March 2008 Archives
Before today's addition to the ObscureStore
, I thought you might enjoy this link
as a follow up to my conversation with the sweet-sixteen-year-old.
I hope you enjoy this new shirt. If we wear enough I'm hopeful that we can use the energy of Che Guevera spinning in his grave as a form of alternative energy.
5 photographers needed for May 30th
Reply to: email@example.com
Date: 2008-03-28, 2:59AM EDT
I need photographers for my sweet 16 on may 30th.I am looking for
multiple photographers to add a "paparazzi" aspect to my party. I would
need you from 7pm-12am and will pay $100 for your time and a cd of the
- Location: Monmouth County
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
- Compensation: $20 per hour
Jesse Craft to alexisgab6792
I saw this ad on craigslist. I'm not actually interested in applying
to pose as a paparazzi for your super sweet 16 party. I'm guessing
that is what this is - one of those MTV style (and possibly inspired)
parties where you drive up in a limo, party with 400 of your closest
bestest friends, and then you complain about the kind of car your
parents buy for you at the end. I suppose this has become some twisted
rite of passage for privileged wealthy teens in this part of the
country. However, I have this crazy hope that someone who is hip to
the world enough to actually be able to use a computer to log onto
craigslist and make a post like this could possibly be talked down off
of their tacky, tacky ledge.
Why do you want paparazzi at your party? Do you come home from high
school and watch TMZ and envy the people who can't leave their houses
or go out to dinner without photographers shoving cameras in their
face? Should attaining celebrity be the ultimate goal for someone's
life? If you are turning 16 then you are very close to becoming an
adult - someone who will soon be a vital part of the decision making
process of this country. 2 years from now, while you are doing ice
shots in some fraternity basement at your $30,000 per year college that
your parents are paying for, others less fortunate than you will still
be mopping your floors and making your fast food and mowing your grass
and getting shot at in Iraq.
So, I'm going to pose this question to you as someone on the
precipice of adulthood: do you want your coming of age party to
represent the basest, crassest aspects of American culture? Do you
realize that people who actually do watch My Super Sweet 16 do it to
make fun of those girls and laugh at what shallow horrible people they
are becoming? If you really want to take the first steps towards
responsible adulthood, take the $500 you were going to spend on having
fake paparazzi follow you around at your party and write a check to the
American Red Cross, or Amnesty International, or the Children of Fallen
Soldiers Relief Fund. Get all your friends to give a few bucks and
turn it into a charity event for someone less fortunate than you. Or,
you know, buy yourself some paparazzi and have a me-party. It's up to
Alexis Connolly to me
I appreciate your input and just want the oppurtunity to defend myself.
I attend a private school where most of the kids are rich, spoiled, out
of control brats...however, I am not one of them. My mother is a single
mom who has given me a strict budget of $15,000 for my party. Since I
have splurged on a few aspects of my party planning, I am now tight for
cash. Therefore, I devised a plan where I wouldnt have to hire a
proffesional photographer like I had previously planned for $2,000.
Instead I am saving my mom money by hiring 5 photographers but only
spending $500. While 5 photographers may seem excessive, I will be
getting for pictures for much less and it will ensure that I will get
pictures I am happy with.
I realize that many people are
less fortunate than I am; however, my mother is a doctor who works
hard! Its not my fault that others don't have the same oppurtunities as
me; but I assure you that my family does ALOTTT to give back to the
community. For your information, I work very hard in school and recieve
excellent grades. Therefore, my mother believes that having an awesome
sweet 16 for me is well deserved. Maybe, next time, before you decide
to go and pass judgement on complete strangers you should get the whole
story! Thank You and God Bless. -Alexis
What do you think? Should I keep the conversation going?
Hello all. Jesse has been bothering me to post something on his blog. Of course, now he's going to expect me to do this all the fuckin time, but I'm not.
If I'm not writing sad/depressing/slit-your-wrists stories, I'm writing soft to hard core porn. I've decided to venture into a new realm this time: expressing my sassyness in the written word. But Suzi (or the fuckin Suze, as I've been named) aren't you sassy enough through your actions and misspoken words? you may ask. Yes. I am. But when I find a retarded article in a newspaper I actually respect, I decide to point out and mock their retardedness so they may learn their lesson and not have it happen again. I know, I know, I'm as selfless and helpful as they come. The original article that initiated this mess follows, along with the letter to the editor I actually wrote and sent to the newspaper. No response as of yet.
Some background: triCity News is the weekly alternative newspaper in the area, very similar to Metroland in Albany. They're supposed to be edgy, fresh and real on their point of view. Suzi is a cynical bitch out to set the world straight. Red Bank is the town where the cynical bitch and supposedly edgy newspaper are having the conflict about.
[Note from Jesse: I would have just had Suzi link to the original article on triCity's website but, uh, they don't put their articles on their website. So, sorry, triCity, you are the ones missing out on some Obscure-driven traffic.]
Bare Ass Red Bank: From $200,000 kitchens to $65 jeans on Broad Street
Red Bank- Still think Hip City is all about mindless high end consumerism?
we suggest you go over to Broad Street near Front and check out the
storefront window with the huge photo of a woman - apparently bare
assed - climbing on top of a man.
Yup, this is allegedly the epicenter of high end Hip City.
And you're got, well...sex smeared all over the place!
The window in question is the new location for a Marc Ecko clothing store, which will feature the "Cut and Sew" men's line.
Cut and sew?
Man, they should have cut and sown something
over that chick's rear end! We've taken a good look at that photo, and
we don't see no thong, or anything else, covering her crack.
It's completely hilarious. My God, this is Red Bank!
"It's a big controversy among my customers," said one manager of a
Board Street business who was clearly amused by the whole thing.
"I mean, the woman's ass is showing! And there's kids walking around here."
Then again, some of the vacant retail spaces on Broad Street don't look so good either.
does look better than the old lighting store that's vacant across the
street on the corner where you can see sleeping bags on the floor,"
said the same person with a hearty laugh.
Just goes to show you: You never know what life - or Hip City - will bring.
we are, warning about the danger of conformity in Red Bank from large
national retail chains - and the first thing this one does is put a
huge photo of a semi-naked, ranfy chick in its window.
Of course, now that this story has hit the front page of triCity, it will be the talk of Red Bank and eastern Monmouth County.
before everyone gets their hearts racing over Red Bank's own version of
public soft-core porn, let's all take a moment to understand the real
It's not the bare ass on Broad Street.
It's that a high
profile space which had been vacant for well over a year is about to
undergo a huge transformation in tenants: From the stuffy Clive
Christian offering $200,000 kitchens to Marc Ecko selling $65 men's
That's pretty remarkable. And while we just can't get ourselves to
say a national chain retailer is a good things, Ecko will certainly
help bust Hip City's bum rap as only about high end shopping.
to the Ecko website, the Cut and Sew line's clothing is pretty much all
under $100, with blazers between $100-200. And the Red Bank store,
which will open this summer, will be all menswear. There's certainly
nothing like that up in Hip City.
We've been writing much about where Red Bank is heading - and we
like the direction. We envision a bright future for the place as a
center for arts and culture in the mid-Atlantic states region.
Can't say that a Marc Ecko store advances that goal. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't.
But it's sure better than Clive Christian Kitchens!
difference is funny: Clive Christian obviously was going after the myth
of wealthy Two Rivers blue-bloods in the Rumson area spending huge sums
of inherited wealth.
As anyone knows who has tried to tap into that market, it doesn't
exist. There simply aren't that many blue-bloods left - and those
stills alive certainly don't spend extravagantly.
Clive Christian learned that. They're gone.
But now Marc Ecko is taking that same high profile spot in the most
high profile section of Red Bank - and going after men to buy $65 jeans.
we're still not quite sure what that means. Although it does one thing
that many say is needed in Red Bank - the selling of more affordable
items that people can actually buy.
Of course, we've long argued that's a myth about Hip City. Just
because some obnoxious rich people drive through with their Hummers on
a Saturday night doesn't mean this is Rodeo Drive. Even on Broad
Street, you've got place like Funk & Standard; Backward Glances and
New York Trends that aren't expensive at all. Hell, even CoCo Pari has
a sale basement.
Monmouth Street and other sections of town are pretty much all
affordable stuff. Hell, go visit Vinny at Red Bank Surplus on Wallace
Street about 100 feet off Broad and he'll sell you a military issue hat
for five bucks.
So what is a Dux bed is a ridiculous amount of money? Who cares? That
doesn't define Red Bank - and this high end bad rap is something we're
determined to combat.
there are more creative and artistic people and businesses clustered up
in Hip City than in any other place in our region. That's what defines
Red Bank to us.
You can find them al over Monmouth Street, and there's a
surprisingly large number on Broad Street. Meanwhile, their numbers are
rising on the West side.
We profile them all the time, in an
effort to correct the misimpression of Hip City as another Short Hills
Mall without the roof.
In the meantime, who would have though a huge photo of a semi-naked
woman in a window on Broad Street, along with $65 jeans from Marc Ecko,
would help make our case!
I would have addressed this to the writer of the
article, "Bare Ass Red Bank," but I could not find a name. (Also, after
reading the piece I would have suggested a title change to either: "How
many times can I write Hip City in a 900 Word Article" or "My Hate for Clive Christian and his #uckin Kitchens."
Of course, I don't blame the author. I would also be embarrassed to
have my name associated with that piece. Whether it was an unfunny
exercise in sarcasm or an honest to god opinion, perhaps someone should
have read it before publishing the story.
To start with: Sex sells and it commands attention. I just stated
the obvious. (Sort of what the article did, but just in a more concise
way.) This fact makes Marc Ecko a smart retailer and triCity a smart
newspaper. (Hell, putting that image by the article was the only thing
you guys did right with this two page fiasco.) Of course, if you're
looking for a more tantalizing spectacle in town, just wait outside of
Red Bank Catholic before school starts or when it ends. Let's just say,
I've seen longer skirts on Elliot Spitzer's hookers dressing the part
of a catholic school girl. I wouldn't exactly worry about the "kids
walking around here" getting any wrong ideas. They had Marc Ecko beaten
to the punch.
"Still think Hip City is all about mindless high
end consumerism?" An emphatic YES! Red Bank (or "Hip City" as it was
written 8 times in the article) is exactly about mindless high end
consumerism. Was the writer posing that question as the start of a joke
and forgot to include the punch line? I'm actually surprised that there
aren't checkpoints on the town border where credit card limits and the
size of your Hummer are measured. "You Must be this Rich and Drive a
Foreign Car (or a ridiculously over-sized American SUV) to Enter."
Can't you just smell the pretentiousness from miles away? Get a
whiff of those over-priced blood diamonds from Tiffany's. And the aroma
of the luxury apartment buildings popping up around town (because we
need more of those as much as we need more hair salons and over-priced
restaurants). Red Bank is the only town I've ever lived in where
there's literally a "wrong side of the tracks." (And that's good for me
because that's the only place left in Red Bank with affordable housing.
And besides, where else would the Hipsters of Hip City get their grass cutters, food waiters, window washers, house painters and other cheap labor from?)
The rotating door that this city has on retail business should have
your newspaper questioning Red Bank's absurd rent on property or
perhaps analyzing the city's population in relation to successful
businesses. The 3 stores mentioned as affordable in "Bare Ass" (Funk
& Standard, Backward Glances and New York Trends) target the 13 to
20 age group. Other than 7 Eleven and Dunkin Donuts off of Front
Street, there are no other places where this age group is even welcomed
now that the Internet Café bit the bullet. Not welcomed, that is,
unless mummy or daddy is accompanying them with Mr. Platinum Card.
So, mystery author and/or editor, whenever you manage to pry your lips of Hip City's enormous cock (or perhaps it's in your bare ass) please continue to put out the great publication of what is triCity News.
Oh, and yeah, Hip City, Hip City and Hip City. (That should complete the count.)
Found these tonight at Asbury Lanes.
This is 20 minutes from my apartment. Anyone interested?
For previous The Wire cast updates, search by tag: the wire.David Costabile
Played Thomas Klebanow, prize-grubbing managing editor of the Baltimore Sun.
Last seen in: commercial for Holiday Inn Express and their new hot breakfast bar.
Well, I know I said that I was going to give everyone a downgrade for their first gig after The Wire, but this is a downgrade from pretty much anything except for Step Up 2 The Streets (...why Kima...why...)
Not even a speaking part in this commercial?
In an interesting sidenote, I always thought I'd seen this actor somewhere before while watching The Wire, but I wasn't able to identify him until last night, as I fell asleep, I had my eureka moment - he was the creepy bearded dude in Damages!
Oh, right. Nobody watched that show either. Goddammit.
Bonus cast update: There are unconfirmed reports of Isaah Whitlock, Jr. in an ad as part of Dunkin' Donuts' new campaign for their oven toasted products. It looks like him, but he doesn't really say anything, so I can't be sure. Yes, all black people look alike to me. Happy?
[Scene: A windy night, driving home from tango class. We stop at a light, and the traffic light poles are swaying violently back and forth.]
Suzi: Wow...I don't think they are supposed to move that much.
Me: Actually, they are designed to give. If they didn't they'd be much more likely to fracture or collapse.
Me: Yeah, tall buildings are the same way. In an earthquake or a hurricane, the buildings are designed to sway back and forth without falling down.
Suzi: [surprised] Huh.
Me: Yeah. My high school physics teacher told me that the World Trade Center used to sway back and forth several feet because of the sun. In the morning, the sun would heat up the east side of the building and the metal would expand on that side, and the building would lean like this [hand motions indicating leaning to one side], and then in the afternoon, the other side would heat up, and it would lean the other way.
[A few seconds go by]
Suzi: Yeah...I guess they couldn't design for those planes, though.
Some trends to watch from round 1 as we prepare for round 2:
3 ways to tell that you are a girl:
1) You have a vagina.
2) The team you select as the champion in your NCAA bracket is eliminated by the end of the first weekend.
Actually there are only 2 ways.
If you want to ensure that you will perform poorly in your bracket, write a 1000-word mock-scientific paper documenting your selection process for your blog or publication.
And now, I would like to hand out some first round awards.
The "Kiss of Death" Award is given to Rose to commemorate all 4 of her Final 4 teams being eliminated by the end of the first weekend.
The "It Was A Good Run" Award is given to Darrell, whose run to the top by the end of the first weekend is doomed to failure due to his selection of the Memphis Paper Tigers as his national champ.
And, finally, the "Chalktastic" Award is given to Greg for putting all four number one seeds in his final four. This award will retroactively turn into a "Sit On It and Rotate" award delivered to myself if this actually comes true.
The best album covers convey the emotion and tone of the album. Clearly, Clay Aiken's new album is about sadness and confusion. But what is it that Clay is so sad and confused about?
- He's not a girl, not yet a woman.
- He just lost his best pair of earrings.
- His date with Ellen DeGeneres went horribly.
- He's bummed about that time Legolas beat him out for a place in the Fellowship.
- He wanted to name his album "On My Way To Sexual Ambiguity" but he had to settle for a picture of sexual ambiguity.
- Ha ha he looks like a lesbo.
Man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. society, man vs. himself. The classic struggles of literature as laid down by the Greeks. And now, Suzi vs. Suzi.
And, believe me, I learned the hard way: you do not want to get in the middle of a Suzi fight.
Finally, order was restored, and the truce was celebrated.
ObscureWear is already the coolest gear for the summer
. Now, we are adding some clothes to our line for the discerning gentleman.
Oh, wait, there's an actual store? This isn't all hypothetical? That's right boys and girls, your one-stop shop for summer is now open here
Personally, I can't wait for my next trip to Dunkin' Donuts wearing this.
I hate Easter. Everything is closed, there's no fun presents or lights, its just another reminder of why I'm going to hell, and the candy sucks. At least, I thought it sucked, until I found out about this contest
. Now, its too late for me to enter this year, but there's no reason I can't start working on next year's entries. Here are some ideas.
Aqua Peep Hunger Force
(from left to right: Peeplock, Master Peep, and Peepwad)Lord of the Peeps
[Scene: At my desk, 2:30 in the afternoon. My cell phone rings.]
[Over the phone] Suzi: Hi, it's me, I have a question.
Suzi: Was Helen Keller blind and deaf?
Me: Yes...where are you?
Suzi: I'm walking home, and I was just thinking to myself, Helen Keller wasn't blind and deaf, was she?
Me: She was.
Suzi: Wow...if I was blind and deaf, I'd want someone to kill me. Okay, see you later!
["Dear Prudence" is published every Thursday on Slate.com. For the original column, click here.]Dear
Since last Halloween, I've been wondering about my husband. We dressed him up as a bride, and he made quite an attractive woman for our age (60)--almost no one recognized him. I had the lady at my salon do his nails, hair (wig), and makeup. He is a jokester and doesn't take life seriously, and we had a ton of fun. My girlfriends and I talked him into staying in character all weekend as a woman and had a barbecue on Sunday with a group of our friends. Since then, my girlfriends love having "her" accompany us during our outings, lunch, and golf. He seems to be enjoying it more and more and is always interested in the next get-together. He sees it as a harmless prank and a challenge to pull off. He is not effeminate in any way when not in character and never has been. His male friends tease him but also think it is a riot.
--Should I Worry?
What are you worried about? That your husband enjoys cross-dressing? Let me ease your worries - he does. But so what? That doesn't make him gay, which I think is what you are REALLY worried about - "oh, my husband is wearing a dress, now I guess he wants it up the pooper." Well let me put you at ease. Your husband is 60; either he doesn't want it up the pooper, or he's been getting it up the pooper on the side for the last 40 years. Feel better?Dear
My wife and I have been married for more than a decade and have two young children. Recently, I have suggested ideas aimed at spicing up our sex life. These are not wild suggestions, and they involve just us. (For example, I have seen couples on TV have sex with the woman sitting on a running washing machine. Like I said, nothing overly wild.) My wife always responds that she's not interested. However, it's the reason she gives that gets to me. "I did it with someone else before I met you. It wasn't that great." I have an issue with the fact that she was willing to do these things with another man and is unwilling to do them with her husband. I have expressed why this hurts. Her response is to laugh it off and say something like, "You had your chance before you met me. You should have done it then." I'm not complaining about the number of times we have sex. It's just that I am having difficulty dealing with her unwillingness to do with me things she did with other men. What should I do?
--Wanting More Spice Than Just Salt
First of all, can somebody explain this signoff to me? I don't get it. Anyway: this has to be the one of the most common questions I see sent to advice columns. Typical format: "my spouse won't have sex as often as I want/tie me up/peg me/etc. What can I do about it?" Uh, I don't know. Do you want me to come over to your house and hold your wife on the washing machine for you? Talk to her about it, and if she won't, then go to counseling, and if that doesn't help or she won't go, then I think we both know what your choices are from there.Dear
My parents are divorced, and my father remarried several years ago. Every time we visit with them, my father's wife comments that she'd like to have my two young sons visit on their own during the summer, which gets the boys excited about the idea. Although I'd like nothing more than to have some quiet, alone time with my husband, I have some issues. For one, both of them use marijuana daily. I need advice on how to tell them that this invitation, however appreciated, will not come to fruition, and it's not OK for them to invite the boys directly or, for that matter, even mention it when they are within earshot. We do love them, illegal habits aside. So how do I say no without pushing them away?
--Avoiding the Issue
Let's assume that (a) your father is not going to be smoking the grandkids up, and (b) your kids aren't already using marijuana. I fail to see what the problem is here, other than the stick up your ass. If you insist on keeping it there, then you need to lay your cards out on the table and tell them the grandkids stay home unless they kick the pot. But really, let them go and enjoy some quality time henpecking your husband.Dear
I spend a good amount of money on things (clothes, books, toys) for my niece and nephew. My intention was that they use them until they grow out of them, and then I would get them back for my future kids. Every time I give new items, I politely remind my sister-in-law that I would "please like this back." Since my niece was born three years ago, I have been given only one item back. I have since discovered that she sells most of the things her kids outgrow. I understand they need to sell them to afford new clothes, but I am not made of money, either. How do I remind her that I want things returned, other than writing "Aunty wants this" on each piece?
--Not Made of Money
The next gift somebody buys you should be a dictionary with the word "gift" circled. If you can't afford to give things to your niece and nephew, then put the money back in your wallet. Honestly, where do people get their ideas from sometimes?
With apologies to argentine tango, it is softball season. This year its the M&M Softball League in Central NJ.
When I first started playing softball, it was in a co-ed arc league for a team called the Aggies. The league was the New York State Employees League, and the Aggies were one of the teams fielded by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets - yes, the NYSDAM had two teams; the other one was called the Farm Team. More puns!
For anyone wondering, the best team in the league was fielded by the New York Thruway Authority - go figure.
This a league for former high-school jocks who couldn't cut it at the
college level. Maybe in a year or so I'll graduate to the Perth Amboy
league, with legit former athletes (some guys in that league played
minor league ball). In my old league, the elderly woman who played short field once got hit right in the face with a pop fly she failed to catch, and we had to call an ambulance and the fire department. So this is a step up.
As you know, the NCAA Selection Committee uses highly scientific methods to distill each team down to a numerical "seed". This seed can be applied to any number of highly accurate prediction methodologies practiced by bracketologists for ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and the Harvard School for Applied Bracketology. We will start by illustrating the predictive power of a simple first-order approximation. More advanced lessons in advanced factoring, numerical integration, and complex numbers will be in future chapters.
Probabilities reflect the uncertainty of future outcomes. The classic example is a heads or tails coin flip. Probability theory dictates that the chances of a heads or tails flip are equal; i.e., 50%. In a first-order bracketological solution to the NCAA tournament, the seeding is used to apply probabilities to given outcomes. There are different theories on how to convert seed matchups into outcome probabilities. What I present here is a solution that attempts to take into account historical results as well as maximizing predictive capabilities of the model.
The most controversial aspect of the Craft Bracketological Solution, or CBS, is the result of the 1 vs. 16 seed matchup. Historical evidence indicates that 92 out of 92 1 seeds have defeated their 16th seeded counterparts. However, it is clear to even first-year bracketology studies majors that, given enough time, a 1 seed will lose their opening round game. However, because the CBS is based on historical evidence, it places the odds of a 1 seed losing to a 16th seed at 0%.
Here, then, is the formula used for determining the probabilities of each matchup:
y = 0.5 - (1/30)*x where y is the probability of victory for the lower ranked team and x value of the difference between the seeds.
For example, equal seeded teams facing each other (1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2) will each have a 50% probability of victory. A 1 vs. 16 matchup will result in a 100% chance of victory for the top seed. Now, I will apply this formula to the bracket for March Madness 2008. The next 3 weeks of games will help determine the efficacy of the CBS. What follows is my commentary as I fill out my bracket. I will use a random number generator to resolve the probabilities into predicted winners.
George Mason, the Cinderella Final Four team from two years ago, makes another run to the Sweet 16 before being wiped out by North Carolina.
A #1 vs. #2 matchup for a spot in the Final Four between North Carolina and Tennessee ends with North Carolina headed for San Antonio. I double-check the randomizing circuits on my random number generator before continuing.
Albany hometown favorite Siena comes through with an upset in its first round game, but doesn't make it to the second weekend.
Kansas St. makes a Sweet 16 run behind presumptive first overall NBA pick Michael Beasley.
In another #1 vs. #2 matchup, Georgetown upsets Kansas for the Final Four ticket.
Hilariously named Oral Roberts falls to Temple in the second round, but the clock strikes for Temple against a team I like to call the Memphis Paper Tigers.
In yet another goddamn 1 vs. 2 matchup, the Memphis Paper Tigers claw their way past the Texas Longhorns.
Duke haters everywhere rejoice as they fall to 15 seed Belmont in their first-round matchup.
Our first 1 vs. 3 matchup for a final four spot ends predictably, with UCLA going to the final four. (Since UCLA would actually be my pick based on, you know, basketball, to win it all, if they had not made it I would have thrown this manuscript against the wall in a fit.)
Georgetowns "Cinderalla" run to the finals ends at the hands of North Carolina.
The Memphis Paper Tigers finally show their true stripes (more tiger puns!) against UCLA, who advances to the finals.
UCLA over North Carolina for the championship.
(Okay, so the bridge term of the week doesn't actually come out every single week. I've got a job, k?)
Rueful Rabbit (noun): a bridge player whose worry-filled and mistake-plagued play is nonetheless successful through incredible good luck at the table
Origin: The Rueful Rabbit is a character in series of bridge books by Victor Mollo called "Bridge in the Menagerie". Mollo is considered the most entertaining and influential writer on the subject of contract bridge - now there's something to put on your tombstone. The books describe bridge games played at "The Griffin Club" among a group of characters who are all named after the animal that best characterizes their personalities and styles at the bridge table.
The Rueful Rabbit was a timid player who didn't understand the game, but succeeded entirely through blind luck. Even when he dropped cards on the table because his hands were shaking so badly, the cards would end up being the correct one to play. Some other characters in this game were:
Secretary Bird - the player who enforces every rule to the letter, always to his own detriment
Hideous Hog - the best player, he also likes to humiliate lesser players
Papa the Greek - a good but vain player, who considers himself better than the Hog despite always losing to him
Sassy Suzi - a decent player whose trash talking far outstrips her ability
Wait, that last one is a character in my upcoming book on bridge.
Well, I can only assume, since she just ripped me off
Now, sure, you can make the argument that it is unlikely that anyone has ripped me off, because nobody reads this blog. And, sure, you could say that I just imitated the typical style of that blog and touched upon a subject that was ripe for the picking. And yes, she probably made jokes that were at least as good, if not better, than mine.
On the other hand - to hell with that! Here I am, linking to their website, and their blog, and they can't even give me a shout-out when they copy my work?! My post went up a week before that one, I had my territory staked out, and I demand satisfaction. I will be writing the AV Club nasty e-mails until this matter is resolved. Stay tuned.
At the premiere screening of "Horton Hears a Who" last Saturday in
Hollywood, activists infiltrated the screening
and began shouting at
the screen. What was all the hub-bub about? It
was Horton's motto:
"A person's a person, no matter how small."
Turns out that pro-life advocates have latched onto this line of dialogue (which is also in the book), and are using the movie as a platform to collect signatures and otherwise campaign for pro-life legislation. For his part, Dr. Seuss was adamant that his work not be used for political purposes. But, honestly, can you really argue that an elephant that spent a whole book sitting on an egg
didn't have some sort of pro-life agenda?
Well, I guess Horton has a point. We're going to need all those kids for something...
Surrounded by nerds? I know the feeling. And I bet you are tired of not understanding what they are talking about. Fret no more, cool people of the world! Now you'll understand what the computer scientist, IT professional, or physicist in your life is talking about.
What? No, engineers are not nerds. We are very cool people. Yeah? Well, how about you make like Obi-Wan and disappear. Would a nerd say that?
Shit.Transparent aluminum (slang)
- a seemingly impossible technological advancement required for the completion of a project
Background: Like most things in the nerd universe, this slang term originates with Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek IV: The Journey Home. That's the one with the space whales and the nuclear wessels. Scotty, the infinitely competent ship's engineer, convinces a modern-day contractor to build him a giant whale tank in exchange for the formula to "transparent aluminum".
James Doohan as Scotty. James Doohan is awesome. Don't take your nerd-hate out on him.
(By the way, have you ever considered what you would teach the people of the past in exchange for goods and services? I would teach them about either the internal combustion engine, or sarcasm.)
Nerd #1: How are we ever going to make this work?
Nerd #2: Yeah, this is going to need some transparent aluminum.
The two nerds snort-laugh and attempt to high-five each other, but awkwardly miss. Then nerd #1 falls down a flight of stairs.
Well, now that The Wire has ended, its time to watch something else. Oh, hey, what's this? South Park started last night? Oooh yes. But, hey, is South Park still good, you are asking? Yes it is. Are you sure?
Not only am I sure, I am HIV positive.
[Scene: In the car, on Rte. 35. It is dusk, and the Suze and I are going to dinner. She has just finished a conversation on her cell phone.]
Me: Who was that?
Suzi: Oh, that was my mother. She finally figured out how to get around my website.
Me: What did she think?
Suzi: She really liked it, although she had some comments about my resume.
Me: She was able to read your resume? [Suzi's mother was born in Brazil and still struggles with English]
Suzi: Yeah, I guess so. She laughed when she read the part about how I'm fluent in Portuguese and Spanish. [Suzi is often derided by other members of her family for not speaking Portuguese as well as they do.]
[beat] Me: How do you say fluent in Portuguese?
Suzi: I have no idea.
For previous The Wire cast updates, search by tag: the wire.Michael Kostroff
Played Maurice 'Maury' Levy, drug lawyer extraordinaire and big fat Jew (it's okay, I can say that, I'm Jewish)
Last seen in: commercial for Arby's as "Man Who Just Went To Arby's"
First Isaah Whitlock, Jr. pimping Southwest Airlines, and now esteemed Jew lawyer Maury Levy is reduced to suffering the whistling and catcalls of construction workers in an Arby's commercial? And they aren't even into him for his boyish charm or ample bossom, they just want his goddamn roast beef sandwich! Don't disappoint me like this again, Kostroff.
Bonus fact: Michael Kostroff is NOT Jon Lovitz.
(Kostroff is the one on the right if you are stumped. I don't blame you. Its un-freaking-canny.)
The Catholic Church has an announcement to make: there are seven new deadly sins!
Apparently the Vatican is just like a movie studio: they love franchises!
So how is Kevin Spacey's son going to exact revenge on Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman by repeating his father's crime spree, only with the NEW deadly sins?Obscene wealth
Kidnap Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and have them beaten to death by 100 hobos.Pollution
An SUV owner's car is rigged to explode unless he can average 20 MPG on a single tank of gas.
In an unexpected twist, a chronic drug user is found dead from an apparent drug underdose. Take that, expectations!
A Klu Klux Klan member is forced to watch Little Man until he bleeds to death from his eyeballs.Genetic manipulation
A single man is forced to masturbate to death.
Oh, wait, that says genetic manipulation, not genital manipulation. Let me get back to you on this one.Abortion
Uh, I don't know, maybe he goes back in time and tries to give Brad Pitt's mom an abortion, so he would never be born? Yeah. Also he's a robot.
I'm going to have to get back to you on this one, too. I've been paralyzed by the irony of the Catholic Church declaring this a deadly sin.
I'm going to need to come up with a new "watch" recommendation.
After 5 seasons and 60 episodes, HBO's The Wire ends tonight. There is enough ink being spent on praising the program, so you'll find none here besides this: no matter what happens or how long I live, The Wire will always be one of my 5 favorite television shows of all-time. There's no way that 5 better shows could or will ever be made in my lifetime.
Instead, it's time for moving on. Not only for us viewers, but for the actors. Because The Wire is made in Baltimore, instead of New York or LA, it has never gotten the industry recognition that it deserves (the terrible ratings don't help, either). So, how will the incredible cast of the show bounce back in the next phases of their career? Whenever I see a cast member pop up in some other work, I will pass judgment on whether the career move is a positive or a negative. Of course, the first job after The Wire is always going to get a down arrow, but we'll see where it goes from there. The list so far:Lance Reddick
Played Cedric Daniels, the original commander of the Major Crimes Unit who moved up to Deputy Commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department
Last seen in: Lost, playing mysterious bad guy (?) Matthew Abbaddon
This was the only role that was tempting to rule a "lateral" move. After all, Lost is another show currently on the air that has a chance to be an all-time classic, depending on how it ends. But its still no Wire. In an unrelated note: Lance Reddick: blackest man on earth?Sonja Sohn
Played Detective Shakima "Kima" Greggs, member of the Major Crimes Unit and total lesbo.
Last seen in: Step Up 2 The Streets, playing Sarah, foster mom to some dancing white girl
Oh, Kima...why? I understand not everything is going to be The Wire, but you go from a show heralded far and wide as the most realistic portrayal of the problems facing urban America to...a movie about a white girl showing up black people at their own street dancing competition? Oh, how I wish you'd followed through on your threat to send her to Texas and ended the movie at the 10 minute mark. This gets extra down arrows.
Played Bubbles, homeless drug addict and sometimes confidential informant to the Major Crimes unit.
Last seen in: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, playing a resistance fighter...FROM THE FUTURE!
This show isn't terrible. It's okay. It's also probably not going to be back next fall. Oh well, keep plugging away, Andre. Isaah Whitlock, Jr.
Played State Senator Clay Davis, Baltimore's most awesomest corrupt politician
Last seen in: Commercial for Southwest Airlines
Sheeeeeeeeit. Commercials? Where is my Clay Davis spin-off show? How about a spin-off with you and Detective Freamon as roommates? Check this out: Det. Freamon has finally gotten you successfully prosecuted for corruption, but instead of prison, Judge Dennis Miller sentences you to live with Detective Freamon for a year? Uh-oh, awkward! Come on, HBO, what else you got going?
Before we begin tonight's list, I would like to address some comments
made about the previous List of the Obscure. In my first issue, I may
not have reached quite as deep into the realm of the Obscure as one
would expect based on the name. Or, as our good friend Greg King put
Wow, so Deep Impact and Armageddon had some things in
common? Is the next list going to be the ways that black people are
different from white people?
Fine, point taken. Maybe not
everything I write about will be so obscure. In that light, I'd like
to propose a new slogan for this feature.
List of the Obscure: I'll write about whatever the fuck I want (TM).
(I'm just kidding Greg, you know I wuv you.)
1. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Sean Bean is a walking spoiler alert. At some point in his career, casting director's must have decided that he gave a really great death scene, because everytime I see him in a movie, he ends up dying. More often then not, he dies in a really spectacular way. Let's start with his biggest hit, Fellowship of the Ring.
Bean is Boromir, the conflicted wannabe hero who succumbs to the lure of the ring. Blah blah blah, everybody saw this one, I don't need to tell you about his death. Three giant arrows to the chest, shot by a giant monster. And this was one of the tamer deaths on this list.
2. Patriot Games (1992)
One of the reasons that Bean keeps ending up on the wrong end of a horrible death is that he plays the bad guy really well. This time he is Sean Miller, an IRA terrorist who is sent to prison based on testimony from former CIA operative Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford). Sean Miller/Bean learns the same thing that Darth Vader, Nazis, and Calista Flockhart have all learned: when you engage Harrison Ford in hand-to-hand combat on a speedboat, you end up impaled on an anchor.
3. Equilibrium (2002)
Uh, he gets shot or something. I didn't actually see this. Did anyone see this? What the hell is this movie? Why did Sean Bean agree to be in a cheap looking Matrix knockoff? British actors will be in anything. Jesus, look at this poster.
Let's just move on.
4. The Hitcher
Shotgun to the face! That'll teach him to hitchhike. I didn't see this either.
5. Goldeneye (1995)
Aah, Goldeneye - the only movie to have its reputation improved by being adapted into a video game. However, the movie had something that the video game could only dream of: an awesome death scene for Sean Bean! This one is my second favorite on this list. The favorite? Well, you'll just have to keep reading.
Losing a fist fight 200 feet above the ground never ends well, but I don't think it could end much worse than this. We're going to have to go second person on this one. Your an ex-00 agent. First, Pierce Brosnan foils your plan to take over London by hitting it with an EMP. Then, he kicks you off the top of the dish, and you fall 200 feet to the bottom. Are you dead? Well, maybe you are dead, and maybe I am dead, but Sean Bean is a former 00-agent. He is about to get up and roll out of there. But THEN, fucking Pierce fucking Brosnan has to go and blow up your satellite dish, so that the whole works comes crashing down on top of you while he flies off in a helicopter with some hot Russian chick. Pierce Brosnan is a dick sometimes.
6. Don't Say A Word (2001)
This movie sucked, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. The Suze made me watch this Michael Douglas/Sean Bean/Brittany Murphy crapfest, because it had the girl in the commercial saying, "I'll never tell..." and she was all spooky about it. Sean Bean takes Michael Douglas' family hostage, threatening to kill them unless he can get crazy ole Brittany Murphy to tell him where a hidden fortune is, uh, hidden.
Turns out it was hidden in a grave. So Sean Bean goes and digs it up, but somebody should have told him, "Hey, Sean Bean, you die a horrible death in all your movies, are you sure you want to go digging up graves?" Nobody did, and that's why the grave collapses, burying Sean Bean alive. To death.
So why does this masterpiece hold a special place? Because this was the movie where I realized, "Hey, that's the Lord of the Rings guy! And he was in Goldeneye too! Does he die in every movie he's in?!"
7. The Island (2005)
And The Island was the movie that confirmed it: yes, he does. This was also my favorite Sean Bean death scene.
Too bad its trapped in another terrible movie. The problems here are too many to count, so we'll just stick to the big one: why is Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewarn McGregor), a clone from an organ farm, able to turn into a super-spy in order to take down the organ farm? He was stupid enough to think the organ farm was a utopian society, but smart enough to infiltrate the organ farm and take it down? Organ farm! ORGAN FARM!!
Sean Bean is the evil mastermind behind the ...organ farm... and he tries to stop Abraham Eight-Bravo, or whatever, from taking it down. And what does he get for his trouble? The same thing every scientist who messes with God's creations should get. Spear gun to the neck! Yeah! And then he falls off the walkway they are fighting on (did I mention that? there's a walkway) and Washington Twelve-Zulu falls off the walkway, but he holds onto the spear gun, and Sean Bean is dangling from the spear in his neck, so Obama Seven-Hotel can climb back up, and escape with Scarlett Johanssen, and get on a boat and sail to an island. The end.
Got an idea for List of the Obscure? Let me know about it.
The Suze wants to know: "Why is Newark, New Jersey called the Renaissance City?"
Don't we all, the Suze.
Renaissance is a fancy-pantsed way of saying revival. So, Newark is the Revival City. Let's start by considering what Newark is reviving from.
Well, here's something: for 6 days in July of 1967, riots ripped through the city, leaving 26 people dead, 725 injured, and causing millions of dollars in property damage.
Newark was not alone in the summer of '67. The Newark riots were joined in July of '67 by civil unrest in Plainfield, NJ; Memphis, Tennessee; Durham, North Carolina; Cairo, Illinois; Cambridge, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Boy, it was must have been tits-hot in 1967.
Of course, LA burned for a month in the early 90s, and it seems to be doing just fine these days. So, it wasn't just the riots. In the early part of the century, Newark had a huge manufacturing base -Newark was once the "patent leather capital of the world". Iron, plastics, and all sorts of industrial goods were made there. Westinghouse and Edison both had operations there. So what happened?
Well, good news for you, the Suze: you can blame whitey. As urban centers grew through the 20th century, upper and middle class whites began moving out in a phenomenon historians call "white flight." No, I'm not making it up. Look it up, the Suze - just click here
. Okay? It's real. Let's move on.
White flight resulted in a collapse of Newark's industrial base, which in turn left a poor population and an extremely high crime rate. This same pattern was seen in many former industrial cities; in addition to Newark, the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Cleveland all lost over half their white population at one point. It is not exaggeration to say that Newark was at one point, the worst city in America.
So, we've covered why Newark went in the toilet, but Renaissance also means that it is coming back. Where's the evidence of this?
Well... they built the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 1997. And, uh, there's a baseball stadium. And some light rail. Whatever, Newark is still a shithole. But, hey, they went 47 days without a murder to begin this year. So let's all give Newark a clap on the back for that.
It has come to my attention that, occasionally, ObscureCraft.Net isn't enough, and people like to read other websites. Well, I figure, if I am not going to be the sole provider of your internet consumption, I can at least show you some content that I wish had been mine in the first place.
First and most importantly, the new suzidesigns.com
: great website, or the greatest website?
Larry David fears that the rigors of campaigning might be too much for Hillary
. Either that, or his recent marital problems have left him bitter and resentful towards women.
Lets take a break from bemoaning the impending end of "The Wire" (...bemoan...) this Sunday to hear the writing staff's plans for a War on the War on Drugs
. Oh David Simon, what doesn't make you furious?
And finally, what do you get the Mac enthusiast that has it all? Its a trick question! Because that Mac enthusiast doesn't have it all until he or she has one of these:
Nobody Puts ObscureCraft.Net In A Corner
ObscureCraft.net broke the news yesterday that Patrick Swayze has been
diagnosed with cancer. Everyone here at Obscure Headquarters is a big
fan of his work, and we'd hoped to sit down with the actor for an
interview to see how he was doing in the wake of his diagnosis. While
Mr. Swayze declined our request for an interview, we were able to sit
down with three of his characters from his late 80's - early 90's
heyday. Here is a transcript from our interview with James Dalton,
Bodhi, and Johnny Castle.
ObscureCraft: So tell us, how have you been doing since your diagnosis?
James Dalton: Pain don't hurt.
OC: Well, I'm glad to see that you are taking the news in stride.
Bodhi: Life sure has a sick sense of humor, doesn't it?
OC: What do you mean? Do you feel this illness has struck you at an especially inopportune time in your life?
Castle: You don't understand the way it is, I mean for somebody like
me. Last month I'm eating Jujubes to keep alive, and this month women
are stuffing diamonds in my pocket, I'm bouncing on shit and quick as
that (J. Castle snaps his fingers) I could be down there again.
OC: Obviously, your career isn't what it was in the early 90s, but I didn't realize things had gotten quite that bad.
J. Dalton: I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice.
OC: Listen, I'm not trying to be hostile here. I was genuinely concerned for your health and wanted to...
J. Castle: Just put your pickle on everbody's plate college boy and leave the hard stuff to me.
I think we got off on the wrong foot here. I am curious about something. You've been known for
playing characters that are laid back, some would say even meditative.
Has this helped you cope in these difficult times?
J. Dalton: All you have to do is follow three simple rules: One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected.
OC: Clearly that would be helpful advice in a time like this...
J. Dalton: Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless its absolutely necessary.
OC: Alright, I'm not sure I exactly understand where you are going with this...
J. Dalton: And three, be nice.
OC: I thought I was being nice, lets try to keep this civil...
Dalton: If somebody gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I
want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won't walk, walk
him. But be nice. If you can't walk him, one of the others will help
you, and you'll both be nice. I want you to remember that it's a job.
It's nothing personal.
OC: That's true, I see where you are coming from. Lets move on to...
Jed: You want the ultimate, you've got to pay the ultimate price.
OC: Hey, who invited Jed from Red Dawn? I'm sorry, you are going to have to leave, you and your retarded movie are not welcome here.
J. Castle: Nobody puts baby in a corner!!!
OC: Listen, this is my interview, and Jed is going to have to wait outside.
Johnny Castle, you calm down. Bodhi, you famously surfed to death in the closing scene of Point
Break. How has that experience prepared you for this?
Bodhi: Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.
OC: Is that how you get the courage to fight this illness?
J. Dalton: Nobody ever wins a fight.
OC: Well, if not a fight, then maybe its more like a dance? Johnny Castle, what do you think?
Castle: I'm gonna do my kind of dancin' with a great partner, who's not
only a terrific dancer; somebody who's taught me that there are people
willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them;
somebody who's taught me about the kind of person I wanna be.
OC: Dance training has prepared you for everything in life, even cancer?
Castle: Look, spaghetti arms. This is my dance space. This is your
dance space. I don't go into yours, you don't go into mine.
OC: Bodie, anything you'd like to add?
I hate this Johnny. I really do. I hate violence. That is why I had
Rosie do this, I could never do that man, I could never hold a knife to
Tyler's throat, she was my woman. But, Rosie, he's like a mechanism.
He's got this gift of blankness. Once you set him an emotion, he will
not stop. So, when three o'clock comes, he will gut her like a pig, and
try not to get any on his shoes and there is nothing I can do.
OC: Thank you for coming today, gentlemen.
Bodhi: Yo, Johnny! I'll see you in the next life!
Patrick Swayze has cancer. Doctors insist that it is unrelated to his recent procedure when all the skin on his face was replaced with leather.
for the story.
...all Giants fans thank you for sticking around to throw one more back-breaking interception for the Packers. Hope your retirement is...super?
I'm home for an evening of surfing the internet while
the Suze watches Trading Your First House Flip. It's been a long
day, and the incessant drone of first time home buyers leaves me sleepy...
Startled, I find myself floating. Is
this space? Have I fallen through a wormhole? There are stars, but I
thought outer space was supposed to be black. This is so...purple...and
how did I end up in this sweater vest? I tumble aimlessly, scratching at
the sudden itchiness of my neatly trimmed douche-beard, my vacant eyes
reflecting the void...
From out of the depths comes a shape...what
is that? Is it...it can't be...my own name in giant block letters
streaking right for my head?! I try to duck out of the way but I am only able
to crane my neck slightly to the side as the horrible placard strikes me in the
back of the sku...
I wake up in a start. "Is something wrong?"
the Suze asks.
"Oh, I just had the most horrible dream. I dreamt
I was an advertisement for a Blake Lewis CD."
While I'm pimping all my myriad accomplishments, did you know I'm a published author? It's true. Okay, so I may be published in a magazine that nobody has ever heard of. Yes, and it may help that I play softball with the editor-in-chief. And that the Suze is creative director of the magazine. Listen, who asked you anyway, internet? If you're going to be all snotty about it, maybe I don't want you to click on the thumbnail below to read my article, okay? Fine!
I'm just kidding, internet. I know you appreciate all I do you for.
PS: The rest of the pictures I took that day are in my photo gallery. Or, you can just click here
So, hey, I changed the look of the site a little bit. Basically, I changed the top banner. Do you like it? I think it looks way better - and better represents the mood of the sight. The old one was all dramatic and serious, and then you scrolled down and there was buttcheeks. I think this banner better prepares the readers for buttcheeks. Let me know if you like it.
Also, guess what? My submission to the Eyesights 2008 exhibition at the Guild of Creative Art
won best in show! Pretty neat, right? My prize is a fancy production of my photo portfolio. It'll be printed on Innova Smooth Cotton Duo paper and bound in hardcover with my signature. When I get them made I'll take a picture of them and post it on the site here. Here's the winning photo (except the winning print was 3' x 2' and printed on canvas):
As a bonus, I know you are all thinking, "But Jesse...what did it look like when you were standing in front of the picture at the show?" Don't worry, the Suze has you covered - she took a picture of me using my camera phone. Don't I look happy?
ObscureCraft is proud to unveil its line of ladies' summer wear for 2008. Enjoy!