Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This Week's Playlist.

1. DOA [Death of Autotune] - Jay-Z
2. Dirty Diana - Michael Jackson
3. Rhythm of the Rain - The Cascades
4. Beast of Burden - The Rolling Stones
5. Fresh Off the Boat - Nelly Furtado
6. Make You Feel My Love - Adele
7. Killing Me Softly - The Fugees
8. I'm On Fire - Bat For Lashes
9. Anthems For A 17 Year Old Girl - Broken Social Scene
10. Hang You From the Heavens - Dead Weather

June 1 Playlist

Thursday, June 25, 2009


What a fucking boss:

We can only wish to have hair like this:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

I remember the day the Soviet Union collapsed, but not because I was particularly attuned to the event's political, social and historical ramifications at the time. I was after all, the ripe old age of six when the USSR ceased to be, so in fact, I probably didn't even exactly realize what the USSR was at that point. But my dad, who still has a varied array of relatives living in Slovakia [and who also because of this made my even younger self pay attention to the Gentle Revolution] sat me in front of the TV that day and made me watch. We were at my aunt's cottage in northern Michigan so for once I didn't want to watch TV when I could run around by a lake - even if it was the dead of winter - plus it was you know, Christmas, but I distinctly remember my dad positioning me in front of that TV telling me "You'll want to be able to say you remember this."
He was right of course, but its not like I realized that when I was six. And now that I'm 23 I wish I remembered more about that time than just how much I wished I was doing something else - I wished I remembered the marches of Solidarity, the pride of being a Slovak who finally had a country to call their own, the words Pope John Paul II said to make my grandma love him so much she never called him anything else except "The Pope." Because maybe if I really, truly remembered the courage of these people maybe I wouldn't be so surprised to see something similar happening in Iran today. It's one thing to lose faith in humanity, but with Craigslist killers, octogenarian Anti-Semite killers, abortion doctor killers and the like, I had in the words of Bob Dylan, no faith to lose and I knew it.

Then this happened:

And oh yeah, this:

And holy shit this:

Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post has been running a truly excellent Live Blog this week about the current crisis in Iran - helped along by readers both in America and abroad who are sending in tips and helping to translate things from Farsi. Some of the things accumulated on said blog - pictures, other blogs, videos, Twitters - are really gut wrenching and heartbreaking. None perhaps more so than the videos of the rallying calls of Allah-o Akbar ["God is great"] from the rooftops at night. I don't know the woman in this video and she'll never know me, but thanks to the wonders of YouTube [!?!??!] we have a weird connection; I must admit a tear formed in my eye when she clearly breaks into tears herself, so maybe I don't hate humanity as much as I thought:

I am not a Muslim, so perhaps the full weight and historical significance of the call of Allah-o Akbar is lost on me, but I do not have to be a Muslim to appreciate it as a cry to the divine for what should be everyone's divine right on earth in the here and now: freedom. All cries for freedom, whether they be Allah-o-Akbar or "No taxation without representation!" are the same, the same in that they should all be heard.
But even more importantly, we should listen to all cries for freedom and that perhaps is the hardest thing to do, especially when they are coming from some far corner of the world we know nothing about. And more than anything that is what the Iranian people have done this past week or so - they have demanded that the world to pay attention to them. Before it was easy to dismiss Iran as merely that place with that insane dictator, but this week the world has been forced to contend with the fact that a nation's leader is not always an accurate representation of its people [something the US had to deal with for awhile too, but nowhere near on this scale!].
It is hard to dismiss Iran now that I have seen one of its citizens - roughly my age! - bleed to death on its city streets, or seen pictures of its universities' dorms smashed and riddled with bullet holes. I lived in college dorms for two years - what would I have done if I had found them surrounded by paramilitaries? Would I run? Hide? Stand my ground? I don't know of course, but seeing images and reading messages from Iranian college students makes us pay attention in that most visceral way possible: What if that was me?! Part of the reason I think the video of Neda has had such an impact is that we can all ask that important question - What if that was me? - while watching. It's one thing to watch a video of a person on YouTube, I don't know, eating macaroni and cheese or something because we don't all have to eat macaroni and cheese. But we do all have to die, and what is up to us is the small matter of whether we think Neda's death was heroic, unnecessary, tragic, exploited, disgusting or a combination of any and all of the above. We don't know how or when we will die, but we can parse out how we feel about something like Neda's death and in some small measure that may help us sort out how we feel about our own mortality.
What is perhaps easiest then to say right now is some banal platitude like "We are all Iranians" in an effort to show solidarity, but that perhaps is the ultimate dismissal, something to say to make us feel like we are informed and caring before we move on to our regularly scheduled lives. We are obviously not all Iranians - we all do not love the country of Iran as much the protesters who take to the streets daily now at risk of their lives. It is also easy to say that "I" thank the Iranian people for reminding me how deep and how strong the human spirit runs, but that seems too self centered a thing to say about a fight that isn't mine.
But perhaps the fight is mine - I am just not fighting this particular battle. The fight is all of ours actually, and I can only hope that when the time comes to fight my battle for freedom, human rights, my check mark on a ballot, or whatever, I can display the same sort of fortitude, courage and bravery the people of Iran have.
My vague memories of Pope John Paul II, my bloody memories of Neda, my academic memories of the American Revolution, all belong in the same file in my brain, the file that reads "We have it in our power to begin the world over again."
I just have to remember to read that file every once in awhile now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009



Stephen Colbert in Iraq.

Of course I am visiting the fam [who do not believe in cable] the week Stephen goes on his would have been top secret if it wasn't for Sarah Palin's Twitter mission to Iraq. But lucky for me Comedy Central happens to believe in offering full episodes of the Colbert Report online, so I got to see Stephen in all his tailored camoflauge suit glory on Tuesday morning. Stephen Colbert is really the perfect USO act - he clearly understands that braving a trip to Iraq to make a few people laugh doesn't necessarily make him a hero, but making people laugh is what he's good at so he might as well offer his talents any way he can. His double persona allows him to simultaneously not take his shit seriously like by filming a ridiculous version of his "basic training," but add legitimate touches of tribute as well, like by shaving his head military style to show his solidarity with the troops. Of the course the highlight of his first show was indeed when Stephen shaved his head into a military crop [and let's be real, Stephen has a good head of hair for a middle-aged man] thanks to a direct order from President Obama himself. Actually, I take that back. The best part is when Barack admits his ears big enough to hear all the way to Iraq:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Obama Orders Stephen's Haircut - Ray Odierno
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorStephen Colbert in Iraq

Lady Gaga + Kanye = Egotistical ART.

So apparently Lady Gaga and Kanye are going on tour together this sum
mer, and not as co-headliners or one as the opening act, but actually performing together. My jury is still out on Lady Gaga - her songs are pretty catchy, and honestly, I think I would like her a whole lot more if Perez Hilton would just shut the fuck up about her already. She's bi! [or something] She wears crazy clothes! She is really good at posing with her gloved hand in front of her face! Too bad Karen O already thought of that...in like 2003! She's so "unique" and "original" that she stole her music video for Just Dance from a Skins advertisement! [No, I'm for serious. Watch Just Dance. Then watch the advertisement for the first season of Skins from way back in 2007 and tell me they aren't the same.]
But the point is putting two people together who ramble incessantly about how awesome their "art" is would probably make for an interesting show, especially because of the way its reportedly organized. I would probably go just to witness the spectacle and to see Kanye attempt to sing through his vocoder live and in person - too bad I spent $50 to see Kanye glow in the dark last year. Kanye spending quota met! For my entire life!
They will obviously have to perform this remix of Poker Face, which is actually pretty bangin', and finally everyone will realize how dirty that song actually is:

So You Think You Can Dance

Thanks Mom, I think you have gotten me addicted to this show. It's clearly meant to be methadone for those addicted to the American Idol heroin during the summer hiatus, but its not yet a giant product placement ad and there are minimal flashing lights on the stage so its less seizure-inducing than AI. The lady judge however, is the most annoying person to live on this planet - I am sure of it! - as her trademark is a crazy scream that sounds like a cross between a fire siren and a dying cat. But Alan Shankman has been a guest judge the first few episodes, and well, I kind of love him.
Plus, this Evan kid is a] from Michigan, b] clearly Polish since his last name is Kasprzak, and c] a worshiper of Gene Kelly, so therefore d] he is obviously awesome:


The Hills Season Finale

The Speidi wedding was as ridiculous as I always expected it to be, and for once I don't really mean that in a good way. It's one thing for the Speidi crazy train to fuck with a "reality" TV show to get themselves more exposure, but its quite another to fuck with actual reality - Holly's breakdown at the rehearsal dinner over her sister's impending nuptials to a man she can't stand was a harsh reminder that maybe there is still a tad of reality left in The Hills, and it felt both disconcerting and voyeuristic to watch her desperate drunken sobs to her mother.
But the finale only proved that LC's departure won't even matter [as this short season proved that Whitney's didn't really matter either], mainly because it hasn't been her show for awhile now. Hopefully Kristen Cavallari can wrest control of the show away from Heidi and Spencer, or at the very least, hold her own. I think she can, and its not like Kristen was doing anything else super meaningful with her "career" so why not try and shake things up a bit?
And OF COURSE Kristen caught the bouquet at the Speidi wedding - I wonder how many takes they had to film for that to work out properly. This weekend at my friends' wedding the bride had to throw her bouquet twice - and she wasn't even aiming for who the producers told her to! - because the first time it went straight up into the ceiling. And the second time, I caught it. Because it is a proven fact that the more I drink, the more coordinated I get [The catch was truly spectacular, as I plucked it out of midair.]
Note how beautiful and together Heidi's bouquet still looks after Kristen caught it:

Compare with the bloody aftermath of my alcohol fuled bouquet adventure - because come on, most bouquets are caught in a drunken haze:

Maybe The Hills isn't so real after all.


And by Penguins, I mean the Pittsburgh Penguins, who if the universe aligns correctly will be losing the Stanley Cup to my beloved Detroit Red Wings Friday night. And if the universe really aligns, goalie Chris Osgood will be named the MVP and get to hoist the Con Smythe trophy [Plus Ozzie is kinda cute! Chris Pine could play him in the biopic!]. And if the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planet, love will steer the stars, and Steve Yzerman will pull a Micheal Jordan/Brett Favre and come out of retirement and play next season.

And who do I petition to make Don't Stop Believing the new theme song for Detroit? Because as this video indicates, it clearly should be:

Michelle Obama at Westminster Abbey

Well kids, it finally happened - Michelle Obama wore an outfit I didn't like. Her get up for her visit to Westminster Abbey was just ugly, what with its weird fake flowers, '80s belt and slicked back hair:

But then I looked at the pictures of the day I went to Westminster Abbey, and I was wearing jeans, a pink tank top and a black hoodie all three of which I am pretty sure were purchased at Target. So congrats, you still win Michelle.

The Eve of Destruction

Dear world, I would appreciate it if planes stopped disappearing over the open ocean, Slim Jim factories stopped exploding, swine stopped taking us over with their flu, the economy stopped being non existent, and hateful octogenarians stopped shooting up Holocaust museums. Thanks.

Adorno famously said that we can't write poetry after Auschwitz, but I would appreciate some nice pretty poetry right now as I could use something to remind me that beautiful stuff really can still exist in this world. Because I think it might be the end of the world as we know it, and let me tell you, I don't really feel fine.