Friday, April 27, 2007

For Shame. Everyone.

I'm dissapointed in everybody. In Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder, for discontinuing the only Mac-compatible webcam. In the Eastern seaboard, for pelting us with rain (again) after teasing us with three nice days (again). In Oscar Mayer, for turning down my application to be a Weiner. I wish I were one. And especially in NASCAR, just for existing.

If there is anyone who is above reproach, it's the guy who occupies I don't know who he is, but he's completely amazing for myriad reasons. Not only did he usurp a webpage that should rightfully belong to the band Radiohead, but it's impossible to tell who he is. The page is a big, anonymous homage to art and music, not to mention pictures of guys wearing shorts and smoking on top of a hearse. G-D bless your soul, whoever you are.

There are two other people who get free passes today. They will both go unnamed for the sake of their privacy (well, except for one of them: Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen). One person gets a neutral, although if I wasn't in such an agitated state they'd probably be in the good with me. This is the person who brightened up my day yesterday by telling me that getting a real job doesn't necessarily mean getting a conventional job. As in, you can work a legitimate position without submitting to the 9-5 cubicle culture. I thought that was very heartening, and I felt enlightened after hearing it.

If you aren't on that list, you should be ashamed of yourself. And if you're already ashamed of yourself, you should be even more ashamed after reading this. I, for one, am vastly ashamed of myself--I haven't shaved in two days, I haven't started the book I promised to write a year ago, I've wrtten way too much about Justin Timberlake (and I'm ashamed of myself for not being ashamed of myself), I've seen every Ali G/Borat/Bruno clip on YouTube at least three times, I got duped on a cheap bottle of crappy scotch, I curse too often, I haven't graduated yet, I'm bad at keeping in touch with people, and I haven't picked up the book I'm reading in over a week.

I am a big sack of humiliated. And drunk.

Stay Shameful, San Diego
DJ Disesteem

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Just Lost $1.7 Billion

I had a simple business idea about 7 months ago. The specifics are irrelevant, because all I know is this: while I was sitting on my ass telling friends about it, somebody else had the exact same idea, and sold it for $1.7 billion. Not million--BILLION. Do you know how much money that is? Because I sure as hell don't, but now I intend to find out, just so that I don't have to live under a constant cloud, perched 'neath a gaseous manifestation of my misery.

While running through the various permutations for $1.7 billion, I received clarity on one thing: I have no idea what I would do with that much money. Say, for starters, that I put a billion of it away in a CD or mutual fund. That leaves $700 million in liquid money. Here's what I'm thinking:

-buy Pita Hot (a schawarma restaurant in Queens), guarantee lafas on demand for the rest of my life
-backpack through New Zealand
-a very unhealthy weekend in Vegas
-buy beautiful houses all across the world (Manhattan, Tsfat, Auckland, Tuscany, Argentina), equip all of them with ice sculputres and home recording studios
-drop out of school, move to Boston, take classes at Harvard
-pay the voiceover guy from the movies to narrate my mundanities like any one of them could trigger the apocalypse ("In a time when Joey passes out on the couch, terror could reign at any moment")
-start a band, hire the best musicians in the world to record an album, put my name on it, win a Grammy
-buy the rights to Panic! at the Disco, kill them
-pay whatever it takes for Justin Timberlake to sleep with me, produce an epic super-baby

What would YOU do? There's got to be something big I'm missing, but the slave mentality is keeping me out of those echelons of aspiration. For now, I'll continue scrounging up change for a Dunkin Donuts trip. Lord help me if I can't put a single donut on my debit card.

Stay Subpar, fantasy world
DJ Destitute

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Reverend Sharpton: Overshadowed by JT

I saw Al Sharpton last night. No joke--he was ambling along Madison Avenue in a gray-striped shirt and black slacks, shuffling between a Blackberry and a thin cell phone as he very leisurely passed 62nd street and ducked into a hotel. He was not in show mode. Shirt untucked, hair unkempt, half glossy-eyed, like he was very much ready to turn in for the night. I thought it unusual that I should be so excited, since it's my job to talk to famous people. But seeing the Reverend was different, because I grew up watching him bellow on the news. Being three feet away while he strode lazily was the intersection of my childhood and perverse adulthood.

As much as Al Sharpton galvanized me (and isn't it ironic that I just wrote about him for the first time, and then I saw him a few days later? I should write about Victor Wooten again), what I'm here to do is lionize Justin Timberlake. There were a few points I left out of my "Justin Timberlake is Really, Really Good" piece.

To wit:

Omitted Point 1: He plays guitar and piano. Well. Not only that, but he plays with a swagger-particularly on keys-that belies his relative inexperience compared with his million-piece band.

Omitted Point 2: Speaking of his million-piece band, they really enjoy playing with him. Compare their genuineness with Jessica Simpson's band. One makes you want to groove, the other makes you stick two fingers down your throat and genuflect over the curb. I liken JT's group to a basketball team that really, truly enjoys playing with a superstar. Picture the 1998 Chicago Bulls--Michael Jordan's teammates felt liberated by his superstardom, not constricted or subsumed by it.

Omitted Point 3: Most pop stars would never, ever perform a song differently than how it's recorded. It's a fact--that's why lip-syching is so in; rappers and hip-hoppers alike follow an exactly choreographed playbook. Whether it's for fear of improvisation or simply easier is impossible to tell, but Justin is the one guy who pays no heed to either. He's constantly improvising, harmonizing with himself, rapturously inflecting, and even beat-boxing. He almost never plays a song the same way twice--even his mega-hits. Take, for example, his Grammy "My Love" performance: he imposes an otherwordly lilt over "Well baby I've been around the world." His talent is literally uncontainable. Telling him to stick to the script is like telling Vince Vaughn to speak slowly--he could do it, but why would you want him to?

If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to post it here posthaste. In the meantime, Daft Punk is playing at my house. Enjoy the Green Apple Festival.

Stay Scintillating, Justin
MC My Love

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sex: Macaroni and Static

Due to recent developments, I am no longer able to deploy the two acts that I am about to transcribe. For lack of a more eloquent—or apt—description, these are the sickest, most awesome ways to prank a girl/guy. I thought of them because, about two months ago, I was presented with an opportunity to use one (or both) of these, but I passed it up. Now it seems like I’ll never get to do either of them myself, but I’m hoping that someone will read this and get inspired to use one/both. All I ask of that person is for them to buy a webcam and let me watch.

Just one more thing: these is not intended to shame anyone or throw someone into disrepute. These are all meant in good fun—not to damage somebody’s body or reputation. That said, these are pretty kick-ass; use them at your discretion.

1. Mac ‘N Cheese Please

I’m putting this one first for two reasons—I like it the best, and also because this is the one I was most seriously considering. Here’s the setup: before you go out on a date, set up one or two warming trays full of macaroni and cheese under your bed (the kind they use at catered events, with the blue flame heaters and silver tins); the gooier the better. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot, because you don’t anyone getting scalded. After your date, take the girl/guy back to your place, and somehow get him/her onto your bed.
After the hanky panky or what have you, look them dead in the eyes, smile mischievously, and say, “I have a little surprise for you.” Calmly reach under the bed and grab a tray full of mac ‘n cheese. Proceed to pour it on them, and make sure to make yourself seem like a total psychopath. Scream things like, “Dinner is served,” or “Bon appetit,” or just start eating the concoction off of them.
Later, when they ask about it, pretend that you have no idea what they’re talking about.

2. The Balloon

This one will only work on folks who like getting roughed up. Let them know you’re totally down with s&m, and you have the craziest sex torture device they’ve ever seen back at your place. When he/she comes over, make gentle, normal love to him/her. When they ask about the violence, give them the same glaring look described in the mac ‘n cheese scenario, and then take out a balloon, blow it up, rub it against the wall, and then make their hair stand up. Make sure you say stuff like, “You like that, bitch?” and “This is a how a real soldier fights,” and “If you tell anyone about this I’ll tie your wrists with twine.”

Again, please let me know if you want to use these. I’ll pay for the webcam.

Stay in surveillance, sex acts
MC Macaroni

My Sore Spot is a Whore Spot

I didn’t sign up for this when I signed up for sexual deviance class. I expected a light survey of all things vice: prostitution, stripping, infidelity, polyamory, foreplay, fiveplay, etc. What I got instead was an in-depth jaunt around the twisted, misanthropic dystopia that encompasses prostitution sob stories and venereal sickness. In short, this “sexual deviance” course was not about the deviance; rather, it covered the deviants themselves. We’ve covered the indentured whores, the embattled sex slaves, the AIDS-saddled minors, the stigmatized transsexuals, and even the closeted homosexuals.

The segment on pornography had a particularly unsatisfying taint, as we studied feminist pornography in lieu of the real “Jenna Jameson takes on Peter North” deal. Feminist pornography, for those in the blissful dark on the topic, is a grassroots porno branch that focuses on empowering women, and depicts a sex act that features open communication and respect. No facials, no penis worship, no exploitation, no mind-numbing blondes with big, fake boobs; in short, they sucked out everything that was fun about pornography and replaced it with the things that make our own sex lives boring. People don’t watch porn to learn how to behave in a relationship. They watch it because it’s a fantasy, an unattainable “I wish” that is, and always was, supposed to deviate from reality. And now this: an unwatchably ho-hum field on which everyone is an even player…reason #109,889,765 to hate radical feminism.

And why am I ranting? Why am I complaining when I could very well be trapped in advanced macroeconomics or (I'm slitting my throat just thinking about it) organic chemistry? I’ll tell you why: because I give a shit about liberal arts. Everyone dumps on them, especially the pre-law and pre-med students. The free-thinkers, artists, and musicians are much-maligned, and generally saddled with lower salary prospects and limited options for gainful employment. For us—the liberal artisans—our sole defense is the soul defense; we study things that matter to us, and that we hope will either grow our understanding of the world or of ourselves. We have the audacity to knowingly forgo the golden handcuffs and delve instead into animated, topical pursuits: writing, music, sculpture, sexuality, and so on.

So when we take a class in sexual deviance, to indulge that part of our being that thirsts for a reprieve from the bottom line, we don’t want it to suck. Calculus and law classes can suck all they want; those fields have nothing on the line. But liberal arts are not self-sustaining. They need to be promulgated by people of passion in a passionate manner, because if they are related with the same workaday bore as their soulless counterparts, it jeopardizes the arts’ chances for continued survival.

Now all we need is somebody to tell that to my professor, who right now is probably building an Excel spreadsheet that cross-references breast sizes and cancer odds. She’s the life of the party like that.

Stay solemn, sexual deviance
DJ Double D’s

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pussicane Donny

All this talk of racism and Don Imus makes me think that New York’s hurricane is God’s punishment for firing somebody over such a non-issue. Hence, I will heretofore refer to this hurricane as “Hurricane Donny.” Well, actually, this is more of a pussy hurricane than anything else...“Pussicane Donny” it is.

The latest statistics indicate that, so far, Pussicane Donny has killed exactly zero people, and, since I’m currently in New York, I can assure you that this Pussicane’s incarnation in Queens is a constant, cold rain and wind gusts of no less than five miles per hour. News images from seashore Jersey cities depict a much more desperate, maudlin picture, but I’m not buying it. Pussicane Donny will go down in history as the meteorological anti-9/11, the event that hurt nobody and went away pretty quietly. If all it did was shut down a few businesses and shopping malls in Jersey, then Pussicane Donny has nothing on every single Sunday, when the Blue Laws shut down the entire state. Tony Soprano wreaks more havoc in Piscataway than Donny did.

Here’s the thing, though: we’ve clearly learned nothing from Hurricane Katrina. In the days leading up to this past weekend, eastern seaboarders had every reason to believe that they were about to get reamed by a massive force of nature. Furthermore, the news stations built this storm up to be Perdition, and weather(wo)men cackled for hours about the record amounts of flooding and disruptive weather we were to receive.

And what did we do? Absolutely nothing. Nobody disseminated emergency evacuation plans. Nobody distributed emergency materials. Nobody set up a special hotline just in case New York became suddenly strewn with people needing help. Nobody set up a contingency plan. Nobody instructed the public to stock up on essentials. Essentially, nobody implemented the series of actions that were retrospectively lacking in New Orleans two summers ago. This isn’t to say that we should have evacuated New York City, nor that anybody claimed that we were getting a second Katrina. It’s just that nobody propagated anything that would have been appropriate to scale, like a watered-down hurricane survival guide. Nothing. Not a pamphlet, not a website, not a single evacuation bus in a single waterfront town that stood to maybe, just maybe, save some lives.

So I’m glad that Pussicane Donny wasn’t anything worse than it was. We were woefully unprepared (again) for something more severe. Here’s to somebody in government coming up with something better the next time a natural disaster comes around.

Stay Suppressed, Pussicane Donny
MC Meteorology

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Don Imus On a Cross

Don Imus has been fired. I feel sociomorally (if that’s even a word) obligated to further defend my position that a) he didn’t deserve to be fired, and that b) this sets an ugly precedent for suppressing free speech and is a bullshit victory for censorship in the media.

First of all, let’s be clear about exactly what was said and not said, and then relate those things back to reality. Don Imus went on the air and called the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy headed hos.” I’m no Imus apologist, and his remarks were certainly objectionable, insensitive, and unnecessary, but firing-worthy? He didn’t say anything overtly racist (the word “nappy” will be discussed in a bit), never espoused that certain action(s) be taken against the team, and didn’t disparage the team’s success (they were the national runners-up).

And now the reality: half the Rutgers team is white. Moreover, like I mentioned in my last blog, Imus has to wait in line behind virtually every rapper for the “objectionable verbiage” crown. And, as one of the most controversial radio hosts in the history of this or any other country, you can bet your ass that “nappy headed hos” was not the most incendiary thing he’d ever said.

Now, the argument has been made that “nappy” is historically tied to racism and pejorative labeling. While this is inarguable, it is impossible to prove intent, especially vis-à-vis a half-white team. How can you definitively, or even beyond a reasonable doubt, surmise that he meant to target the black players, or, even more implausibly, to group the white and black ones together and put them all down collectively with a dubiously racist remark? It just makes no sense.

At, you can read “Nappy has a long, hurtful history” by AP writer Deepti Hajela, who propounds that, “Since slavery times, "nappy" has been used to malign the natural hair texture of many people of African descent: dense, dark and tightly curled. So when Don Imus referred to the women of the Rutgers basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" — a widely condemned remark that got him fired Thursday — it cut deeper than many who are unfamiliar with the term might realize.”
Still, that doesn’t explain why Don Imus, a recognizably cogent and alert personality, would purposely use an anti-black slur to demerit a half-white team.

The reverse-racism argument is similarly unsatisfying. This theory speculates that black leaders manufacture racism out of innocuousness in an act of self-preservation; essentially, the argument goes, community figures like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be irrelevant and de facto out of work in a racially harmonious climate. Hence, hastily tolled claims of racism are sounded reflexively at the first signs of questionable content.

Take this quote that my roommate Yehudah found somewhere on the internet: "Blacks have been complaining for years about equality in America and how they don't get equal time. Well here is a prime example of why black will never be seen as equal, they use every instance they can find to highlight their UNWILLINGNESS to be seen as equals. Sharpton and Jackson have made careers out of hate mongering and inflaming situations that would have barely even raised and eyebrows in any other race of TRULY assimilated AMERICANS. When the black community starts acting as equals...they will be taking a huge step forward...It's all fun and games if a black rapper comedian or personality says something off-color...GOD forbid it goes the other way."

This argument, however, is as fallacious as the “nappy is racist” argument, because it inherently ignores the times that these leaders have been vital in arbitrating the legitimately racist cases. They are not hate-mongers, and relegating them as such is just as racist as the things of which this anonymous writer accuses Jackson and Sharpton.

Ultimately, this case distills into a first amendment issue. Just like any American’s, Don Imus’ right to free speech is protected by the Bill of Rights, and no judiciary on earth would void that right in this particular situation under the “clear and present danger” clause. Because he wasn’t calling his listeners to action, his remarks cannot be misconstrued as inflammatory or potentially dangerous. Censorship, in all its pernicious manifestations, uses the misguided “emotional damage” claim to install an artificial—and illegal—ceiling on self-expression. Don Imus, the asshole that he is, is nonetheless an unfortunate victim in the censors’ unremitting dalliance with Constitutional constriction and illegality.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Once Had to Ditch the last Passover day, Up in them Ruts like Every Day

Ladies and gentlemen, history is upon us. I shall now copy/paste for you my skeleton concert calendar for May, which will be the greatest run of live performance to run in and out of New York since Giuliani cleaned up Times Square.

5/9: Arcade Fire at Radio City Music Hall
5/10: ALO Bowery Ballroom
5/10: Air Theater at MSG
5/11: Damian and Stephen Marley Nokia
5/10-13: 4 Generations of Miles with Mike Stern at the Iridium
5/14: LCD Soundsystem at Webster Hall
5/21: Damien Rice at Radio City
5/25: The Juan Maclean at Element
5/25: STS9 at Crobar
5/26: Mos Def at Highline Ballroom
5/30: Roger Waters at MSG

And this is only a partial list. And this only covers two-thirds of May. And this only includes the shows that have been announced so far. This is enough to satisfy even the most gluttonous pedophile, even the one who, as Dave Attell so insightfully observed, races to the nearest magic show or playground as soon he/she alights from a plane.

Now, under normal circumstances I’d spend a few paragraphs lamenting my Passover, but I’ve decided against it for a few reasons. First, it’s way too indulgent, not to mention self-centered—there are probably thousands of people who were worse off and more frustrated than me. Second, Passover has passed over, and there is a national reprieve period for the next while, so why waste recess complaining about class?

Enough about holidays and religious compulsions; it’s time to discuss two things: Zach’s religious-Zionist argument and Don Imus calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team a bunch of “nappy haired hos.”
We’ll start with Zach: in response to a few blogs ago, in which I postulated that an ideal life is one in which one either chooses complete religiosity or complete non-observance, Zach suggested that, for the Jewish believer, living in Israel offers an inherent compromise. Since everything an Israeli does at least indirectly benefits the country’s socioeconomic climate, Mr. Reich offered, you can disengage from direct religious observance and still further the Jewish cause. For instance, a shoemaker living in Israel makes the shoes that Israelis wear, which get them to the places to which they have to go in order to work for their country.

I have two things to say about this. First, good point. Second of all, even if we assume that Zach’s premise is correct, I’m not sure it relates exactly to the point I was making. Mine was a more abstract, isolated argument, in which each person is an entity unto him/herself, and one’s life choices are complete severed from one’s geography, society, and fellow humans. So even though Zach’s point makes more sense than mine—since his operates in the real world and mine operates in a world in which I’m married to Angelina Jolie and I’m touring the world with a debauched, marauding hair-metal band and not contracting syphilis—I’m not sure we’re talking about the same exact thing.

And now to Don Imus. My initial reaction to what he said was something like, “Oh shit, what a dumbass.” My secondary reaction was, “Oh shit, the Rutgers women are meeting with him to discuss this?! What dumbasses.” And my third reaction was, “If Snoop Dogg can say, ‘I once had a bitch named Mandy May / Used to be up in them guts like every day,’ then maybe this all isn’t so bad.”

I’m sticking with my third reaction. People say abhorrent things all the time, and we generally agree that their comments are inevitable events in the world of discourse and conversation. Someone, after all, has to take up the rear, has to represent the very worst of the Snoop-Howard Stern-Iranian President Achmenifjadoasdfoijasdflasdfjasdfoijsdadf verbal ecosystem. Some of them—Snoop, Howard, etc—are visionaries, and some—the Prez from Iran, Don Imus—are douchebags. Still, it’s important, in some cosmic way, that there be people who say and express the ridiculous, if only to further glorify, in context, the Jon Stewarts among us.

Just remember—God’s best friends are Irish.

Stay slurring, radio hosts,
MC Media

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Putting the "Ass" Back in "Passover"

The Jewish holidays are referenced as "festivals" in the Bible: Passover, Sukkot, and Shavuot are collectively the "three festivals," and during the Temple eras (which rhymes with "capoeira," Brazilian dance fighting) the nation of Israel descended upon Jerusalem for those holidays. Even a cursory glance reveals the difference between those celebrations and the matzo-ball-soup-and-trite-seder formula that we're all used to: we don't celebrate "festivals" anymore. We celebrate "holidays" or "holy days," but not festivals. If we wanted to enact what is in the Bible, instead of some lame-ass modern day adaptation, we'd pack up our shit and camp out somewhere, all the Jews together, and have a festival.
We wouldn't necessarily have to go to Jerusalem, since its finite space will only stretch to account for the millions of people once the Messiah arrives. But we could go somewhere else--say, Reykjavik, Iceland or the boondocks in South Carolina--and celebrate Passover the way we were intended to. Imagine a cross between Bonnaroo, the Wailing Wall, Kosher Sex, and visiting day at sleepaway camp.
Why not? It's not that there's anything wrong with contemporary Passover, per se, but sitting at home for days with nothing but unleavened bread and the Far Side gets a little stale (literally/figuratively). Why not add some color to a monotonous black-and-white holiday? Why not put some real festivities in our festivals? Why not make those four cups of wine count, instead of heading to bed right afterwards? Why not hand out eighths of Philosopher Stone shrooms and have everybody get naked and run at the moon, and eventually pass out in a scattered heap of hallucinogenic fatigue, then wake up the next afternoon with no recollection of what happened? Why not invite civic leaders and politicians to this bash, and carouse with them until they accede to lowering taxes and fixing the growing wealth disparity in virtually every American city and town?

Stay subdued, post-modern Passover,
MC Messianic Merriment