Spam Filter Fails to Prevent My Discovery of Binocktails

The spam filter on my e-mail has blocked some powerfully suggestive and oddly spelled products from making an appearance in my inbox, but I don’t think anything could have stopped the ferocious drunken stagger of binocktails from pushing past my spam filter bouncer and entering the club that is my e-mail inbox.

Here is an example of a product that is all brilliant epiphany without any of the actual follow through thought process. Imagine if you will, a late night infomercial with a desperate stadium attendee. It is just so difficult for them to sneak alcohol into an area where alcohol is not allowed from the outside! There has to be a better way!

Enter binocktails.

Drop the liquor into your binoculars, and pass the ticket tearing sentinel without them being any the wiser. It’s brilliant, and you’re already too drunk to realize that binocktails are stupid.

Yeah, they will get you past the door, but you don’t think a single flag will be raised from a dude awkwardly sucking on the scope of his binoculars? I haven’t used binoculars in many years, but last I checked, the appropriate way to use them was to hold them up to your eyes, not your mouth.

They are on to something here, though. Maybe there is some other product, something that would look slightly more normal to place against your mouth. Let’s see what the binocktail folks came up with.

Yes, that’s right. A camera. A product that is used almost exactly the same as binoculars. No one will notice someone stumbling around taking pictures with their mouth. If anyone asks, just tell them your replacing the batteries with your teeth, because you don’t want to get battery acid on your fingers. At least then they will disregard you as insane, as opposed to being drunk in public. Mission accomplished?

I Think Elena Kagan and Jon Lovitz Kind of Look the Same

That’s all that needs to be said really.

Jon Lovitz at the Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Elena Kagan wearing a Lei.

Steve Jobs is Winning the War Against Purse Mirrors

Sure, the iPhone is awesome, I use mine all the time. I ignore e-mails with it, check to see what time it is and to make sure my fingerprint smudges could still identify me to the police. It is truly something I could not live without at this point. We forget though, that it is destroying certain important elements of our economy. Whole entire sectors of industry are buckling and failing as the app store rolls over them like some kind of giant metaphor of destruction.

Tapes and CD’s? Dead.
Standalone GPS devices? Dead.
The Motorola Razr? Dead.
The need to make lightsaber sound effects with our mouths as we pantomime invisible lightsabers around? Dead.

This image was not photoshopped at all.

The iPhone 4 is no different. I can’t believe no one has already seen it. Less believable though, is the fact that no one is doing anything about it. I am talking of course, about purse mirrors.

With the advent of the forward facing camera on the iPhone 4, Apple has effectively destroyed all the purse mirror manufacturers in the world. Women will no longer need to carry a small mirror around in their purses to check the status of their makeup, and men can finally pretend to check their e-mails while fixing their hair.

I don’t claim that this has been Apple’s intent from the beginning, to destroy the purse mirror industry, but I also don’t claim that it hasn’t been. Who knows what dastardly meeting agendas filter through the internal Apple e-mail threads. The proof is out there, for those who want to connect the invisible dots and make blind unprovoked accusations. Steve Jobs hates purse mirrors.

I am predicting now that the iPhone 5, or 4G, or whatever combination of letter and number they decide to tack on to the word iPhone, will go after the hairbrush industry next. Just you wait. That thing is going to be encased in bristles.

The Best Albums of the Decade Ever, For Me Anyway

I have been seeing all these albums of the decade lists and I felt obligated to make my own if for no other reason than to see what I would come up with.  I also want to see what other people’s lists are and I hope that maybe this would motivate others to create their own.

Obviously everyone’s list will be different, and I respect everyone’s right to enjoy a specific type of music, but I feel like the only lists I have seen are R & B lists of the decade.  Maybe it is just that the people in the positions to promote these lists are fans of that genre, or maybe the album of the decade actually is an over produced self-indulgent solo album from Usher singing about himself and the women he has had sex with*.

The rules I have arbitrarily decided are: no albums from the same artists, and no compilations or anthologies.  That’s pretty much it.  Cultural impact has no relevance in my personal list.  What I am interested in is talent, skill and musicality.  Most of my choices are based on a criteria that the mainstream music listening public doesn’t give two craps about, like talent for example.  I would like to think that these albums and bands will be recognized for their greatness someday in the future and then I will be able to casually mention how I was there in the beginning as often as I can, much like I do with Arrested Development.  Did you know I watched the pilot premiere of Arrested Development and was already jonesing for more after the first episode ended?  Oh, you just watched the DVD’s?  Well I guess that is almost as good.

So here I present to you my personal albums of the decade in a very particular order.

*I have never actually listened to an Usher album.  His songs could be about broccoli for all I know.

4.  The Mars Volta – De-loused in the Comatorium

For music so frenetic and intricate, The Mars Volta has been extrememely productive since they first started recording albums.  If the length of their songs correlate in any way to how long they take to write them, I am not sure how they have been able to put out so many CD’s in the last few years.  Their first album easily takes the cake and then comes back and takes the other cakes from their following albums.  I return to this album constantly and plan to everytime they release a new one.

3.  Radiohead – Kid A

Unlike The Mars Volta, I have actually really loved every Radiohead album, but I decided to go with Kid A because that was the one that really got my attention.  I had heard the song Karma Police and it was good, and I think I even owned the album, OK Computer first, but nothing else of theirs grabbed me like Kid A did.  The album was actually given to me by my Aunt and Uncle as a Christmas present.  I think they had just read that it was a good CD and thought it would be a good gift for a young music fan.  It took me months to actually sit down and listen to it, but when I did I had the equivalent of an “Oh shit!” moment.  I remember sitting in my room with my headphones on with my eyes closed listening to Kid A.  I could feel all my perceptions about music realigning in my head as the song Idioteque pulsed away in my ears.  Nothing was ever the same for me.  Radiohead is also the band on this list that doesn’t really fall into the, “I’m a music snob and only like music that no one else likes,” mentality I outlined in the beginning.  They are a successful band by all meanings of the word, and deservedly so.  I only hope that the other bands on this list will reach the same critical and financial success one day.

2.  Between the Buried and Me – Colors

To this day, after having a respectable metal collection, and having played in a metal band for a significant part of my young adulthood, am not really sure if I would consider myself a metal fan.  There was a time in my life where all I listened to was metal, but this band is the only one that has survived that period.  I knew I was listening to something different within a recognizable genre when I heard hand clapping in the middle of a chorus in their self-titled release, and knew I was onto something special during the melodic portion of Mordecai from The Silent Circus, and when there were chills running down my spine during the entirety of Alaska the first time I listened to it I thought, “hey, maybe these guys are the most amazing thing I have ever heard,” but nothing beat the the fifth or sixth time I looped Colors in my car, upset that I could not get my stereo loud enough.  It angers me that Between the Buried and Me are not the true life equivalent of Dethklok.  It upsets me when people don’t understand why this band is incredible.  Their newest release, The Great Misdirect is a phenomenal album that I absolutely adore, but Colors is currently their pinnacle as far as I am concerned.

1.  Karate – Some Boots

This choice on my personal list was actually really difficult to decide.  Karate released their first album in 1996 and their last true album in 2004.  Including touring before and after their first and last album releases, Karate put in 12 years of brilliant music.  Apparently the reasons for the bands dispansion had nothing to do with creative differences or anything like that, but rather ear complications with Karate’s front man Geoff Farina.  I would not put Some Boots as my personal favorite Karate album, but it is my favorite studio album of theirs that came out during this decade.  Saying a particular Karate album is not my favorite is kind of like saying red velvet cake is not my favorite type of cake.  It doesn’t matter what kind of cake you’re eating — it’s still fucking delicious.  And that is the same way I would describe any album from Karate — fucking delicious.  I fell in love with Karate with the song, If You Can Hold Your Breath, and asked them to marry me with the album, The Bed is in the Ocean, (which gets disqualified for its 1998 release) but, Some Boots, was that moment where I looked at my musical wife metaphor, and said, “you know what honey, after all these years, I still love you.  I love you so much.”  Damn, I really stretched for that analogy.  Just know that it is a good album, and one of the measuring sticks with which I measure other music.

There it is, with a record breaking two cake analogies, out there for all you of you to criticize and berate.  The short list of what I believe to be the best albums the first decade of the millennium.  To my ears anyway.  Deal with it.

Why Youtube is Great -or- Why Youtube is Terrible

Since YouTube’s inception in 2005, the website has been a cultural phenomenon. The potential for amazing, thoughtful and artistically driven content is endless. Unfortunately though, for every piece of compelling and interesting video available on the site, there are five videos of people getting punched in the stomach — or lower.

Even I have contributed greatly to the site. Every upload finds me sitting watching my progress bar slowly creeping across the screen, fingers crossed, hoping to attract attention and become the next viral video. Unfortunately though it has not happened, and truthfully, it probably won’t. Any amount of creative writing or editing I input into the creation of a film, can easily be trumped by a bevy of kittens riding around on a Roomba vacuum cleaner. I can’t blame the YouTube audience. Kittens are a lot cuter than me, and no amount of digital or special effects can change that.

The problem with YouTube lies in the lack of censorship. I am not referring to censorship in the sense of shielding inappropriate content from those too young to see it. What I’m referring to is the need for a system to filter out the content that is inappropriate for anybody to see.

To illustrate this point, I did a search for the most absurd video I could think of. I typed into the search block “guy punches himself,” and just for good measure I added the words, “really hard,” to the end. The video I was directed to had over 5,000 views attached to it. Approximately 5,000 people had either conducted this same exact search, or had been coerced into watching the video by its creative title which was — I’m sure you’ve guessed it already — “guy punches himself really hard.”

We need to ween ourselves off of these short 30 second videos of fleeting entertainment. As compelling as a video of a guy punching himself really hard is, we need to stop encouraging it. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard of entertainment and reward those artists who put so much time and effort into the creation of original and thought provoking content.

If we continue to pool our attention toward the gut punchers and precious kittens, eventually that may be all we have. And as cute as those kittens are, I know — or at least hope — that we all prefer a little more substance with our entertainment.

Fast food? More Like Slow Food!

I decided recently to finally give in and try out this new restaurant I had been hearing so much about. I had heard Burger King mentioned as a popular lunch destination and decided to once and for all quell my overwhelming curiosity.

A phone book directed me to the closest location and I found it with great ease. I stepped into the establishment and stood by the door waiting to be approached by a hostess. Five minutes passed. I glanced at my watch and extended my neck upward to make sure that somebody knew I was there. A woman behind the counter was staring at me with one eyebrow raised slightly higher than the other. I smiled toward her and gave a polite wave so as to alert her that I was ready to be seated. She waved back awkwardly and backed slowly into the kitchen. I found her actions to be strange, but I assumed that she was simply going into the back in order to fetch someone to seat me.

It had now been 15 minutes, and I was starting to get restless. I gave it another five minutes and decided that I would just seat myself. I made sure to sit near the kitchen area and exchanged angry glares with the woman who had re-appeared behind the counter as I walked by. “Thank you,” I remarked as sarcastically as possible making my way to a seat.

The hygiene of the table was atrocious. It appeared as though the table had received nothing more than a once over with a damp wash cloth. I leaned closely to the table and gave a sharp sniff immediately regretting my investigation. So far my Burger King experience did not feel very royal at all.

Again, I waited for five minutes. I glanced at my watch, and craned my neck to make sure that somebody, anybody had noticed me. I began to clear my throat, softly at first, slowly building to a full on coughing fit, switching between wild gesticulations and slamming my fists on the table.

After three minutes of my attention demanding show, I got up stomping my way toward the counter to confront the woman who had been staring at me since I walked through the door. “Welcome to Burger King, can I take your–” I cut her off to make sure that she understood how unacceptable the restaurant’s behavior had been. “Do you know how long I have been here?” She looked back at me — silent — with a look of palpable terror on her face. Good, I could tell I was getting through. “23 minutes! I could have eaten two meals at any other restaurant by now! I was not seated, I was not informed there would be a wait, I was not even given a menu!”

At this point, the woman, who was wearing a name tag that read, “Liz,” began to unfold a slight smirk upon her face. “Is this funny to you?” I demanded as loudly as I could. She looked to her right at a woman wearing a headset near a window. Why this woman was standing by the window wearing a headset is beyond my realm of understanding. The headset woman raised her eyebrows and shrugged her shoulders glancing back and forth between me and Liz. “This is ridiculous!” I screamed. My voice cracked loudly during the second syllable of ridiculous. I turned on me heels throwing my arms up in the air, and briskly walked toward the exit. I threw the door open, walked through and flung the door closed behind me. I walked away striking the pavement with each step, anxious for the resounding door-slam. I turned around only to realize that the door was equipped with a hydraulic. I let out a resounding, “Come on!” and slammed my car door so as to receive some kind of door slamming gratification.

I drove away confused as to why anybody would ever want to eat at this restaurant, but my spirits lifted slightly when I saw another restaurant that I had been hearing so much about a few blocks in the distance. I had heard of this “McDonald’s.”

Kanye West is the Greatest Entertainer of Our Generation -or- Kanye West is the Greatest Entertainment of Our Generation

Kanye West is the greatest entertainer of our generation because he is simply that; entertainment. I haven’t had this much fun watching the egotistical ramblings of an adult child since the Bush administration.

I remember one of the first shows I ever played in my high school metal band. I had set up my equipment faster that any of the other band members, so I stood there, microphone in hand, performing a check. After all the levels were adjusted to their desired degree, I found myself standing in front of a loud disinterested audience with my voice amplified.

I began to talk.

I don’t remember what I said, which lends to the banality of whatever I was saying, but I was saying it. I was talking because maybe somebody could hear me and maybe someone would care.

Of course nobody was listening, and more importantly nobody cared. I was just excited because my voice was louder than everybody else’s and I had nothing to say and all the words to say it with.

Next time I held a microphone I was quick to put it down. I had gotten over the attraction of my amplified voice. Mr. West, though? This is something that he has not been able to get over. The sound of his amplified voice.

Of course the difference between him and me is that what he says apparently bears some significance to some people. I know this because of the scientific research I conducted after the VMA incident. My scientific research involved checking the number of facebook updates that related to Kanye immediately following the incident. I didn’t use twitter because I feel obligated to say twitter is stupid even though facebook serves the exact same purpose.

As far as I am concerned, Kanye West is a genius. I am not referring to his music though. I have heard his song, “Gold Digger” approximately 100 billion times, but that is all I know about his discography. I am referring to the character he has created of himself. This is a man who was able to make Mike Myers the master of characterization (excluding his filmography of the last seven or so years [excluding Inglourious Basterds]) crack and break character. Any man who can do that is worthy of my attention.

So Kanye West, keep speaking your mind, no matter how inane or unnecessary it may be. I want to know what is on your mind at all times. I want to know what your favorite music video is, even if it belittles the achievement of a young artist. I want to know what you think of our President’s racial tendencies even if it means completely ignoring the purpose of your television appearance. I want and need to know these things because it is hilarious.

So many people have been saying (scientific facebook research) that you should never be allowed to speak in public again. I disagree. I think you should speak at every college and high school graduation, every late night talk show, every bar and bat mitzvah, every wedding, and of course every funeral. If I see you walking down the street, I want you to be shouting through a megaphone about things that annoy you, because even though I may not agree with everything you say, dammit is it entertaining to hear you say it.

Never stop being needlessly outspoken. Ever.