getting back to the work at hand… such as ranting

yeah… i’d like to tell you that i’ve got another serious topic like the Adventures of Robert Mugabe for you this week, but, well, you know how this once-a-week internet nonsense goes: i’m mostly just going to complain about people getting their fifteen minutes of fame and other stuff i see on the internet. and in the end, it’s important to me that i don’t disappoint you people on that score. let’s do this thing.

in which i take issue with the serious work of Miss California

Miss California
GETTING BACK TO THE WORK AT HAND. actually, i was going to post a picture of Keith Lewis and talk about how his appearance makes him look smug and punchable… but i could not find one

so while visiting the grandmother on one occasion, i happen to walk in on an episode of this show on Fox News that’s hosted by Greta Van Susteren (who i constantly out as a Scientologist and thus one of my greatest enemies) where they’re talking about this HUGE CONTROVERSY over what some Miss California said while trying to achieve the goal of being the next Miss USA. it was something about how she thinks marriage is between a man and a woman and blah blah blah; i could really care less about that kind of thing. i mean, i admit that i am a card-carrying Republican and all, but i mostly care about guns. getting worked up over gay marriage is not something i do… but then, this is probably why i only watch Fox News when i walk in on someone else’s watching it. Fox News is not something i do either.

ANYWAY, what gets me is that while they’re interviewing this dude Keith Lewis, who i guess is a guy that runs the Miss California competition, he makes some comment about how he’s not worried about Miss USA, he’s worried about Miss California, and he’s waiting for her to return and “get back to the work at hand.” excuse me, “work at hand?” “work at hand?” we’re not talking about an esteemed US senator or a captain of industry here, Keith. what’s all this work that’s at hand? she’s going to balance the state budget? actually, if she did, i would be really impressed and would probably consider tempering all my outrage. but as it stands, i a) doubt there’s any real “work at hand” and b) am still getting outraged by some nonsense on Fox News.

in which i take issue with this famous new rapper Asher Roth

Asher Roth
yes… this one also has a visage that seems to be begging to be punched…

Asher Roth, Asher Roth, Asher Roth. where to begin? well, i think i’m mostly going to stick to quoting him and then talking shit about it. let’s begin with this quote:

“Kids from the ‘burbs have been inspired and influenced by hip hop for years,” says Roth, recently inked to Steve Rifkind’s Universal imprint, SRC. “When I wrote my ‘A Millie’ freestyle, that was me listening to 10 years of hip hop and not relating to it at all. Like, Damn I don’t sell coke. Damn, I don’t have cars or 25-inch rims. I don’t have guns. I finally got to a point where I had the confidence to do this thing myself, and I was making music for me.”

so maybe this is me being difficult, but how is it that you can listen to something for 10 years and not relate to it at all? wouldn’t you just, you know, STOP LISTENING TO IT? now perhaps it’s the fact that i think not every rap album’s about coke, guns and cars, but i don’t see how you can have a massive disconnect from a genre of music you listen to and perform. but, in fairness, maybe i see his point: his album seems to be about talking shit, having sex with women, and consuming drugs and alcohol, things that NEVER come up as topics on hip-hop albums. oh wait… anyway, now for this noise: So is the writing on the wall for Gangsta rap in your opinion?

Asher Roth: I think it’s about that time. It will be around, but if you look at The Game for example who was the last person to really come out talking that kinda stuff. Was he successful? Yes, but were people relating to it? No. You go to Los Angeles and Mexico that stuff gangs and stuff still exist but is that what we should be glorifying, no. People can disagree with me because there is a struggle in this country but rather than glorify gangs and make kids wanna join gangs I think we should concentrate on building and teaching rather than destroying shit.

now i know my earlier assertion was that people have to be relating to you on SOME level in order for you to be successful, so there’s that. and i think that even if we talk about the Game, who i love to mock, there’s still something more to him that just a generic “gangsta rap” stereotype that his fans can get into (and i say this as someone who mocks him for being derivative and lame and everything). and yes, gangs are bad and “building and teaching” are good. but for crying out loud, you’re a fucking frat boy rapper that talks about blumpkins and getting hammered in college. you’re not building or teaching anything. and since rap was successful for years without you relating to it… what makes you think that you relate enough to it to know gangsta rap is about done?

see, this is why i hate white people.

“has Mugabe stolen the Lost Ark?”

sometimes the internet can be a very depressing place where grown men watch videos of other grown men shooting bears and then having sex on the corpses of said bears, something that a) makes me want to burn this whole series of tubes to the ground (and possibly replace it with a “big truck”) and b) makes me really disgusted with the viewing habits of some people i know. seriously, i know i have watched some distasteful things in my day, but at least i’ve never abused myself to any of them. sickos!

ANYWAY, the flip side to this is that sometimes the internet is the purveyor of completely, utterly, totally awesome news and stories. this is the story of one of those stories. actually, wait, what’s with the build-up? let’s just discuss it:


Robert Mugabe
he might not look like it… but Mugabe is totally scheming on how he can get away with his theft of the Ark of the Covenant

now, while the source is kind of sort of a tabloid newspaper from the UK, that’s not really important to me. after all, tabloids have broken some of our finest stories about wells being drilled into Hell by Russians (or whoever) and former President Bill Clinton meeting with aliens and/or Elvis Presley. what IS important is the meat of this story. let’s just take a relevant sample:

“But after decades of exhaustive ­research, Parfitt became convinced that the ordinary looking wooden object in the storeroom of the Musuem of Human Sciences in Harare, Zimbabwe, really was the ­remains of the lost Ark.

Last year he published a book detailing his breakthrough and documentaries broadcast around the world heralded the find as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries since the Dead Sea scrolls.

The world’s media soon dubbed the Welsh professor “the British Indiana Jones”.

But now, almost a year later, Parfitt is worried. Since the publication of his book and the broadcast of the documentaries, the whereabouts of his intriguing discovery are once again unknown. Parfitt says he has been told by sources close to family members of the autocratic Zimbabwean president Robert ­Mugabe that the object is now in the possession of one of Mugabe’s relations, perhaps even Mugabe himself.

“I first got suspicious when I started to hear that several people who had tried to see the Ark, many of them ­respectable academics, had been turned away and the museum was becoming very cagey about it,” he says. “Then a contact of mine who has connections to Mugabe’s extended family told me that people close to Mugabe have taken it.””

yes! reasons why this is awesome (and why it better be real at the risk of my suffering from a serious depression):

01. the professor involved is Welsh, meaning he and i both hail from the same heritage of drunks who tell outrageous stories and, oddly enough, are always completely on the level when it comes to wild archaeological discoveries and adventures;

02. it kicks Mugabe up to that crazy scheming level of Hitler (or, at least, Hitler in those Wolfenstein games where he was always trying to abscond with things like the Spear of Destiny). the thing about Mugabe is that without trying to steal the Ark, sure, he’s still evil, but it’s a realistic, depressing evil. with this Ark of the Covenant scheme, he’s become an entertaining, cartoonish evil that we can feel good about watching fight our heroes;

03. it totally sets the stage for him to tangle with Indiana Jones who, let’s face it, clearly gets results. Nazis have the Ark? not for long! Nazis have the Holy Grail? denied! dimension traveling aliens on the loose in South America? well… let’s just not talk about that one. anyway, UN sanctions are fantastic and everything, but one could probably note that they’re not intensely effective. and more to the point, they’re certainly not very cinematic.

but, in the end, this is probably going to turn out to be one of those internet lies that people send me in e-mails. still, i’m holding out hope that the internet will one day reveal to me that there’s a time-traveling DeLorean out there i can possibly get my hands on.

gonna go back in time

oh yeah…

911: not actually designed for hungry people

i suppose our rant for the week will be about the fact that i really, really wish people would start taking 911 seriously. no, not the day of the terrorist attack that allows us to yell “NEVER FORGET” and then do whatever we like without fear of reprisal, but rather, the emergency telephone number that’s become such a staple of our lives. like most government services, it’s there for a clear purpose but gets abused by every last yokel out there.

now, we’ve joked about how people will call 911 for ANYTHING for so long now that i have to assume it’s common knowledge that you DON’T call 911 for basic needs. even accepting the generous notion that people may call it for things you technically wouldn’t without it being outrageous, it’s still safe to say that there have been some incidents in the last year that are, at best, uncalled for.

Flavor Flav
Flavor Flav: also on the team of guys not taking 911 very seriously

“irate woman dials 911 over lack of shrimp in fried rice”
okay, perhaps i would have a little more sympathy if we were talking about food that i ate (there is to be no shrimp in the diet of our hero janklow), but seriously, why would you think that it’s an EMERGENCY that you didn’t get more shrimp? and since we’re talking about not a total lack of shrimp, but a lack of EXTRA shrimp, we can’t be talking about a large dollar amount of damages here. $1? $2? this is the kind of thing you stop going to a restaurant for, not the kind of thing you need emergency personnel for. i mean, come on, whatever happened to storming out of a place while declaring that you’d make sure none of your friends ever shopped (or ate, whatever) there again?
highlight of this story: the completely nonchalant attitude of the restaurant employees. i mean, i guess they know they’re in the right and all.

florida woman calls 911 after McDonald’s runs out of McNuggets
ah, food i would actually eat: a McNugget! now, the thing is, the McDonald’s in question was actually screwing around with this woman: there’s no reason for them to claim “all sales are final” and deny a refund if you don’t have the item she’s trying to buy; that’s bullshit and i imagine that’s why McDonald’s as a corporation apologized for this, and that tempers my righteous indignation a slight amount. still, there’s ALSO no reason to call 911 and not only complain about the situation, but also to keep repeating “this is an emergency.” even people who have been shot and call 911 about it don’t feel the need to keep repeating that it’s an emergency. if it’s an emergency, they’ll know!
highlight of the story: the woman in question presenting the 911 call as the better option than physically attacking the counter personnel. there’s still a third option: doing neither of the above.

man calls 911 after eatery runs out of lemonade
this one is even better because while the previous two incidents at least involved a financial transaction of some kind, this one didn’t. so it’s basically a guy complaining that a Burger King a) didn’t have something he didn’t get to pay for and b) wanted to take a long time making food he, again, didn’t pay for. and if you’re calling 911 to complain about the speed of the food (15 minutes)… why not just use your 911 time to drive to another place and order there? is a police officer supposed to make them make you a Whopper at gunpoint? no, i get it, if you pull up to a drive-through and they don’t have lemonade, you should just sit there and wait for the police to arrive.
highlight of this story: the 911 operator apparently told the caller that 911 was not for customer service; rather, “911 is [for if] you’re dying.”

man calls 911 to complain about sauce left off Subway sandwich
you know, i love to make fun of Americans for their compulsive gorging and the like; we’re a fat, food-loving people, the world knows it, we know it, DOGS know it, and so on. but this is just getting ridiculous! (though it would probably help if i stopped intentionally searching the internet for such stories.) similar story – man calls 911 because Subway isn’t making his sandwiches correctly – but with the added benefit of the fact that he then called 911 AGAIN because the police didn’t arrive quickly enough. and further, the caller helpfully declared “i’m not going to sit here and pay $12 for $10 freaking sandwiches,” making it easy for me to put a value ($4 or so) on what he’s using 911 for.
highlight of this story: this sentence – “when officers arrived, they tried to calm Peterson and explain the proper use of 911. those efforts failed.” i know it refers to failing to calm him, but it still sounds funny.

okay, enough mocking people who don’t get how 911 works. let’s call this a day.

though you may not drive a great big Cadillac…

sometimes we all find life crushingly depressing, whether from work or personal problems or whatever, and that’s typically where all the heavy drinking comes in. the problem, however, comes in when you’re on the way to work and CAN’T drink… and that’s when i, personally, turn to some music to lift my spirits a little. the things is, though, not every good tune is entirely appropriate when you’re feeling blue; i love “Gimme Shelter,” but it sure as shit isn’t going to make me feel better in my bleakest moments. so it’s then that i have to fall back on a list of old reliable songs. why, one could almost make a listicle of them!


Falco, i guess
there is absolutely no way this ends well

13. the Bangles – “Manic Monday”
to be honest, i’m not sure i would have put this song on the list a short time ago, but then that incident happened last week and it just reminds me that i’m never going to be able to claim this song DOESN’T cheer me up somewhat (despite my mild disdain for the whorish narrator of the song). and yet, one week later, it’s still terribly shameful for me to admit this fact. i have no defense, whatever, i’m weird, and here it sits at the bottom of the list. let’s move on.

12. Rockwell – “Somebody’s Watching Me”
i have a bad feeling that this song is going to get ruined for me by all those omnipresent Geico commercials; still, while it lasts, i can manage to wring a massive amount of joy from the ridiculous singing/speaking/British accent mixture that’s going on here. and on a side note, i’m pretty sure this isn’t going to be the last time that one of our ongoing song obsessions appears on this list. but that’s just how we roll here at the house of hate!

11. Europe – “the Final Countdown”
see, that’s what i’m talking about! this site is so fucking redundant! eh, whatever, i’ve heard this song bashed as one of the worst songs ever, and all i can say in its defense is “oh yeah? well, whoever thinks that is the worst PERSON ever! and they have poor taste in music!” add some better insults in there as you see fit, because frankly, at this point, it’s a little childish. the synthesizers are excellent and they always brighten up my mood.

10. Falco – “Rock Me Amadeus”
okay, what’s not to like here? ridiculous Austrian lyrics that i cannot possibly understand? the weird breakdown later in the song where some lady is singing for reasons that cannot possibly be relevant to the song at hand? the fact that sometimes the radio plays me a version of this song where there’s a listing of historical events that includes the creation of this song? the fact that it ties into that “Planet Of The Apes” musical song “Dr. Xaius?” it’s a good package.

Morris Day & the Time
“introducing the greatest band in the world… Morris Day and the motherfucking Time!”

09. the Pharcyde – “Officer”
in the world of hip=hop, the Pharcyde is always going to be this promising California group that made one excellent debut album (Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde)… and then sputtered out. i mean, their subsequent releases were okay, but praising them requires a bit of justification. anyway, back to the point: the vast majority of that debut album is goofy, cheerful stuff, and “Officer,” a ridiculous tale of the group’s members driving a terrible car and getting arrested, always makes me laugh.

08. Sepultura – “Ratamahatta”
now, i’ve always preferred Roots to the rest of Sepultura’s catalog; the metal heads may tell you that Arise or Chaos A.D. are better (and i’ll never dispute that “Refuse/Resist” starting with a combination of a child’s heartbeat and the declaration to “fuck shit up” isn’t the best way to start a song OR album), but they’re wrong and i’m right – Roots is the best. the whole album has crazy Brazilian percussion going on, and to top them all, this song brings the vocal work of Carlinhos Brown to the table; i think i once described him as Brazil’s greatest natural resource. and Carlinhos and Cavalera together can cheer up anyone!

07. the Time – “Jungle Love”
now, admittedly, this is a) a little interchangeable, in that the Time have an assortment of ridiculous songs that might all qualify as far as the ability to make me cheer up, and b) probably mostly about Morris Day’s individual craziness (“Jerome, bring me my mirror,” indeed). still, this song deserves to make this list, even if it lacks the video that, say, “Jerk Out” has. but like the man said, we can’t always make a stuffed buffalo head dance. wait… what man said that?

06. De La Soul – “the Art Of Getting Jumped”
if i tell you that this is a hip-hop song with that title, you probably jumped to the conclusion that it’s some thug posturing about beating people up… and you’d be mistaken, because it’s a loving ode to getting your ass whipped, sometimes without reason or legitimate cause. maybe it’s the ridiculous “jump, jump, jump” chorus, maybe it’s the self-deprecating lyrics (“just for holding it down on the mic/you could be talking “black people unite”/and still catch a lump”), who knows? it’s always good when i’m feeling down, though.

Peter serenades Cleveland
“i want to sing a little song that kept me going when i had troubles… we were at the beach/everybody had matching towels/somebody went under a dock/and there they saw a rock/but it wasn’t a rock…”

05. Warren Zevon – “Werewolves Of London”
this is somewhat cheating in that Zevon’s got a handful of equally crazy songs (“Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” and “Excitable Boy” spring immediately to mind), and actually, it’s entirely possible his entire discography is composed of gleefully insane songs of their ilk. but “Werewolves” is always going to top them because of its distinctive crazy piano work and its ridiculous “a-hooo” shouts. plus, who doesn’t love werewolves? except for Kid Rock, who obviously loves them too much. fuck THAT guy.

04. Pink Floyd – “Eclipse”
the other day i was explaining to someone who was concerned about trying hallucinogenic drugs that if he INSISTED on taking said drugs but wanted to be sure nothing he would go wrong, he should just make sure he’s listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. and while drugs are bad, mmmkay, i stand by this fact: i have never heard anyone ever say that something bad happened to them while that album was playing. not once, not ever. “Eclipse” just happens to be the most triumphant of the songs on that album.

03. William De Vaughn – “Be Thankful For What You Got”
so there was this Washington DC area guy named William De Vaughn who made this one really, really great song (“Be Thankful For What You Got”), made an album or two of similar stuff and apparently liked to preach to his audiences (he was a Jehovah’s Witness and, well, you know how they operate), and then… that was it, he got bored with the whole recording industry and just gave it up (although i think he released a minor single in the 2000s and ruined where i’m going with this, so just ignore that). and that seems to gibe with this song. it always dulls the pain.

02. the B-52s – “Rock Lobster”
there’s this episode of Family Guy where Peter’s about to console Cleveland after Cleveland’s wife has left him, and he attempts to cheer him up with a song… which turns out to be an acoustic version of “Rock Lobster.” now this is hilarious because it’s completely random and all, but more to the point, it makes me think “wow, an acoustic version of “Rock Lobster” would absolutely cheer ME up after a sad divorce!” and i think we all know my passion for “Rock Lobster” is long established.

Curtis Mayfield
and now, with the polar opposite of the “if there’s hell below, we’re all gonna go” concept…

01. Curtis Mayfield – “Move On Up”
nothing can top this one; i’ve described this as the most cheerful song ever written, and it really, truly is. i don’t know if it’s the horns or the lyrics or what; all i know is that a) it always makes me smile, even on my worst days, and b) i’d better be sure not to overuse the restorative powers of Mayfield’s work, lest i ruin them. even Kanye West’s “Touch The Sky” achieves almost the same degree of elation thanks to its liberal sampling of the aforementioned “Move On Up.” good times.

and speaking of music making everything better… well, let me just link to this combination of Nine Inch Nails’ “Just Like You Imagined” (which is just an excellent, excellent song) and the trailer for the upcoming “Where The Wild Things Are”:

seriously, “Just Like You Imagined” makes EVERYTHING better (though it probably hasn’t convinced me to go see that film). i’m going to start syncing it up to things as we speak!