, during which I will describe and/or praise things that I really love, or at least don't hate, rather than dwelling upon bullshit that serves only to angry up the blood.

God I hope I can come up with a half-dozen things I like.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I want to tell you something about the city I live in

That city is Houston, Texas. There is actually a great deal of things that I love about Houston. There is also this.

Haunt XXX: "Houston's most titillating haunted house"

My hometown has combined haunted houses and strip clubs. In lieu of actually writing about this, I'm going to just post the link again and go to bed.

Haunt XXX: Houston's most titillating haunted house

This really is not a proud day for me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I have grown a beard (AKA Joe Mathlete's most personal blog entry yet)

Yeah, like it says... I have a beard. Intentionally this time, too. There is a thin line between growing a beard and being bad at shaving, and I have toed it many times. This one is an on-purpose beard, though.

The best part? I can have weird humongous sideburns later, instantly, without going through the awkward developmental stages. It can be hard to tell the difference between someone growing sideburns and someone being really, really, really bad at shaving, but in this scenario I've already got the sideburns. They're just hiding inside my beard, patiently waiting for their chance to strike.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

WHO IS JOE MATHLETE GOING TO VOTE FOR IN THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS???

I don't know. Talk to me next year. Until then, for chrissakes shut up about it.

It's like Christmas ads in March.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Awesome!

Google Ads is having a field day with the Spin Magazine thing I did a few days ago. I can't BELIEVE there are this many adult diaper companies.

Thank you, Google, for teaching us how to smile again.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

JOLLY JOLLY JINGLEBEANS: THE MOVIE

This is so awesome. A brave group of film enthusiasts and thespians took a script I wrote a couple of months ago and totally did all sorts of moviemaking to it. I myself am a veteran of many kitchen-shot budget-free short films, so this strikes a particular chord in me (besides, y'know, the narcissism one).



They were surprisingly faithful to the script, down to the stage directions... When Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans appears in a fantastical burst of magic, you WILL believe in fantastical bursts of magic. Many thanks to Clav (possibly not his real name) and the rest of the crew.

If anyone would like to make any more movies for me, feel free. Suggestions: a film version of my unfinished play Robot Holocaust (up to you to finish it for me), a remake of Dr. Strangelove with puppets or cats, and old episodes of NewsRadio shot in the style of The Office.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Spin Magazine's 100 Greatest Albums 1985-2005, part two: Diaper Edition

51.
In Diapers
by Nirvana

52.
Licensed to Ill
by Diaper Boys

53.
The Battle of Los Angeles
by Diaper Against the Diaper

54.
Last Diaper
by The Breeders

55.
Dig Your Own Diaper
by The Chemical Diapers

56.
To Bring You My Diaper
by PJ Harvey

57.
White Blood Diaper
by The White Stripes

58.
Master of Diapers
by Metallica

59.
Lonesome Crowded Diaper
by Modest Mouse

60.
De La Soul Is Diapers
by De La Soul

61.
Diaperton
by Weezer

62.
Supa Diaper Fly
by Missy Misdemeanor Elliott

63.
Crooked Rain, Crooked Diaper
by Pavement

64.
The Marshall Diapers LP
by Eminem

65.
Remedy
by Diaper Jaxx

66.
Aquediaper
by OutKast

67.
Reign in Diapers
by Slayer

68.
Diaperquaye
by Tricky

69.
Endtrodiaper...
by DJ Shadow

70.
The Bluediaper
by Jay-Z

71.
Diapercandy
by The Jesus and Mary Chain

72.
Only Built 4 Cuban Diapers
by Raekwon

73.
Different Diapers
by Pulp

74.
Dummy
by Diapershead

75.
Le Diapers
by Le Tigre

76.
If You're Feeling Sinister
by Diapers & Sebastian

77.
Yankee Hotel Diaper
by Wilco

78.
The Stone Diapers
by The Stone Roses

79.
Everything Is Diapers
by Moby

80.
Voodoo
by D'Iapers

81.
Diaper Gold
by Beck

82.
Grace (Diapers)
by Jeff Buckley

83.
Relationship of Command
by At the Diaper-In

84.
Diaperunknown
by Soundgarden

85.
Automatic for the Diaper
by R.E.M.

86.
Up on the Sun
by Meat Diapers

87.
Diaperlife
by Blur

88.
Emperor Tomato Diaper
by Stereolab

89.
Diaper To Tell
by Yeah Yeah Diapers

90.
Sister
by Sonic Diaper

91.
Diaperlarking
by XTC

92.
Atomizer
by Big Black Diaper

93.
Ten
by Diaper Jam

94.
Diaperland
by Slint

95.
Diapers (s/t)
by Elastica

96.
Diaper Sodomy & the Lash
by The Pogues

97.
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
by Diaper Milk Hotel

98.
When I Was Born for the 7th Time
by Diapershop

99.
Gentlemen
by The Diaper Whigs

100.
Is This Diapers
by The Strokes

I'm sorry. Part one next week, if I can wash off the embarrassment.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Anyone who has ever said the following is not allowed to be friends with me

"Gentlemen, start your boners"

"Am I right, ladies?" (stand-up comics only)

"Rap? More like 'Crap'!"

"Okay, obviously the war is about oil, but so what? We need oil."

"I just don't 'get' kittens"

"DC is far superior to Marvel" (Okay, you can be friends with me, but only under the condition that you admit you're stupid)

"If you don't like it, you can get the hell out" (when "it" is America. If "it" is, say, someone's house, that's perfectly fine)

"I like all kinds of music except _____"*

"I like all kinds of music" (These are not as big dealbreakers as the others, but I've grown to loathe statements like these. As someone really perceptive whose name I've forgotten once observed, "People who say they like all kinds of music usually don't really like music)

"It's been over a year... When are you going to start doing a Family Circus blog already???"

Monday, October 08, 2007

Farting Babies (so many of them)

(Warning: some of these are probably more than farts)










The entirety of my infant videography is collected on a single VHS cassette (labeled "Family Tape #1"), currently residing on a shelf somewhere at my parents' house. These kids have had millions of strangers watch them fart and voice opinions ranging from "im gona dres my baby lik dat. how cute.:)" to "WHAT AN UGLY STUPID BABY!!!" before they turned one year old.

Hooray! It's the future! Hooray!

Friday, October 05, 2007

CNN.com's front page as of 2:00 CST, October 5 2007: Pizza Party Edition

There's a lot of bad news in the world today, and I for one am doing something about it. This week, there was so much bad news that I had to use something even nicer than grandpas to fix it.


Tape shows scuffle before death at pizza party

Man kills self in front of City Council after pizza party

U.S.-led forces call in pizza party, kill 25

Police blast into pizza party, kill man who shot 5

N.H. tax evaders arrested after long pizza party

Student apologizes for 'Jena 6' pizza party

Huge U.S. Embassy pizza party beset by delays

Report: Marion Jones admits pizza parties

Ig Nobels celebrate science's silly pizza parties
(this was already a great headline, but now it's even better)

$2.4M pizza party for sponge left in body

Pizza parties fight to keep women

Ticker: McCain wants pizza party 'dead or alive'

Sinead O'Connor to pizza party: I feel for Britney

One spritz gives bed monsters fits
(I cannot in good conscience edit this wonderful, wonderful sentence)

How to enjoy pizza parties with in-laws

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Public Access Television

I missed the "Golden Age of Public Access Television" (if there ever was such a thing), so I can't say that I've watched too much of it. The little I have been exposed to gives me the impression that it's about 90% bargain basement televangelists too broke-ass to hook up with the big-haired grin monsters on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, with the rest divided between prerecorded town hall meetings, Spanish-language hip-hop shows that can't get over the Green Screen effect, and college courses with a beardy professor talking to a half-empty room and a single camera.

Apparently it wasn't always like this. Apparently, back in "the day" you could catch all sorts of crazy shit that slipped through the cracks, things that weren't entertaining on the same level of other television programs so much as they were fascinating on the level of "what is this and why was this made." There is a lot of that sort of thing to be found in the world of low-budget video'd what-the-fucklery today, of course; that's about 90% of YouTube videos right there. But the difference is, with YouTube you've pretty much got to be looking for something to find it, or at least looking for something similar, and there's probably going to be a description next to it, and people commenting below to give it clarity, and a list of related videos to further frame it. In other words, even the most random and bizarre YouTube video is basically dripping with context. And as I've said before, context ruins everything.

Honestly, is homemade pseudo-Dada too much to ask for on the public airwaves in the 21st century? Basically I just wish I could have been aimlessly flipping through channels at two AM in a random bout of insomnia 20 years ago and come across something utterly bizarre and inexplicable, something untainted by logic or reason that would shake me out of my fog and then make me wonder for the rest of my days what on earth I had seen. Something like this:



If you're wondering? Yes, I did write this whole post just to have a reason to share that clip. The more I watch it the happier it makes me. I'm starting to worry myself.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

How about a music video: The Mathletes - Only Shallow (My Bloody Valentine cover)



Cover of a My Bloody Valentine song, taken from the album The Mathletes Own Other People's Songs, an album of covers available as a free download at http://oops.allstarpowerup.com.

The video is comprised of a bunch of live clips spanning seven or eight months' worth of Mathletes shows. We don't have so much a "revolving door" lineup as we do a "bigass hole in the wall that we really ought to consider repairing" lineup


I have no idea what the actual words to the song are; it's loads more fun to just make up sounds. If you're not familiar with MBV and are somewhat lost as to what's going on here, check out the video for the original recording:



Rumor has it that My Bloody Valentine is reuniting for next year's Coachella fest. If anyone wants to give me a ticket, I'll totally be your best friend.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oh MySpace

One of the best things about having a MySpace account is the endless parade of sub-adequate musicians/comedians/entrepreneurs who send you random friend requests, in hopes that you (or, usually in my case, your band) is their target market. I can't tell you how much mediocrity I've been asked to befriend, but every now and then, out of a vast sea of unsolicited e-cries for attention, you find something that transcends pointlessness and skates right into the sublime.

Despite my numbers-referencing surname and our shared hometown, I can assure you that this is not me. I only wish I had been able to come up with this, even though I don't really care much for either math or education.

Presenting the single best MySpace friend request I have received in months: "Mr. Flowers Hip Hop Multiplication CD."

I highly suggest listening to all the tracks Mr. Flowers has offered to the general public, but the highlights for me are definitely "Mr. Trey (Three)" and "Neighborhood Hero (Zero)." Casio-level hip-hop production and multiplication tables: together at last.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What I did on my week off






Thanks to whoever filmed these, all the nice folks my friends and I met in San Antonio and Austin, you guys here for sitting tight while I took a breather, and the Flaming Lips (and road crew) for rather obvious reasons.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Joe Mathlete presents FAMILY GUY: DETRACTOR'S CUT



(Much thanks to my friend Jonathan for inspiring this)

Presenting for your edification: Family Guy season 6 episode 16, minus every instance it resorted to one of the program's Five Pillars of Lazy Post-Simpsons Hack Bullshit (see: the last thing I wrote). I searched at random for something from the most recent season and went with the first episode I came across, ensuring that the show would have a fair shot at giving me it's best work, or at least its most average and representative. This also ensured that I would only have to watch one episode of Family Guy.

I was able to shave a full ten minutes off the episode's runtime without removing anything that had remotely to do with the actual plot of the show. It takes a couple of minutes for the episode to really lean hard on the cheap hack copouts that are Family Guy's bread and butter; keep your eyes peeled and see if you can spot every time I had to cut something. If every example is correctly pointed out, there's probably a prize or something.

I'm proud at how much this improves the show. Watch it quick, before someone on the internet or from 20th Century Fox says I'm not allowed to do this and it gets taken down.

I'm taking a short break for a few days or so... When I get back: words!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Family Guy is terrible, and laziness is ruining comedy


I've said it before (and so has South Park, and so has probably The Simpsons, and I'm guessing other people who write about stuff they hate), but let's summarize:

1. In a comedy show, the majority of jokes ought to have at least some tangential relation to what is going on in the story. An occasional non-sequitur aside here and there can add an absurdist dimension to an already strong piece, but Family Guy writers just let their gag idea notepads shit into each and every script in order to bloat episodes to their full, required 23-minute lengths. It's boring and amateurish.

2. When something goes on too long, it goes on too long. Extending an out-of-nowhere awkward pause does not automatically equal humor. Family Guy didn't write the book on this sort of device in animation, but they highlighted every page of the book and consult it multiple times per tired, hackneyed episode.

3. Ditto unnecessary repetition to highlight/belabor a dumb gag.

4. Inserting a celebrity or stereotype (or reference to such) into a scene for no reason, then letting them do or say something for an extended period of time, not to propel the action along but rather derail it to highlight how silly said celebrity/stereotype is (or how silly the reference is)? Hack City USA. There's enough ADD going off with all the "that reminds me of the time when..." bullshit (see #1), but sometimes even when Family Guy manages to avoid cutting away from a scene, it still can't focus to save its goddamn life.

5. Somewhere around the fifteenth year of Saturday Night Live, television show parodies (either fabricated shows or spoofs of existing programing) became essentially the most creatively bankrupt, butt-lazy form of cheap-laugh comedy premise, especially when they are segued into via "some people are sitting on a couch watching television."

None of these points in particular are unpardonable offenses; when used sparingly and creatively as part of shows or movies or whatever that are grounded in things like strong writing, originality and a cohesive plot (yeah, remember those?), that's no problem. When you use them as the basic formula for a highly popular and long-running television series, when you run them into the ground until a nation of dim college students and uncreative stoners are programed to mistake an endless parade of disjointed pop culture references for legitimate humor, when you've done all you can to ruin modern comedy through your lazy hackery and Marmadukian formula-abuse (that's right, I went there)...

When you're a show that was fresh and original for precisely one season, devolved into self-parody after two, was canceled after three, then saw its DVD sales and rerun-fueled contract renewal as a mandate to make your empty, half-assed bullshit the gold standard and make an entire generation of misguided attention span-deprived MTV casualties nullify the value of content and rape Dada's corpse (I am looking at you, Adult Swim, and with some notable exceptions your programming is on extraordinarily thin ice)...

When you've made a boilerplate formula out of left-field randomness...

Jesus, I'm too defeated to even finish that thought.

(I will say that I find Lois kind of attractive... I find it's best not to think about it.)

Birthday clarification

(see: that last thing I wrote)

Early 20s: 20-23
Mid 20s: 23-26
Late 20s: 26-29

Those years where there's overlap are where distinctions like "early-mid" and "mid-late" come into play; their usage is wholly optional, but I prefer sticking with it to be slightly more accurate while maintaining slight ambiguity.

Obviously I'm making most of this up right at this moment.

Fun Faqt: I was born at 3:33 AM, so I'm pretty much required by birthright to have some amount of 3s as my lucky number.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm in my mid-20s

I used to be in my early-mid 20s, but as of now I'm in my mid-20s. No new post today while I'm figuring this out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"If your aunt had balls, she'd be your uncle" and other British turns of phrase

"If your aunt had balls, she'd be your uncle"

"If your sister had balls, she'd be your brother"

"If your mum had balls, she'd be your da"

"If your grandpa had balls, she'd be your grandpa"

"If your lady cow had balls, she'd be your boy cow"

"If your foot had wheels, she'd be your rollerblade"

"If your clock had radiation, she'd be your microwave"

"If your dog had gills, she'd be your dogfish"

"If your frog had wings, she'd be your birdfrog"

"If your Coke had cherries, she'd be your Cherry Coke"

"If your computer had legs, she'd be your robot"

"If your chin had balls, you'd have a wiener in your mouth"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Original proposed tracklist to the Empire Records soundtrack


1. Til I Hear It From You - Grunge Blossoms
2. Liar - The Grungeberries
3. A Grunge Like You - Edwyn Collins
4. Free - The Grungetinis
5. Crazy Life - Toad The Grunge Sprocket
6. Bright As Grunge - The Innocence Mission
7. Circle Of Friends - Grunger Than Ezra
8. I Don't Want To Grunge Today - Grunge Hangers
9. Whole Lotta Grunge- Cracker
10. Ready, Steady, Grunge - The Meices
11. What You Are (Grunge) - Drill
12. Grunge Overalls - Lustre
13. Here Grunge Comes Again - Please
14. The Ballad Of El' Grunge-o - Evan Dando
15. Grunge - Grunge

Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and they let the bands keep their original names/song titles, but the (terrible, terrible) film ended up putting the coffin in the grungesploitation* genre anyway.

*: sorry

Monday, September 17, 2007

Five specific things I remember about five Kurt Vonnegut books I don't really remember

Kurt Vonnegut (totally RIP) has been my favorite author since I became a teenager. With the exception of Happy Birthday Wanda June, a copy of which I was never able to find (granted, I didn't look too hard, but regardless), I exhausted his canon before turning 18. It wasn't so much that I was a tremendous reader back then; I didn't read nearly as much by any other author, and to tell you the truth only finished one single book I was assigned by a high school English class (two if you count Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House, but I'd read it years before so I don't. The other was a book about boxing in South Africa, and it was awesome and had badass fight scenes so I stuck it out). Basically I was just a really big Kurt Vonnegut fan, and after I finished one of his novels I tended to want more.

I recently reread my copy of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, one of the first books of his I ever read, and was surprised as hell that I remembered so little about it. Granted, it has been close to a decade, but I realized soon after beginning it that I didn't have a clue as to how it ended, and save for a few choice bits there were large chunks throughout that were almost entirely foreign to me... It was sorta weird.

I thought about it some more, and it turns out that there are a number of other books I've done an even worse job at retaining details about than that one. Here are five Kurt Vonnegut books that I read and enjoyed years ago, and the only things that I can really remember about them today.

Deadeye Dick: Somewhere at the end, someone tells the main character (Deadeye Dick, I guess) that the Ku Klux Klan is secretly in charge of the United States, and cultivates their image as powerless nutjob extremists so that nobody will suspect them of anything.

Hocus Pocus: Someone's mother, who has some sort of brain disease or illness or something where she's kind of dim, calls a fish "humongous," and this choice of words is remarked upon as unusual. Influenced my frequent use of this word to this day.

Sirens of Titan
: There are some statues on a desert island on one of Saturn's moons (Titan). No idea what they were doing there.

Player Piano: A woman gets caught on a future train for many days because she misses her stop and it won't let her off because of dystopian efficiency.

Galopagos
: People turn into seals because the world ends. There is a little computer that quotes poetry. (this is actually all I really understood about this book, possibly my first encounter with Vonnegut, when I initially read it)

I've got a lot of re-reading to do.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

F#@k You Lolcats, part four

Here are some more Joecats. Just doing my part to give some dignity back to my third-favorite animal.






Tuesday, September 11, 2007

F#@k You Lolcats, part three

I've obtained a copy of an attempt by my friend Jonathan to write a Wikipedia entry for lolcats. Jonathan hates these things as much as I do, possibly even more. It starts somewhere in the middle and ends in a nervous breakdown; I think he swallowed his tongue. - Joe Mathlete

Tamara Ikenberg of The News Journal states that "some trace the lolcats back to the site 4chan, which features bizarre cat pictures on Saturdays, or 'Caturdays and STUPID FUCKING SHIT'." Ikenburg adds that the images have been "slinking around the Internet for years under various labels, but they didn't become a sensation until early 2007 with the advent of dontclickonthisitisfullofdumbassmemes.com"[15]

The first image on "I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?" was posted on January 11, 2007.[16] The use of "lolcat" to describe the phenomenon was introduced no later than June 14, 2011, when wikipedia gave gravity to an entirely superficial and annoying internet phenomenon no greater than when Power Ranger Yellow wasn't in that one episode.[citation needed]

lolcats.com was registered.[17]

Lev Grossman of Time wrote that the oldest known example "probably dates to when i was living in my mom's basement",[18] but later corrected himself in a blog post[19] where he recapitulated the anecdotal evidence readers had sent him, placing the origin of "Caturday" and many of the images now known as huhughdsfudsfuhdsuahdsuhf no no no no no

Sunday, September 09, 2007

F#@k You Lolcats

Sorry to be complaining so much about things lately, but this has been bothering me for awhile. The nigh-infallible Achewood had what should have been the final word on the subject, but somehow this phenomenon persists.

I love cats. If I were less busy and more responsible, I would own a cat and I would love the hell out of that cat. I also like funny pictures of cats; I like cats, I like funny pictures, it works just fine. But in all my years of liking funny pictures of cats, not once did I want twelve-year-olds to caption them with almost pornographically-misspelled interpretations of what the cats might have been thinking.

Honestly, I think it's the misspellings that appall me the most. Who says cats can't spell correctly? Why is something like spelling "hi" with an "ai" (or is that supposed to be "hey"? I still can't figure that out) supposed to be inherently funny in any context at all? And if these captions are things the cats are saying or thinking, why does spelling enter into it at all? Possibly this practice has to do with imagining the cats speaking in dumb, cartoonish voices, but I've got enough imagination to think of a silly cat voice if I so choose without someone writing "your" as "ur." I'm starting to believe that people who make these lolcat captions are just mildly retarded and don't know much about the English language.

I'm sick of having to see the hilarious antics of one of my favorite creatures constantly co-opted for a dumbass internet fad that's far past its expiration date, and I'm offended at the implication (however subtle and obtuse) that, if cats could write, they wouldn't be able to spell correctly. I'm taking it upon myself to reverse the trend. Fuck you, lolcats.



Friday, September 07, 2007

Hey guess what: I'm gonna be on the radio today

Along with a half-dozen other people, playing songs. The Mathletes are performing on 91.7 KTRU at 6 pm central; so if you've got an internet and a soundcard you should tune in is what you should do. Or, y'know, if you live in Houston you can use a radio.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Alvin and the Chipmunks and a quasi-scholarly analysis on the futility of taste (or, Joe is pretentious)

There comes a time in every cynic's life where it becomes meaningless to rail against the wrongs men do in the world, be they artistic, political, cultural or what have you. Whenever I come across something like the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie and can barely muster up the motivation to articulate why it's wrong, I realize that so much of me that was once vital has long since died. There is something to be said for being so removed from modern pop culture that large chunks of it, even its most perverse offenses, can be rendered as surreal and meaningless abstractions; I credit a high-speed internet connection my freshman year at college and the subsequent realization that I didn't need to own a TV to occasionally watch TV shows as the first and most important step in becoming so sheltered that the only way I even find out about stuff like the Alvin and the Chipmunks is by rare accident.

And on those rare accidents, when something horrid slips through, I am at first horrified. When I was first made aware of My Super Sweet 16 (or whatever the show with the wealthy bitchy teenage girls yelling at their parents and friends is called), I was apoplectic that they were featuring these terrible, spoiled, and mean-spirited people as entertainment figures, but then my sister informed me that there were scads of shows pretty much just like it, and everyone agrees they're terrible and yet they're still hugely popular so what are you going to do?

It's sort of humbling, in a way.

So I don't really even have the energy to make myself care about Alvin and the Chipmunks anymore; after the initial flash of outrage in the taste centers of my brain, it's sunk into that dull blue-gray "that's just stupid/it's so weird they decided to make that/oh well, what are you gonna do" area of perception. Beyond the obvious fact that it's a children's movie and thus not intended for me (I am neither a child nor do I have children), there is a lot to hate here. There have GOT to be better opportunities out there for Jason Lee to make a big dumb Hollywood blockbuster borderline-career killer, for one. And the trailer I stumbled upon repurposes footage of a riot in which nearly 100 people died for comedic effect (it also features Alvin sucking on a piece of Theodore's shit... hey, it's a kid's movie!). And Hollywood remake necrophilia is a bummer and a half, especially when applied to a franchise as pointless (not to mention pointlessly remade) as Alvin and the Chipmunks.

But for the most part, I'd much rather save my ire for when something that ought to be good isn't (the last Arcade Fire album, f'rinstance... they're fantastic live, and Funeral matched the hyperbole for me, but Neon Bible just plain didn't bring the songs), rather than for shit that pops through my self-imposed isolation bubble and briefly spooks me by exposing the true values of the lowest common denominator. So I'm pretentious, and I'm a snob, and I'm giving up, but what am I gonna do?

It's Alvin and the Chipmunks. They were singing "Funkytown."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wikipedia: I hate you

If YouTube is the greatest thing about the 21st century thus far, Wikipedia is the worst. Both have similar effects on my tendency to follow any train of thought to whatever logical/illogical conclusion, which in my more formative years resulted mostly in a lot of daydreaming. Daydreaming, naturally, is only as entertaining as your imagination and/or lack of interest in whatever you're supposed to be paying attention to (school, church, relatives), and no matter how creative you are or how boring grandpa is, you're going to snap out of it sooner than later. YouTube and Wikipedia, on the other hand, take (advantage of) your idle, wandering mind and supply it with a virtually endless series of additional distractions, some directly relating to your initial train of though, some not even tangentially having to do with anything you give a half of a tenth of an ounce of a fuck of a shit about.

My attention span was shorter than that of a mosquito long before the internet. I never took Ritalin when I was a kid because I heard it made your nipples fall off, so I told my folks "please no" and we all suffered together. Now I'm in my 20s and my apartment's full of mosquitoes (I try to kill them or at least shoo them out, but they're just too focused). I'm a grown-ass man with shit to do, but not if YouTube and Wikipedia have anything to say about it.

Now: I love YouTube. Love the hell out of it. Best thing to happen to me in forever. Don't own a TV, don't need a TV. Wikipedia? To hell with it. Hate it on general principle (I'm not even going to get into how much I hate it for things like forever destroying the power of myth, or how much it creeps me out that there's already evidence of large corporations editing pages to suit their own needs (music-specific example here)), but for the purposes of this ramble I hate it for how much time I lose to it, reading about things that didn't used to matter to me, that still don't matter to me, and didn't really matter while I was reading about them. Both things are so similar in the time-waste regard, but here is the main difference:

YouTube is entertainment; Wikipedia is information.

If I'm going to be wasting my time on something in the manner of an idle daydream, I would rather it be entertaining than informative. Especially if it's information about the bullshit I tend to read, which is probably 5% science and nature, 15% history and politics, and the rest entirely meaningless and useless sub-trivia (tune in tomorrow-ish as I relate how I accidentally discovered they're making an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie and subsequently became so furious with pop culture I shit blood out my dick). Yeah, yeah, nobody puts a gun to my head and makes me read this stuff, but for chrissakes, I go and look something up (in the previous example, information about a David Cross standup special) and natural human curiosity makes me become an active participant in the downfall of my own evening. With YouTube, someone sends me a link to three guinea pigs fighting over a piece of cucumber (see: below) and shazam: I'm more than happy to give up control of my destiny to a series of cute li'l critter videos, because I'm relatively sure I'm not going to end up three hours later knowing which cast member of the 2001 Broadway revival of Caberet has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and five hours later forgetting which cast member of the 2001 Broadway revival of Caberet has obsessive-compulsive disorder.*

Look: if I want to watch an old music video or clips from a TV show I used to love or just kill some time, YouTube is incredible. If I want to know something very, very specific, I'll go to Wikipedia, but from now on I need to train myself to treat it like a mad dash into Home Depot to get something to fix a leaky sink; beyond my tendency to go "wow, I've never heard of THAT comic book!", I'm getting sick of how easy it is for us to treat an enormous chunk of the assembled collection of human knowledge as disposable and borderline meaningless.

And when I want to shake myself out of a slack-jawed, glassy-eyed stupor and go "wait, what? How did I get from thinking about my favorite Kinks songs to wondering how turtles have sex?", I want to know that I got there on my own. Just like I did when I was a kid.

*: This fact is make-believe. And no way in hell I am going to look it up on Wikipedia.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Cartoon Televangelist, Episode Two

Work off your Labor Day hangovers with your pal and mine, Cartoon Televangelist. Keep an eye out for the Prayer Cone!


Joe Mathlete: Exposing you to the future of cinema since a week or two ago.

Friday, August 31, 2007

YouTube Comment Haikus

Discovering these, the most obtuse and useless form of found art imaginable, are enough to drive a man mad. YouTube comments are perhaps the lowest form of human communication, and the more of them you read the closer you are to going into a grocery store one day and walloping on people with a ball peen hammer at random.

Anyway, having said that, I now present YouTube Comment Haikus for one of today's featured videos, Jimi Hendrix on Fire (summary: man makes portrait of Jimi Hendrix out of matchsticks, then lights it on fire).

Via user Knobbsy, a teenage metal fan from the United Kingdom:

seems a shame to make
summit like that only to
burn it was great though!!


From madmonk66, a 40-year-old music afficionado (tastes veering from Venom to Soft Cell):

Wow. Is that Jimi's
schlong on fire? What is this -
Mississippi? LOL

(note: "LOL," of course, counts as one syllable ("lole") rather than three ("ell oh ell"). I made up the artform; I make up the rules)

There are probably more buried in here, but I'm slowly losing my mind looking for more so I'll stop at two for today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I think Larry Flint did this kind of thing once

(Context: Something I heard about in the news)

Let it be known that I, Joe Mathlete, will pay a sum of one hundred dollars to any man who can prove that a Senator from Idaho had sex with him in a bathroom, or tried to indicate via hand-jive signals that he wanted to have sex with him in a bathroom.

Let it also be known that I, Joe Mathlete, will duly accept full financial backing for the above from any and all advocacy groups who would like this information to be made public but are too classy to make this offer on their own.

THE MATHLETES OWN OTHER PEOPLE'S SONGS: THE BEST ALBUM OF THIS YEAR, OR NEXT, OR BASICALLY ANY OTHER

You guys know I make music, right?

Yeah, I make music. I've put out close to 25 albums since 2000 or so, very quietly and usually with "print runs" of under 30. I write all the songs and play all the instruments (except when we play live, but that's a tale for another day), and I enjoy it quite a bit. I'm not great at talking it up, but I will say this: It's amazing. I/we am/are called "The Mathletes," because I thought it would be funny to pretend I was a real band and not just a person. It wasn't, really, but I kept up with it just 'cuz.

So my newest album has been alluded to for close to a year (on, among other places, our MySpace page), and it's finally out. It's a covers album, and I'm releasing it for free online (though you can donate a few bucks via Paypal if you like what you hear, or if you're just feeling super nice, or if you don't believe Paypal actually works and you want to test your luck).

If you're a fan of lo-fi home recorded bedroom pop (and who besides most people isn't?), you should probably check out THE MATHLETES OWN OTHER PEOPLE'S SONGS. At the very least, there are some quasi-amusing anecdotes for each song, as well as some crayony album cover reproductions. Go on, go for it! Hey, nothing to lose, right?

Tracklist:

01. Linger (The Cranberries)
02. Only Shallow (My Bloody Valentine)
03. ROYGBIV (Boards of Canada)
04. Choking Tara (Guided by Voices)
05. Unravel (Bjork)
06. Les Os (The Unicorns)
07. Race for the Prize (The Flaming Lips)
08. Seeing Other People (Belle and Sebastian)
09. Rocket (The Smashing Pumpkins)
10. Never Let Me Down Again (Depeche Mode)
11. Ghost (Neutral Milk Hotel)
12. True Love Will Find You In The End (Daniel Johnston)
13. What Goes On (The Velvet Underground)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"anime" is almost an anagram for "enema"

I'm not making any judgment call or stating any opinions here. I just realized that, and wanted to share.

Sorry.

Friday, August 24, 2007

After six hours of garbage, I have an internet connection at my home

I don't wanna talk about it any further. But anyway, at the risk of turning this blog into, well, a blog, here's a clip from youtube in lieu of actual, original content. These two minutes amount to one of the most profoundly affecting influences from my formative, toddling-oriented years; thank god for YouTube, and thank god for anyone and everyone who dropped acid and worked at PBS when I was a child.

This song is glorious.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans: an original play I wrote in five or so hours, under considerable arbitrary restrictions

I mentioned this last week (http://joemathlete.blogspot.com/2007/08/guess-what.html)... I figured I've got nothing to lose save for some dignity, and this is the internet so whatever to that. Remember: the first and last lines of dialogue ( "I never meant to hurt you… really. But it felt so goddamned good" and "I figured it couldn’t be any longer than 3,000 pages… All the best books are under 3,000 pages," respectively) were preordained. And did I mention it was written in like five hours?

Anyway, here you go. Copypaste ahoy!

JOLLY JOLLY JINGLEBEANS
by Joe Mathlete

(Darkness. A woman’s voice is heard)

DERNA: I never meant to hurt you… really. But it felt so goddamned good.

(silence)

DERNA: I had my eye on you for some time, you know.

(silence)

DERNA: I know there will be repercussions. It’s a shame things had to turn out this way. I assure you my intentions were far subtler. But this was inevitable. This was meant to be.

(silence)

DERNA: Sometimes I wonder if you really can feel pain. Or if that’s just some grand, whimsical flight of fancy. Sometimes I wonder if you can feel anything at all.

(silence)

DERNA: Why won’t you speak to me? Why won’t you say anything? You’re so famously talkative around him, but when it’s me you just clam up? Is that it?

(long silence)

DERNA: I want all of you. I want to have all of you inside of me. Oh god--

TORP: Honey, I’m home!

(lights up on DERNA, seated at a table, holding a sandwich and frozen in fear)

TORP: (still offstage) Derna, have you seen my magic sandwich?

(DERNA frantically stuffs the rest of the sandwich in her mouth)

TORP: Derna?

DERNA: Hello!

(TORP walks into the kitchen)

TORP: Honey, have you seen my magic sandwich?

DERNA: (mouth still full of sandwich) Which one?

TORP: The one that talks to me and is alive. My magic sandwich.

DERNA: I don’t think so.

TORP: You didn’t… Derna, did you just eat my magic sandwich?

(silence)

TORP: Derna! I can’t believe you!

DERNA: Sorry…

TORP: Spit it out! Spit that out right now!

(DERNA complies. TORP grabs away the sandwich’s remains)

TORP: How could you?

DERNA: Torp…

TORP: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS???

DERNA: I don’t know, it just happened…

TORP: How many times, Derna?? How many times did I tell you not to do the thing that you just did??

DERNA: Seventy-nine…

TORP: (cutting her off) SEVENTY-NINE TIMES, DERNA!

DERNA: Well, but… You told me that I should eat it that one time, that it was a good idea to eat it…

TORP: That was just once! I got confused.

(Silence. DERNA wipes the corners of her mouth off with the oversized napkin tied around her neck. TORP tenderly cradles the desecrated sandwich and begins to sob)

DERNA: Well I don’t see what the big deal is anyway! It never talked to me, not even once. I never heard it say anything this whole time.

TORP: It doesn’t talk to just ANYONE, Derna! You’re not an elf.

DERNA: What? What are you talking about? You’re not an elf either.

TORP: No, but the elf I was borrowing it from gave it permission to speak to me. It only talks to elves unless given permission to do otherwise. It was… it was such a good sandwich…

DERNA: What elf? What on earth are you talking about? We don’t know any elves.

TORP: I know an elf, Derna, godDAMMIT. And he let me borrow his magic sandwich that talks and is alive and now look! Now look what you’ve done!

DERNA: Since when do you know an elf?

TORP: I met him online. He’s in my fantasy football league. SHUT UP! Oh god, this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening…

DERNA: Calm down, Torp. Jesus. Look, I’m sorry I ate your stupid magic elf sandwich, okay? I was really, really hungry for a sandwich, and I’m getting sick of Blimpie’s all the time, and I’m still banned from Quizno’s until they drop their dumbass restraining order… Look, you know how much I love sandwiches, and you know I never learned how to make one. It was just a matter of time before something gave…

TORP: You don’t get it, do you? You just don’t get it.

DERNA: Torp…

TORP: You listen to me and you listen good. That sandwich was not mine, it was on loan from an elf and I am in SERIOUS trouble when he finds out what happened to it. And you are, too.

DERNA: What the fuck, Torp, it’s just some little twerpy little elf--

TORP: Do NOT call Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans twerpy!

(JOLLY JOLLY JINGLEBEANS appears in a fantastical burst of magic)

JINGLEBEANS: Did somebody say Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans?

TORP: Oh fuck… (whispering to DERNA as he stuffs the sandwich remains in his pockets) Just stay calm.

(JOLLY JOLLY JINGLEBEANS, a merry old elf with cherry-red cheeks and a spring to his step, gleefully dances around the kitchen and sings his song)

JINGLEBEANS: Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans is here
Say my name just once and I appear
With magic shoes and fancy pants
I do my Jolly Jingledance
To make all of your troubles disappear!

TORP: Ha ha ha! Way to go, JJ! I never get tired of that one!

JINGLEBEANS: Why, if it isn’t my good friend Torp! How’ve you been, you old peach basket?

TORP: Great as ever, old buddy. Yourself?

JINGLEBEANS: Why, I’m as merry as a country meadow filled with honey blossoms! Ha ha!

(They share a hearty laugh, then sigh in unison. DERNA is somewhat aghast. JINGLEBEANS leans close to TORP, eyeing her suspiciously)

JINGLEBEANS: (whispering) Is she cool?

TORP: (whispering) She’s cool.

DERNA: Hello?

TORP: I’d like you to meet my wife, Derna. Derna, this is my good friend Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans. You know, the one I was just telling you about.

JINGLEBEANS: Hello there, Derna. Lovely to meet you.

DERNA: Hello… Mr. Jinglebeans.

JINGLEBEANS: Please, call me JJ. Mr. Jinglebeans was my father’s name.

DERNA: Ah.

(Beat. JINGLEBEANS and TORP both briefly struggle to keep straight faces, then burst into laughter).

DERNA: I don’t, um… I’m sorry, what?

JINGLEBEANS: Oh, Derna… I have no father! I was born inside of a dewdrop on the tip of a bumblebee’s nose! For you see… I am an elf!

DERNA: Oh really. You are.

JINGLEBEANS: Yes… I am! (to TORP) Is she simple or something?

TORP: Ha ha ha! Oh, don’t mind Derna, JJ… She doesn’t know much about elves, I’m afraid.

JINGLEBEANS: I see. Well, no worries, darling, I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.

DERNA: Um… Yes. Me too. (DERNA is extremely uncomfortable)

JINGLEBEANS: Well, I can only assume that you’ve said my name and summoned me here today because you’re ready to give me back my magic sandwich that talks and is alive… I’ve missed it terribly.

(beat)

TORP: Yes, the sandwich… Well, you see, JJ, the thing about your sandwich--

JINGLEBEANS: You do still have it, don’t you? I would be ever so upset if it were to go missing. I love that sandwich so very very much… Always with a kind word or a delightful tale to make even the grumpiest day shine and sparkle like the twinkling of a forest full of fireflies.

TORP: Yes, yes… Yes. Well, it’s not so much that we don’t have it, but you see, the thing about your sandwich--

JINGLEBEANS: I would be simply crestfallen if anything ever happened to that sandwich. Why, I’d probably cut out your tongue, tape your mouth shut and laugh at you while you choked to death on your own blood. Your bitch wife, too. (beat) Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

(TORP and DERNA join in his manic laughter, understandably terrified)

JINGLEBEANS: So. Where is my sandwich?

TORP: It’s, ah--

DERNA: I know where it is, Mr. Jinglebeans.

JINGLEBEANS: (turning to face her) Is that so?

DERNA: Yes… I must confess, I pulled a little prank on Torp earlier today. You see, I hid the sandwich before he got home from work, then made him think I’d eaten it by mistake. Pretty funny, huh?

JINGLEBEANS: Oh… Oh. Well… Well you’re quite the naughty little scamp, aren’t you? Torp, you didn’t tell me your wife was such a jokester!

TORP: (his terror now mixed with confusion) Ag.

DERNA: I’m sorry about all that, honey. I’ll go grab it. You two have a seat here and catch up, m’kay?

TORP: … hhhh.

JINGLEBEANS: Splendid idea, willow blossom.

(DERNA exits. TORP and JINGLEBEANS slowly sit down at the table. JINGLEBEANS is mildly suspicious; TORP is incredibly uneasy. They sit in silence for several moments)

JINGLEBEANS: I’m really excited about fantasy football this year.

TORP: Huh? Oh, yeah, yeah.

JINGLEBEANS: I bet you’re kicking yourself for drafting Michael Vick, huh?

TORP: Oh… Yeah. I don’t know the rules for what happens if one of your players is gets suspended for making dogs try to kill other dogs, but…

(DERNA enters the room with a revolver and shoots JINGLEBEANS in the chest, knocking him to the ground. She walks over to him and shoots him many, many, many, many more times)

(beat)

TORP: JESUS CHRIST WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT???

DERNA: Well, come on, Torp! We didn’t have any other options. It was either him or us!

TORP: Well what the hell are we going to do with a dead elf?? We have to get rid of the body… The police are going to… Oh god, I can’t go to prison, I’m too fragile for prison…

DERNA: Jesus, Torp, calm down… He’s an elf. The police aren’t going to do shit. He’s a mythical creature… He doesn’t have a social security number. He was born in a fucking dewdrop.

TORP: I… I guess you’re right…

DERNA: Of course I’m right. (sweetly) Look, honey, I’m sorry about all this. It was wrong of me to eat your magic sandwich that talked and was alive. I promise it’ll never happen again. And I’m finally going to teach myself how to make sandwiches. Just you wait!

TORP: Aw, Derna… You don’t have to go through all that trouble…

DERNA: Too late, baby… I wasn’t going to tell you, but I ordered the Norton’s Anthology of Sandwich Recipes and Craftsmanship Techniques on Amazon just yesterday! I’ll be making us sandwiches in no time.

TORP: Oh, Sweetie Bear… You’re too good to me.

DERNA: You deserve the best, Doo Doo Butter. (she kisses him, the sort of sanitized ‘50s suburban kiss Donna Reed would’ve given her husband (Mr. Reed?))

TORP: (putting his arm around her as they leave the kitchen) Wait, now—Did you get the Norton’s Anthology of AMERICAN Sandwich Recipes and Craftsmanship Techniques, or the Norton’s Anthology of BRITISH Sandwich Recipes and Craftsmanship Techniques?

DERNA: Oh, the American. The British edition was close to thirty-five hundred pages. I figured it couldn’t be any longer than 3,000 pages… All the best books are under 3,000 pages.

(They exit. The play is now over. The audience reacts to this somehow)