Thursday, May 24, 2007

long time coming

Existentially Loathesome

For all of the fellow David Foster Wallace fans in the house, I stumbled upon this little youtube video of the "Tourism rant" from Consider the Lobster. I'm not going to pretend that the video is groundbreaking, but DFW's stuff is so dense that taking any 2 minute segment and REALLY listening to it is always a good idea. If I remember correctly, this bit was actually from a footnote (which is like a Radiohead B-side or something; often better than the "main" stuff.) It will probably be especially meaningful for fellow travelers, who often have to consider this sort of odd-tension. It should be stressed here that Wallace is talking about intra-national tourism, though.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Today is a change for the better, I wrote you a letter, I'm gonna buy you a sweater

That's how I felt when I went to the Oink page for the first time and had to face facts: I wasn't getting in any time soon. It's rare in our country to find things aren't simply reducible to money and so bumping up against against something that you really want and can't just buy is a uniquely frustrating experience for an American. Like, "Oh a tight-knit collection of music aficionados trading vinyl rips, comedy bootlegs, and 2-minutes-ago leaks? I should be able to buy my way into that." You can't though, and well somehow (exactly how they do it is a matter of contention) they prevent the invites from being sold on ebay or anywhere else. It makes sense too- if they sold them the community would rapidly deteriorate for reasons too complicated to get into now.

Continuing with our theme of "Random awesome content to keep you reading and hopefully sending this to your friends" here's a very amusing short collection of the 6 worst movie scenes ever.

Okay, so what the hell am I talking about? If you didn't already gather from the faux-quote above it's the best music site that's probably ever existed on the internet. You can get any album you can think of with CD quality (or mp3- they have both and more) within a few minutes for free. Bought the new Wilco record on disc, but want to hear it on Vinyl (since Jeff Tweedy says it's better that way)? Just downloaded a lossless vinyl rip. Mitch Hedberg only has two commercial releases and on the second one he sounds like he smoked crack beforehand, so you've been dying for a late-era bootleg? Oink has like 10 of em with jokes I've never heard (Is that an x? I said "no that's an I crossed out because it was too slanted.") Audiobooks? Check. Software programs with custom-coded installation packages so you don't even have to bother with Serialz? Check. Looking like you're bragging when you're really just trying to convey your excitement over finally having scored an invite? Priceless.

This is a 2-d drawing on a sidewalk designed to look 3d- it's called an "anamorphic drawing." This shit is amazing.

When I first heard about it I was intrigued but not obsessed. It's like gmail in that when you hear about it it seems cool but nothing you'll knock down doors to get (of course Gmail's invite only thing was- by their own admission- just a marketing gimmick and they were happy to watch the invites sell on ebay) but once you're on the other side it's like... how did I ever? I found out there was no way I was getting an invite (you just have to know someone, period) and that was that. But I kept running across it: a yahoo! answers that seemed more about sharing in the sadness than getting an invite, a guy's rather neglected blog that suddenly gets overrun with commenters when he reveals he got invited, the leaks coming from Oink, etc.

This is that same drawing from above when not taken at the perfect angle.

Alright, I know that if I keep going with this post I'm going to look like a dick to the 5 people I know who would love Oink (the rest are probably no longer reading.) Here's the good news: In a little while I'll have some invites and the people I know who would actually use them will be invited (and that little while may be months, but if you followed the links in that last paragraph you'll know that that's no time at all) and for now if there's a super-rare hard to find to CD that you want- say the word.

Oh and one more thing, expect some more "you heard it here first" shit like this the new Go! Team and Kanye West singles respectively.

go team!- Grip like a vice

kanye west- can't tell me nuthin'

PS- If anybody can understand the riddle that is the title of this blog post (google all you want) you actually get a real prize worth about 10 bucks. If you know the answer you could probably guess what the prize is. Email me or leave a comment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Wet-Wipe Manifesto

Imagine visiting a friends home for dinner and afterwards you offer to help with the dishes. You friend welcomes your help and tosses you a roll of paper towels. They explain that they don't use water or soap to clean their dishes and utensils, they simply wipe them down with a dry paper towel and put them back in the cupboard.

"What about bacteria that surely grows on the food remnants? What about germs that undoubtedly remain after a simple 'dry rub'?"

"Wow, I get nearly the same shine with none of those nasty soap spots!"

Your friend explains that they have decided washing dishes is gross. They don't want to get their hands all wet and they'd rather just use dry paper towels to rub them down. Their kitchen smells disgusting, but at least the plates are out of sight in the cupboard, prior to use.

Disgusted, you vow to never eat at their home again. In fact, you decide you would rather avoid their home all together as surely this disgusting practice is evidence of a total disregard for cleanliness, and probably even personal hygiene.

Imagine what they do with their ass?! Do they simply wipe it down in a "dry rub" fashion after using the toilet? You can't imagine; the thought of such a practice is frightening. Imagine a world where people clean their feces covered bung holes with nothing but a dry rub from some paper.

Welcome to America.

Europeans have been using bidets to clean themselves for nearly 300 years. They evidently thought that spending the day with feces attached to their anus was gross, and they preferred to wash it off. (seems simple enough)

"OMG you guys, Europe was SOOOO amazing. In the bathrooms they have these water-fountains that double as beer coolers, so you don't have to use the tub!"

America evidently missed the memo on cleanliness. Most have never even seen a bidet. And while they were preoccupied visiting dentists and inventing cocaine (watch the Washington video), the Europeans were revolutionizing the art of wiping.

So what do you do now? How can you help save America? What if I was to tell you that the solution is not in buying an expensive bidet, but found at your local supermarket?

Yes, Baby wipes. No longer will babies be the sole members of the clean bum club. Why are they called baby wipes anyway? Who decided that with age your desire to have a clean ass goes away?

"It's all fun and games until someone thinks that dabbing these kids with a dry towel makes them clean."

Having presented this argument on more than a few occasions, we found that there were a few key responses that people would use, which we'll cover in our FAQ, below.

Q: I don't eat off my ass and neither does anyone else, so i think your dish analogy is stupid. What else you got?

A: I highly recommend looking into what an analogy is ("Obama isn't like Rex Grossman! Rex is way younger!") But mainly what I'd like to ask is: do you even wipe at all right now? Why? By your logic the whole idea behind cleaning the area AT ALL is silly. So if we're gonna do it, why not get clean?

Q: I feel like I'm already pretty clean/clean enough down there, so why bother using anything but the dry rub?

A: If you slipped and fell in crap and all you had was a McDonald's napkin to clean off your bare elbow (for instance) would you shrug your shoulders and go "clean enough" or would you be dying to get home and wash with water? Even your dirty dog knows that cleaning that area and using moisture is imperative, and while I think we both would object to his methods we as humans we can accomplish the same thing without the gross licking.

Q: I already shower after I go, so why should I use wet wipes?

Well first off, congrats for not minding that your friends and coworkers see you as an obsessive compulsive (even "anal"). I find this "every time" thing highly unlikely, if not impossible. Anyway though, certainly you agree with us then that we need a changing of our cultural cleanliness standards. Use wet wipes for emergencies and tell your friends.

Q: Ew, the wet wipes they use for babies? GROSS!

A: While that's not really a question, it's worth saying that whatever weird revulsion people have for soft, tightly knit moist cottony fiber it's hard to see how it's any grosser than actual human excrement. At worst the ends justify the means.

Q: what made you guys want to go public with this?

A: We were inspired by Richard Dawkins. We realized that some of the barbaric irrationality in our society was really expressed and perpetuated in the bathroom as well as the church.

Q: Noone goes there on me, so I don't have to worry.

A: If you stepped in shit with your bare feet and it squished between your toes, would you just grab a single napkin real quick since "no one licks your feet"? It's not just about going there- sometimes it's about going NEAR there. Plus, it's nice to be clean.

Q: Why isn't everyone doing this if you guys are so right?

A: Good question. People probably made these arguments when modern toothbrushing was brought to the fore. A combination of defensiveness for their antiquated practices, stubborn refusal to change, and a simple lack of understanding. At root though, I think it's because 99% of the population (us included) really kind of hates talking about this... um... shit. That makes it hard for change to come about. We're hoping that the semi-anonymous realm of the internet will be enough

Feel free to (anonymously or not) leave other questions or comments about this for us to see. First though, consider this as the answer to your question:

Are you saying that between two choices, one which involves having more shit on your body and the other less, you're picking option "more"?

Yours in pro-cleanliness solidarity,
Matt and John

EDIT: An Astute reader suggested that we recommend flushable wet wipes rather than baby wipes, as baby wipes aren't meant to be flushed. There are some links in the comments of sites where you can buy various wet-wipe products, some flushable.

Monday, May 14, 2007

"I think it had somethin' in it..."

While I contemplate posting something I've written up on circumcision (I just know I'm gonna piss some people off, but my trusted "blog post reviewers" have been AWOL), I thought I'd post some more amazing distractions for your viewing pleasure. You can't just keep writing things up as "must sees" because posting two must-sees in a row will hurt your credibility. Nevertheless, I can't imagine anyone from Erin to the Libertarians I argue with on another blog wouldn't find a clip about a Cop who confiscates marijuana, uses it with his wife, and then calls 9-11 because he's so high he thinks he's "dead or dying" life-changingly funny. It's a short video, but it includes some of call- if anyone can find a whole tape of the call you'll be the hero of the day- a real American.

The free online face morpher that John used a few posts ago is here, and it's pretty excellent technology.

Everyone probably seen the "funny student exam answers" stuff a million times, but I always read it in case there's one I haven't seen because it's funny enough.

EDIT: alert reader Nhoj Baldingpound sent in the entire, unedited clip (there is a great part at the end- wait for it.) Find it here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Modern Classic

From the blog that brought you Alexyss Tyler's vagina power, "lemon-headed coward terrorist pussy", Alanis Morissette performing "My Hump" (okay, you probably would've seen My Hump anyway) comes the newest in a long line of classics. Called simply "introduction" I would be remiss if I ruined the video by telling you too much about it. The best part of it is that it seems SO innocuous at first, like you're supposed to think it's funny just because it's some silly guy talking funny. Just wait.

the dog's bollocks

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who say shit like "there are two kinds of people in this world" all the time, and those who think it's lame. I'm with the second group.

Anyway though I was just thinking about some common phrases and without getting all Jerry Seinfeld on ya'll, I thought we collectively get together (in spirit, via this blog) and marvel out how silly they are together.

You'll hear people say "oh I'm totally anal about that" all the time in completely polite conversation. This should be familiar to everyone; I had an older woman employee who would blush if I said "damn sam" but she said one day "I'm kind of anal." Does everybody else think this is as weird as I do?

I kind of flinch when i hear this, like "um, did you just refer to your anus? Here at the office?" Oh, no I'm sorry actually you just claimed that during the anal stage of your childhood development, during which you supposedly received your primary pleasure from going #2, you developed a need for an "immaculate anus" which corresponded to qualities you now think of yourself as having, like cleanliness. Yeah, that's the theory of being "anal."- go read some Freud if you don't believe me. It reminds me of this Louis CK joke (it's at about 11:00 in here) in which he sees a yoga instructor telling everybody to thrust their pelvis in a sexual-seeming manner and encouraging them to get into by saying "c'mon!" Anyway, Louis CK wishes he had that power to just make groups of people start thrusting their pelvis' anytime he says "c'mon!" Well Freud totally pulled a c'mon on everybody by getting them to describe people as "anal" without thinking twice about it.

Also, "shit-eating grin"? I can't even fathom how that came about. Or like the phrase people will use for slipping and falling/falling on skis, etc. "I just totally ate shit." One time John and I (awhile after having this conversation) finally got the opportunity to mess with someone on this. Cal comes in and goes "I was riding my bike and tried to jump a curb and I just totally ate shit!" John and I tried our best to maintain faces of horror and pretend like his story was a "'Long Story Short' story that could really use more elaboration." Anyway since there's no more to that story, and since half of you won't follow that hyperlink, here's another example of a "long story short" story (from McSweeneys):

I was at the mall yesterday trying to find a birthday gift for my mom, but she's really tough to shop for. I was thinking she might like some perfume, but I'm not really knowledgeable about that stuff, so I didn't trust myself to get a good kind. So I thought I'd just get a gift certificate for her, but the line was really long at the customer-service desk, and I was in a hurry ... so, long story short, Don Cheadle is waiting for you out in the parking lot, and he looks really pissed.

Top that!

PS- I'm not just linking this to make myself sound witty; it's my friend Casey's blog! She thinks like an old sea captain, and I think that's fucking awesome.

PPS- everybody is invited to post any other "strange/inappropriate things people say daily without thinking twice" in the comments section. Whoever's first is the the coolest person to have lived.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Affirmative Action and Poker: an allegory

I grew up a military brat and so it wasn't unusual to find myself living in bizarre places. When I was 10 I lived in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas- the home of one of the largest prisons in the US- while my dad attended CGSC for the military (command general staff college.) I remember getting my haircut by inmates because it was only 5 bucks, and how when a prisoner had escaped there'd be these alerts that asked people in the area to lock their doors and turn their lights off until the person was apprehended. One of my fondest and most vivid memories at the time though, was when my dad came home and told me about a presentation on Affirmative Action given by the battalion commander, General Archipov (who was white.)*

As should surprise no one at all, the military is a conservative institution. In Ft. Leavenworth there was noticeable resentment for some of the black officers who were seen as having attained their status unfairly. Because of this, Archipov decided to present to the students (including my dad) a vivid and illuminating presentation to explain affirmative action. I have no doubt that nearly everyone who was a part of this (and hopefully this is still ongoing) never saw affirmative action in the same light.

The students walked into the class and were told they'd be playing poker for fun. 4 students sat at the table with one superior officer who was the all-time dealer. It was a normal game of 5 card draw poker for chips that could be exchanged for real-money, and all of the students were given $100 in chips. There were only two special rules:

  1. The dealer could request to see your cards and you had to comply, but you could not see his.
  2. The dealer could decide which hand won and which hand lost as he saw fit.
With that, the superior officers and Archipov left the room. The officers were not permitted to speak, and being military officers with plenty of experience under their belt they knew how to deal with total horseshit and say nothing about it. So what happened next is exactly as you think; the dealers won every single hand and their pile of chips was dramatically increasing. After a while the superiors walk back in the room, feigning surprise over how badly the dealers are winning. Archipov, in his best serious voice, says "Can anyone explain to me what's going on?" All of the students raise their hands and he calls on one Staff Sergent Michaels.

Staff Sergent Michaels: "Well sir, the dealer is simply allowed to decide who wins and who loses! And, further..."

General Archipov: "Woah, hold it right there soldier. That's clearly unfair. From now on we'll use the standard ranking of hands in poker, with no deviations allowed."

And with that, the commanding officers left the room and the poker playing resumed.

"They were an unsuited two pair, hoping to catch a new life on the flop, and find happiness on river."

So the playing continues, not as bad as before, but the Dealer still winning the vast majority of the hands (since he can see all of the cards.) His pile steadily gets bigger, and while a few guys get lucky and cut their losses a bit, a general feeling of frustration permeates (remember, they have no idea what this is about.) Archipov and the commanding officers walk back in, and the hands go right up. When Archipov simply looks in Sgt. Michaels direction, he starts in:

Michaels: General Archipov, sir, the dealer can see all of our cards but we aren't allowed to see his!

Archipov: Why that's ridiculous! That's not a fair way to play the game. The dealer's not allowed to ask to see your cards from now on, nor should you see his. There's still a little time left; play on.

"He was the ace of diamonds and she was the queen of hearts, but love is the biggest big blind of all."

So, it's been 2 hours and most people are down if not out, but they're finally playing by the real rules. The dealers play tight, and hang close to the $400 dollars or so they all have while the other players scrounge to catch up with their meager chip standings. Archipov walks back after only a few minutes to ask how things are going and things are as restless and tense as they were an hour ago. "What's the matter?" Archipov asks. "What could you possibly have to complain about? You didn't like the first rule so I changed it. You thought the second rule was unfair, so i changed it too. I've given you everything you wanted and now you're playing by rules that we all agree are perfectly fair. What in the hell are you complaining about?"

Michaels is the first to pipe up: "Sure, we're playing by rules that are fair now- but the dealers got to play with unfair rules for two hours! They've got all the chips!"

Archipov repeats this for effect:
"They've got all the chips. Gentlemen, what you're feeling right now is all you need to know about why we need Affirmative Action."

"We seek not just freedom but opportunity - not just legal equity but human ability - not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and a result."
-Lyndon Johnson

Statistics on the average annual earnings (i.e. the wage gap) as broken down by race and gender here.

*I made up the name because I didn't remember it but I'm sure he was white. Anyone should be extremely proud to have the name Archipov though as a google search will show- I'll blog about it in the future anyway,

Friday, May 4, 2007

Only one other player in NBA history has taken at least 10 shots in a game in which his team was eliminated from the playoffs and made as low a ......

"Dirk Nowitzki, who averaged 24.6 points per game and was an All-Star this season, made only 2-of-13 shots (15 percent) in the Mavericks' loss.

Only one other player in NBA history has taken at least 10 shots in a game in which his team was eliminated from the playoffs and made as low a percentage as Nowitzki after being an All-Star and averaging at least 20 points per game that season: Michael Finley was 1-for-17 (6 percent) in the Mavericks' 2001 series-ending loss to the Spurs."

Yes, that on this morning. You would not think that such a historic victory would require such ridiculous statistical analysis to make it sounds interesting, but I guess the "Daily Dime" couldn't come up with ten interesting points on the conclusion of the series.

Matt and I thought we'd help out with some more statistical insight into this series, just in case ESPN runs out of material (as they apparently have already)

"This is the first time a 7 footer who who led all western conference centers in 4th quarter assists has failed to to get more than 10 rebounds in an opening round game 6"

"This is surprisingly, only the 3rd time in NBA history that Kate Hudson has been to an NBA game with a boy who she was previously thought to have broken up with."

"The first occasion on which a hirsute man named for a nobleman with body like a Michaelangelo sculpture in a dream has consistently shot over 50% in a series despite battling a porcine-related injury"

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Youtube Videos part 2- the most Epic post ever

[it's] Been too long, audience. It was easier to rationalize not posting when people weren't reading this, but we're actually getting some serious viewage. So I aim to do a lot with this post, starting with introducing you to that gif above. Sorry if you've seen these before- I've tried to include ones that have never been shown to me, and are therefore conceivably fresh and new to most people (i.e. I'm not including fucking evolution of dance, or Numa Numa or any of that BS.) We've been going through youtube videos like crazy here lately, and that's in part why I'm trying to contain this stuff in one fell swoop, instead of pimping this stuff out over 20 posts (but c'mon, that George Washington post was totally worth it. So... brave this post, if you dare. Though there is a lot of stuff, but remember: I have left out a lot, so it's not like I just posted every youtube video around. Don't be fooled by the volume into thinking that there is throwaway shit on there, because there isn't. But this is how big my "incredible videos to post on the blog" folder has gotten in the last 6 months.

Okay off the top of my head here, I'm going to say that this clip is tied with the Alexyss Tyler show as my favorite youtube clip ever. It's Aries Spears doing a freestyle impression of LL Cool J, Snoop, DMX, and Jay Z. It's uncanny.

Japanese prank shows apparently don't have to worry about lawsuits. I can't explain this clip any other way; they set up hidden cameras in bathrooms and then interrupt the people with a mechanical contraption that raises them up in the middle of park with their pants down. It gets better and better until, at about 5:00 the real over-the-top masterpiece occurs... Just watch. The sheer insanity of these prank ideas is amazing- I hope Ashton watches these and gets some ideas.

This guy finds out he's not the father of a woman's baby on some Judge Maury Springer type show, and his reaction is touching. Probably need the sound up for this one...

This one has something like 4 million views, but I have never seen it or heard of it. This guy records himself striking a drum once, or hitting a single piano key and then meshes all of that into a badass song.

What can you say about this one? Some Bollywood midget does an amazing dance and smokes a cigar. He and David Elsewhere should have a dance-off

The creepiest ad I've ever seen. This guy has a face for radio but he has a voice for email, amirite? Anyway, is "If you can't get credit at my store you can't get credit anywhere" really an appealing tagline?

Live action Mike Tyson's Punch Out. This is my favorite live action nintendo video (doesn't sound like much, but that actually means something in the world of youtube.)

Most people probably HAVE seen "Boom Goes the Dynamite" (about the sad sack sportscaster who messes up and then redeems himself) so I won't embed it, but if you wanna check it out, click here. You know what, I'm just gonna go ahead and post a bunch of links that have been hanging over my head here- I know you're supposed to ration that shit, but I figure the people who are hardcore won't be plussed with only a few little links.

If your name is Matt Zoeller click this one. It's a Metal band made up of kids (and I mean seriously young little kids) and they rock hard. That 4 year old girl little singer dancer in the middle is real prize- starting about 1:00 in she totally steals the show. And whomever knows spanish (Zoeller?), would you go the band's blog and tell me what they're all about?

This here's a lady who's stomping grapes live on TV (an extended version reveals her to be kind of a bitch, so maybe you dond't have to feel so bad for her) and she falls on her face and starts making animal noises of pain.

The crazy frog brothers- two kids who have created an elaborate dance/lip-synch performance to the song "Axel F" by Crazy Frog (which was- no shit- the number one song in Britain for awhile because they're THAT LAME.) Ashlee and I would've totally done something like this when we were young.

The story of a drunk man who wakes up with black cat firecrackers tied to his leg (and by "story" I mean, "clip of him waking and trying to scramble desperately away.") Moderately funny, but short which redeems it.

This is a Baby Panda sneezing- it gets an embed because I could watch a one hour clip of this even without the sneeze.

This high school football team stages one of the craziest comebacks in football history. Something like 30 points in 4 minutes... I guess they didn't realize that God is great comedian- wait for the end.

The Price is Right gets crazy with a woman who has no idea what she's doing... but does it well.

Okay, last one and this one's for Leah. Matt Damon's short-but-sweet dead-on impression of Matthew McConaughey. He nails the voice, but he also caputers the spirit, too.