presidential election 2012 part i: the prelude to this all ending soon, we hope

one of the fundamental points that i have been absolutely harping on for some years now is that it’s really, really enough with these incredibly long, never-ending turbo-election cycles. IT IS ENOUGH. when the Irishman can joke four days prior to election 2012 that we’re “only four days away from campaign 2016” and the best one can manage is more of a sigh than a laugh because, let’s face it, that’s fucking true, it’s pretty telling. frankly, my feelings can be summed up with the following video:

i may have to vote Gary Johnson in honor of this kid.

seriously, though, i don’t know if i am just getting older and more jaded or what –i mean, i would like to presume my grouchy opinion towards the election is based on SOMETHING approaching “legitimate criticism”– but a campaign that never seems to end is REALLY killing the desire for participation in representative democracy that once existed within me (and maybe still does on good days, or when some candidate is talking reckless about my gun rights). the Republican primary dragged on and on… and then the general election dragged on and on… and in the end, if i don’t live in a battleground state, it’s not like my vote REALLY matters. and yet i had to suffer through all that. sure, it gave us some colorful moments when i was TOTALLY flipping out about Donald Trump or whoever else was being the asshole of the week, but somehow i feel that there are enough dumbasses in America for me to manage to find people to rip on without there being a presidential election going on.

perhaps this is the best way to describe how presidential elections make me feel: during season six of the Sopranos (season six, part one, if you want to be TECHNICAL about it, and no, this is not going to be some internet defense of those season(s) as great, so don’t worry), there was an episode, “Luxury Lounge,” which you may remember as a combination of “the one where Lauren Bacall gets punched in the face” and “the one where Artie Bucco gets a lot of screen time.” it’s a solid episode, all things considered, especially anything related to Little Carmine and/or Hollywood, but we’re going to be focusing on Artie Bucco here.

Arthur
Artie Bucco: prone to making poor life decisions

as a character, Artie’s all kinds of flawed; he spends a lot of this episode in a shameful mid-life crisis, at least when he’s not crying or trying to kill himself. he’s not exactly my role model. that said, there’s a part of this episode where he’s lamenting the fact that, “life’s not fair, right, i know, but somehow i believed my dad’s crap about honest work: you’ll see, it pays off in the end. what a joke.” honestly, this is the way i feel about most everything, even if that seems COMPLETELY unrelated to the election. when i was a kid, i was always told that you voted, as it was your civic responsibility and because it MATTERED. it’s important, it’s something people died to enable the rest of us to do, it’s something that people around the world can’t do, or maybe won’t ever do. but still… i’m watching guys spend 2-3 years of a four-year term campaigning for the next term. and i’m watching guys who have two-year terms spend their two years running for the next term. this is the honest work of politics that means something?

if you watch the Sopranos, you know Artie brings a LOT of shit on himself with the way he acts, so i can only presume that ultimately my apathy or negative feelings or whatever else is in play are my own fault; obviously there are issues (well, maybe issue, singular) that i actually DO care about that should keep me involved in the civic responsibility of voting. but still… if i watch the debates, i get to watch two millionaires who i cannot fathom actually give a shit about me (specifically me, not some royal “me” that represents AMERICA) at all say pretty much the same goddamn thing the other guy is saying, and while they’re talking about what they want to DO, i know they’re just saying whatever they need to say to get elected. this is something i am supposed to embrace?

so, anyway, this is rambling and clearly one of those things that makes total sense to you, the writer/speaker, but not to anyone listening, and most importantly of all, NONE OF THIS IS FUNNY (we’re going to do the joke thing next time). and it’s not like shortening the damn primaries and/or election is going to magically make me think that someone actually gives a damn about my existence in the world of politics, so i don’t know what i am even advocating here. mostly i am just tired of the whole mess.

luckily, however, post-election, people said and did some sincere nonsense, and THAT in turn will allow for actual joke-making. so sorry about this update, single reader of this site who has to be aware that i am churning out some absolute DUDS here from time to time. we’ll see what happens next week.

so i saw this ad for Alex Cross and then i TOTALLY FREAKED OUT for logical reasons

so it’s not that i am prone to hyperbole or anything –perish the thought– but i guess i should admit there are a lot of times i see something and think to myself, “well, this is simply going to be the worst thing ever.” however, as the Irishman can attest, it doesn’t ALWAYS result in me immediately informing people of how awful that something is; sometimes i manage to keep it to myself. but not this time! not in the face of this television advertisement for Alex Cross!

what the fuck did i just see? the internet needs to know my opinions immediately!

first off, i guess i didn’t realize they were making any more of these movies. i recall the first time we started doing this “putting Alex Cross in the movies for some reason” thing, when it was Morgan Freeman, who made the role work in a solid, not great, film (1997’s Kiss The Girls) and a much less solid film (2001’s Along Came A Spider). the former was your trial run, and it worked well and made a bunch of money and Morgan Freeman turned some ridiculous pulp fiction writer’s dream cop into an actual character; the latter i recall still making plenty of money, but i think we can all agree it sucked despite the inclusion of Morgan Freeman and the man born to play villains, Michael Wincott. the explanation, i suppose, is that after 11 years people have forgotten how bad Along Came A Spider was.

second… Tyler Perry? granted, i understand that when you’re a ridiculous comedic actor, at some point you’ll feel compelled to show “what you can do” and make a serious film. however, most comedic actors should not do this, and Tyler Perry, to leave aside the quality of his work, is BEYOND successful at what he does. you have nothing to prove to anyone, Mr. Perry. please don’t do this again.

anyway, let’s go back to this trailer for some specific comments:

ALEX CROSS TALKS DRAMATICALLY

00:03: so is this Tyler Perry’s “Alex Cross voice?” because i do not approve. in fact, let me say this: people often bash Christian Bale’s Batman voice and Tom Hardy’s Bane voice, but i think the former is defensible from a disguise point of view (come on, people) and the latter is defensible because, what the fuck, guys, it’s AWESOME. this Alex Cross voice, however, sounds like someone is doing his best to sound like A Serious Adult after making all those Madea movies. of course, if this is just how he sounds, i am way off base here… but then i’ll stick to just hating Tyler Perry’s voice. seems fair.

ALEX CROSS FREAKS OUT INTO A RUN

00:010: alright, so the villain has randomly threatened Tyler Perry’s Alex Cross wife, so he FREAKS OUT into the single lamest run i have ever seen in a movie. i THOUGHT Alex Cross was supposed to be this deep-thinking, calm and composed cerebral cop, so that’s the first problem i have with his “OMG RUN LIKE A MANIAC THROUGH THIS RESTAURANT EVEN THOUGH THE THREAT IS VAGUE” reaction. but beyond that, just look how fucking stupid Perry looks. it’s pathetic. i guess he’s worried, but consider that the reason why people lapped up Taken is that Liam Neeson has no time to look concerned because he’s too busy looking like MURDER.

ALEX CROSS MAKES THIS SPEECH ... DRAMATICALLY

00:14: now, i am not going to read any James Patterson books, so i will just say this: the whole line of “I will meet his soul at the gates of hell before I’ll let him take a person that I love” sounds BEYOND lame, whether or not it’s being declared in Perry’s “Alex Cross voice.” i don’t know if it’s a quote from the book (hopefully i will never know the answer to this question) or something cheesy that’s been cobbled together for the film, but it fucking sucks. that said, if this movie is going to furiously suck –and i have every reason to believe that it will– then i guess we should embrace the terrible, terrible dialogue. and ponder this: if it’s in the ads, it’s supposed to be the AWESOME BAD-ASS LINE from the film. how much lower can we go?

ALEX CROSS SHOOTS THIS GUN ... DRAMATICALLY

00:19: is this an action move? is Tyler Perry just falling down awkwardly because his physique was not designed to shoot shotguns at creepy versions of Matthew Fox? and hang on: is Alex Cross supposed to do action stuff? i don’t recall him doing action stuff in the first few movies (although it has probably been a little while since i have seen them), so what gives? but let’s assume this is an action scene because Tyler Perry has been running a LOT so far in this trailer: THIS LOOKS AWFUL. i cannot watch it much longer, and yet i cannot look away.

ALEX CROSS SUCCESSFULLY RUINS THE VILLAIN'S DEEP MOMENT

00:24: okay, i have very mixed feelings about this hero-villain exchange:

villainous version of Matthew Fox: “when setting off on the path of revenge, dig two graves”
Alex Cross version of Mabel “Madea” Simmons: (in Alex Cross voice) “as long as you’re in one of them.”

on the one hand, once again, this is some lame dialogue that i cannot exactly place the blame for; please see the 00:14 section. on the other hand, if the villain was to drop this cheesy line on you, the hero, i think the only appropriate thing to do is deflate his ego by coming back at him with some shitty line like “AS LONG AS YOU’RE IN ONE OF THEM.”

unrelated note: i hope Matthew Fox has killed Alex Cross’ wife early in this movie, because that level of trauma is the only thing that would justify Alex Cross transmogrifying into Tyler Perry and acting like a fucking idiot. SPOILER ALERT: i have no idea, but some brief internet research leads me to believe that this did actually happen. EXCELLENT.

STUPID FUCKING EXPLOSION

00:25: i don’t have much to say here other than that this shot looks stupid as hell. moving on!

ALEX CROSS WALKS OUT THE DOOR ... SASSILY

00:28: …and let me close it out by saying that i don’t think Morgan Freeman would have brought such a sassy walk to the role. there’s a time and a place for everything, Tyler Perry, to include sassy walks, but this is not the time!

anyway, i’m also upset to learn that Idris Elba was the original choice for this role before the downgrade to Tyler Perry happened, but in fairness, i don’t think the problem is Tyler Perry. i think the problem is that i don’t want to live in a world spent 45 MILLION DOLLARS making this garbage happen. sadness accrues!

the update in which Dayton Callie beating a man senseless in a Western television program best expresses my feelings of sadness and rage

actually, let me start this a different way:

so my mother is one of these middle-aged ladies who’s getting more into football as she gets older; i’m not EXACTLY sure how this happens, but it happened to my grandmother, so maybe there’s some genetic thing at work there. anyway, there’s always something here or there that she doesn’t quite grasp because this fandom is more recent; this week, as she’s a Washington fan who just watched some Falcons attempt to crush RG3’s skull like an egg and then seem PLEASED about it afterwards, she wanted me to explain if they REALLY wanted to hurt RG3 and if they REALLY meant it when they implied they wanted to. the answer, of course, is a bit of a grey area as i see it, but it did make me realize one thing: i fucking hate Tony Siragusa.

Tony
if there is any justice in the universe, he’ll get that finger caught in a garbage disposal

now, this is PROBABLY pretty predictable: i’m a Raiders fan, Tony Siragusa is a terrible human being that knocked Rich Gannon out of the AFC Championship game and thus out of the playoffs/Super Bowl contention during that last magical phase (so many years gone at this point) when the Raiders had a REALLY GOOD TEAM. during that time, however, we got fucked by Bill Callahan being a terrible human being who i would fight on sight, we got fucked by the Tuck Rule, and we got fucked by Tony Siragusa. don’t get me wrong, i don’t want to be one of those fans who’s crying about a good time in our history, as that can be oh so insufferable, but let me just say, if you couldn’t tell, that all of those things make me flip the hell out. especially Tony Siragusa.

so what brought this up again? well, perhaps this Deadspin piece, pleasing titled “Tony Siragusa Says He Never Wanted To Hurt Anyone. Tony Siragusa Is A Liar.” i don’t want to be redundant, because the article makes all the points i would like to (and probably better, go read it), but let me just reiterate the main points:

01. Tony Siragusa was on Howard Stern, promoting his new book
presumably written by someone else, of course, because between his television act of being a stereotypically crude man and what i believe to be his ACTUAL persona of “raging idiot who is exactly like his television persona, only not as bright,” there’s basically no way he wrote the book himself. but hell, what athlete actually does, am i right?

02. Tony Siragusa claimed “”You don’t mess with guys’ livelihoods,” he said. “You don’t go out and say, ‘Listen, we’re going to try to hurt this guy.’ Like, you know. You don’t play the game of football to try and hurt somebody.””
which, let’s be honest, sounds like a contradiction based on the way he played AND the way he acted after incidents like the one where he, say, hit Rich Gannon cheaply and injured him, and then got pissed off when people criticized him for it. now, okay, i grant you that men can change their minds once they stop playing and gain a little perspective. but usually what happens is they realize how shitty their actions were and express it in a way where they recognize what they did WAS wrong, and that they think differently now. claiming you’ve always been about the clean, injury-free play is something else entirely.

also, please note also that his inability to express even strategic false remorse (something like “you hate to see a guy injured like that”) after a circumstance like that injury makes it clear that he’s a raging idiot AND a shitty human being.

Tony
yeah, this image really makes me want to cry

03. we watch the video of Rich Gannon getting injured by Tony Siragusa
i could not find a great video of this to link, so again, the Deadspin article has the video embedded, i recommend you check it out.

04. Howard Stern presses Siragusa on this issue, Siragusa contradicts himself shamelessly

“When you go in and take out a quarterback, you’re doing everything you can to slam that motherfucker as hard as you can,” Stern said.
“Oh, yeah, absolute—I mean, you want to go,” Siragusa said. “Do you want to hurt him? Noo.
“Like when I hit Rich Gannon in the AFC championship game against the Raiders, and I, you know, and, I, you know, whatever, hurt his shoulder, dislocated, whatever, whatever it was.”
…”You weren’t happy about it,” Stern said.
“I wasn’t, like, trying to hurt the guy,” Siragusa said. “Yeah, did I want him to know that I was there? Yeah. Did I want to get him out of the game? Yeah. Did I want to hurt him? No.”

so let me see if i understand this: Siragusa DID want Gannon to “know he was there,” something that has to translate to “i wanted to hit Gannon hard and painfully,” because it’s not like you could miss that 342-pound turd on the Ravens defensive line, and Siragusa DID want to “get [Gannon] out of the game,” something that can only be accomplished by a) making him play so badly that he got pulled (unlikely, as Gannon was the fucking man during this era) or b) injuring him, probably with some kind of cheap shot (likely, as this is exactly what happened) … but Siragusa did NOT want to hurt him?

to quote Chris Rock, please cut the fucking shit, okay?

05. Scocca reminds us of Siragusa’s comments at the time
–on media row, pre-Super Bowl: “It’s not like I was trying to hurt him, but I was definitely trying to go after him,” which is simply more of the same bullshit where he’s trying to have it both ways, and which makes me think that if he was at least HONEST about it, it would, sadly, be an improvement;
–during the same media session, regarding his $10000 fine for that hit: “All year long they train us to go in there and hit people, beat people. Half the T-shirts you see say, ‘Sack Master’ or ‘Quarterback Killer,’ but all of a sudden you hit the quarterback and knock him out of the game, they want to fine you,” which is NOT a remorseful or adult statement, but which IS a guy who go himself a Super Bowl ring, and a bonus that surely exceeded $10000, by illegally injuring another player before being a fucking liar about the whole thing.

am i over it? not at all. fuck Tony Siragusa, fuck Tony Siragusa, fuck Tony Siragusa. i’m sure he was an asshole as a kid, an asshole as a college player, an asshole as a professional player, and an asshole now. some people you can simply TELL are that way, and making them giant and pampered star athletes has never, ever done anything positive about that. to put it another way, i am good at first impressions, and Tony Siragusa is a cunt. fuck it, i’ll just use this as an analogy:

in which Francis Wolcott is Tony Siragusa. if you’re not familiar with Deadwood, okay, i admit you’re lacking some context, but that really just means you should watch more Deadwood. and that i am not over that game at all.

next week: maybe less rage? eh, that seems unlikely.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to this guy with the saddest pair of sweatpants in America

recently, because i live the kind of turbo-cool lifestyle i need to post about on the internet the MOMENT it happens, i did this thing where i saw something colorful happen (a ridiculous individual who was INCREDIBLY excited about his awkward scooter), posted mockingly about it on the internet (go go social networking, the gift that keeps on giving, if by giving you mean “this shit has never done anything of consequence for us), and THEN proceeded to do the “Bruce McCullough’s idea” thing with the event. it was sort of a cross between an actual update and something i spent 13 seconds crafting on Facebook to get some cheap laughs (and it at least got a couple), and frankly, while i am not that proud of it … eh, it’s an update. i think it worked out okay.

…and so i’ve decided to do the exact same thing: sad observation followed by salty internet observation followed by the “Bruce McCullough’s idea” thing. it can only get old if someone reads it and decides to tell me it’s gotten old. and this will never happen!

and now, janklow with an open letter to the sweatpants-wearing gentleman i witnessed making fun of an outfit worn by a random woman he worked with.

someone's sweatpants, i guess
fuck you, sweatpants, fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? do you not comprehend the contradiction between looking like a ridiculous mess and calling someone else out for dressing like a ridiculous mess? did you think your awful attempt at comedy was worth making such a contradiction come to pass in a world where we ought to place some value on logic and reason?

so basically, if i can lay out the background for this rant, what happened was that our hero overheard a large man in an office setting begin to make fun of the outfit being worn by a female co-worker of his. in my humble opinion, this situation raises a series of problems.

I. the issue of being so fucking loud
granted, i have been identified as “too sensitive” on occasion by an old lady who is usually very nice and kind, but who is clearly wrong and maybe a jerk on this point where i am being called too sensitive, because to hell with THAT. however, either way, i view it like this: even IF i am too sensitive, there’s a point where i think one should note their behavior is inappropriate in an office. this joke-making man, however, believes that every conversation he has should take place at a maximum volume, including the one where he’s making fun of how a woman is dressed.

now, let’s say this was all 100% joke: don’t you think it sounds different to walk up to a lady’s work area and, at a volume correct for one-on-one conversations, playfully tease her about her apparel choices, as opposed to screaming about them so loudly that someone like, say, your narrator can hear the whole exchange fifty feet away even though he has NOTHING to do with this matter? because the former implies a friendly relationship, whereas the latter is basically you being a giant bully… and this is presuming you’re actually just a loud-as-hell friend and not a jerk. and then…

II. the issue of looking and dressing like a disgrace
leaving aside the issue of volume, if one is going to start mocking a woman’s outfit out of nowhere (let us note that this classy gent approached the woman and launched immediately into his joke-making), i would hope that person would at LEAST not be a disgrace of a man whose idea of a classy outfit is a tastefully-soiled t-shirt tucked into a pair of sweatpants that can be charitably described as “inadvertently skin-tight” or perhaps “threatening to dissolve completely,” both of which seem to be the result of one’s body being composed of what appears to be some kind of Lovecraftian horror, or maybe a whole lot of sausage. or maybe a whole lot of horrifying Lovecraftian sausage? (the latter part of this paragraph is verbatim what i used before because, hey, should you tamper with perfection?)

now, to be fair, you can dress like a bum or Chechen warlord (guilty on both counts, i think) and still recognize that someone else is dressed poorly, just like you can be in terrible shape and note that someone else is as well. but typically, the 600-pound man realizes he’s not in a position to walk up to a 500-pound man and start ripping on him for being chubby. so when your clothes look like they’re being tortured for their past sins (to whatever extent someone’s clothes can have sins, i guess), you should MAYBE resist the urge to bash clothes being worn by someone else for being ill-fitting. didn’t you notice that situation in the mirror that morning?

III. the issue of randomly mocking the way ladies dress at all
in short, it’s pretty much lame to be doing this, no matter what. okay, okay, there are always going to be woman who are dressing in ways they absolutely should NOT be, and it’s pretty likely that i will violate my “LEAVE THOSE WOMEN ALONE” policy by mocking the hell out of those women. so perhaps the lesson is more along the lines of “if you’re going to do this, actually be funny.” because honestly, the greatest crime committed by those making lame jokes is that of not being funny.

if everyone was really looking forward to a severe breakdown of a Rosie O’Donnell blog post, dreams are about to come true

one of these days, i’m going to do an “updates i am most proud of” listicle in order to crank out an update without having to do NEW work: it’s going to be a cheap clip show of a move, but it’ll also probably be dominated by the really random updates that have come out of nowhere: as a teaser, i would probably throw Frank Vincent: possibly a vampire?, here’s a gem, here’s a dragon, now the dragon’s dead, now your iron deficiency’s cured, OKAY, and kanye west’s best production, volume two: now with 100% more over-the-top emotion on the list, for various reasons, all of them crazy.

and that brings us to today’s update: the one about the time where i read a Rosie O’Donnell blog post (for some reason) about her helping an enormous woman and then having a heart attack (you may be finding large portions of this unsurprising) and then just started riffing and be-bopping and scatting (not to mention losing it) all over it. let us begin!

Rosie O'Donnell
is this Rosie O’Donnell, celebrity comedienne, or “an enormous woman struggling to get out of her car?” YOU DECIDE

Rosie O’Donnell unsurprisingly suffers a heart attack

now, let me be fair: i don’t mean that in the most mean-spirited way possible, even though, to be perfectly frank, when i think back upon all the kindness that i have attempted, i recall always being punished for them. anyway, anyway, let’s focus: what i’m saying is that if Rosie O’Donnell WAS going to die and/or suffer an ailment, doesn’t “heart attack” seem pretty likely? there you. now., the thing is, to get into this, we have to suffer through the ABSURD way she writes on her blog. and really, who writes on a fucking blog anymore? compose yourself dear readers/reader/absent space representative only of my enduring disappointment in humanity, here we go:

“my heart attack
August 20, 2012

its a semi-sunny monday
the light bouncing off the flat hudson
mish is sitting next to me
i am happy to be alive”

COMPOSE YOURSELVES! WE CAN MAKE IT THROUGH THIS IF EVERYONE WILL FUCKING FOCUS AND NO ONE PANICS.
(also, if it makes this work better, picture me as General Woundwort screaming to come back, you fools, dogs aren’t dangerous, come back and fight!)

“last week i had a heart attack
here is what happened
on tuesday morning
while walking in a parking lot in nyack”

so far there’s absolutely nothing surprising about this, but let’s be honest, i’ve driving this “Rosie O’Donnell is heavy and thus prone to be victimized by a heart attack” thing into the ground already, and we’ve barely gotten started. CONTINUING.

“i heard a loud commanding voice
“can u help me”
more of a demand than request
a challenge – a plea”

we’re all over the map on this one, Rosie. i SUPPOSE we’re trying to convey the mixture of the ‘demand’ and the ‘plea’ at the same time, and in absolute fairness, “can you help me” reads as thoroughly plaintive, but could obviously sound a little different. but look, i can only work with what she gives me and i find it ridiculous to try and smash together that plea with that description. i just won’t do it!

“i turned and saw an enormous woman
struggling to get out of her car”

i am absolutely TORN here between a) pointing out the unmitigated gall of Rosie O’Donnell to call any other woman enormous, b) acknowledging that given Rosie’s size, this may be a fair description of a truly titan-sized woman struggling to get out of a car, and c) making the easy joke about this part of the story being a misunderstanding where Rosie caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror of some sort. the last is the most childish, and so it’s what i would normally prefer.

in fact, we could use it to go into a whole fictionalized scenario where Rosie sees this “enormous woman” is ALSO eating a giant ham sandwich, and even though she herself is eating her own giant ham sandwich, she insists on attempting to also have the giant ham sandwich belonging to the “enormous woman,” causing both sandwiches to be lost forever in the water somehow. and see, even though i was being very childish, we have all learned a valuable lesson not borrowed from Aesop at all!

“she was stuck”

this… this is a thing that happens to enormous people and it’s always shamefully funny. and that’s a sincere acknowledgment that i will ALWAYS feel guilty about laughing at an enormous person stuck somewhere (say, in their car) and i will still always fail to not laugh about it. to quote Malice back when he was Malice and not this current No Malice situation, that’s how i, janklow, know that i ain’t shit. i’ve never sold drugs in Virginia, so i have to find my own situations to apply his lyrics to, you see.

“”can u help me? she asked again
as i walked toward her
“oh u r rosie odonnell”
yes i am”

i suppose one of the nice things about being as distinctive a celebrity as Rosie O’Donnell is that you never, NEVER get mistaken for another celebrity and have that awkward moment where you’re trying to explain who you actually are: you’re a little offended that you’ve been mistaken for someone else, possibly more so if that celebrity is worse at what they do than you are; you don’t want to come off as egotistical by pointing out and inadvertently praising your own work, yet have no better way to clarify your identity; and you’re forced to explain something to someone whose existence is SO close to meaningless and thus waste your precious time. it’s just a mess all around!

…and to be frank, that’s not heavy sarcasm, i am actually arguing that the average dude’s life is essentially meaningless compared to even low-grade flash-in-the-pan C-list celebrities. let me use myself as an example: i’ve certainly done little things that were good or meaningful or constructive in my small scale way, or at least, i’d like to think i have. and soon, i will die and no one will give a shit about me or anything i have ever done. EVER. meanwhile, Rebecca Black will always have a slight footnote somewhere for all that “Friday.” i’m not bitter; this is how it goes.

“the ghost of christmas future
me – if i did not wake
there r no accidents i thought
as i braced myself and lifted her”

i just have no idea what’s supposed to be going on here up until the part about her bracing herself and SUPPOSEDLY lifting this enormous woman. maybe it’s late and i’m tired; maybe i’m being deliberately obtuse: either way, i don’t understand this nonsense at all.

“it was not easy
but together we did it
she was up and on her way
with gratitude”

oh, so we go from Rosie lifting this enormous woman to teamwork? i sense some flaws in this narrative. picture my reaction to this remark in the following manner: it’s Sopranos season two, episode thirteen, “Funhouse.” we’re on the ‘new boat,” in this scenario, i’m Tony and Rosie is Big Pussy (this where i digress and scream “DON’T LAUGH” in your face in the manner of Jack Nicholson in the Departed; we’re not really going for that joke); Rosie’s “lifting this enormous woman” story is Big Pussy’s “giving this hot Puerto Rican girl cunnilingus” story. we all laugh along, supposed good times… and then i turn cold. “this enormous woman, Rosie … did she even fucking exist?”

ah… such an unnecessary level of unoriginal imagery!

“a few hours later my body hurt
i had an ache in my chest
both my arms were sore
everything felt bruised”

to be honest, i bet i would feel that way myself if i helped an enormous woman get unstuck from a car, and i’m not even a 50-year-old comedienne in poor physical shape. so nothing about this really seems odd, you know?

“muscular – i thought
strained or pulled tissue
i went about my day
the pain persisted”

…and Rosie agrees with me! WE BRIEFLY ACHIEVE MOTHERFUCKING SYNCHRONICITY. wait, no we don’t, that’s a completely unrelated philosophical concept! but doesn’t it sound like it’s the right term? would anyone know it wasn’t if i hadn’t pointed this out? well, okay, for that to happen, someone would have to be reading this, which seems unlikely, i admit. let’s just keep it moving.

“i became nauseous
my skin was clammy
i was very very hot
i threw up”

cheap joke alert: this is, word for word, a description of how i felt when i was picturing a sweaty Rosie O’Donnell struggling mightily with unsticking an enormous woman from her car. okay, not really, but i just have a need to get every piece of low-hanging comedy fruit today.

“maybe this is a heart attack
i googled womens heart attack symptoms
i had many of them
but really? – i thought – naaaa”

see, and here’s the thing: most anyone can have a heart attack, even if you’re young, even if you’re in shape. but if you’re fifty and overweight? and financially secure enough and with flexible enough time that a trip to the doctor, even if it results in somewhat expensive testing, wouldn’t really be an imposition? come the fuck on, Rosie, this was just ridiculous.

“i took some bayer aspirin
thank god
saved by a tv commercial
literally”

i know what she means when she says “literally,” i really, really do: that the ONLY reason she took the aspirin was that she’d seen the ad, and she wouldn’t have taken the aspirin if it wasn’t for the ad, so the ad saved her. i get it! but the aspirin is what literally saved you, Rosie, THE BAYER ASPIRIN! even if it makes me an asshole to argue this point –and we can just go ahead and assume that it does, because there is absolutely no reason not to do so– i don’t fucking care. i don’t care! what’s the percentage in not being an asshole about this? can’t you let me go to hell the way i want to?

“i did not call 911
50% of women having heart attacks never call 911
200,000 women die of heart attacks
every year in the US”

well, those statistics are certainly something… but then people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Rosie. 14% of all people know that.

“by some miracle i was not one of them
the next day i went to a cardiologist
the dr did an EKG and sent me to the hospital
where a stent was put in
my LAD was 99% blocked
they call this type of heart attack
the Widow maker
i am lucky to be here”

…which further proves my point about this whole “Rosie O’Donnell pops into the doctor’s office not being a big fucking deal for her” thing that i was talking about earlier, especially since she gives us no indication as to WHY she suddenly decided to go to said doctor.

“know the symptoms ladies
listen to the voice inside
the one we all so easily ignore
CALL 911
save urself”

honestly, i think this ham-fisted closing kind of kills the serious, sincere vibe we had going on. that said, i think i’ve decided to try and turn “know the symptoms, ladies” into my new catchphrase somehow. i mean, i have no idea how i’m going to do this, but let’s see if we can make it happen, okay? okay. and that will do it for this week.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea and relate it to this guy with a scooter

recently, our hero janklow was at one of the local fueling stations here in semi-rural Maryland (admittedly, this introduction does not speak of the most exciting lifestyle being possessed by yours truly) when i witnessed a rather large man who was fervently singing the praises of his mode of transport to several people, most of which appeared not to know who the hell this guy was, outside of the gas station. this is weird, but not SAD, i suppose… until you realize that said mode of transport was a bright blue scooter (brand not recalled because, let’s face it, who gives a damn about scooters). now, look, it’s a free country and you drive what you like, but i am still going to call it ridiculous.

and now, janklow with an open letter to the morbidly obese gentleman i witnessed extolling the virtues of his scooter to random people at a gas station.

random blue scooter
fuck you, scooters, fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? do you not realize how ridiculous you look or sound? i know there’s something to be said for not getting wrapped up in the views and opinions of others, but i think we’re going well beyond the acceptable standard for that when we start to co-sign nonsense like “living the kind of lifestyle that involves a grown man motoring around on a bright blue scooter!”

look, let me tell you some things i understand about scooters:

01. they get phenomenal gas mileage. yes, random scooter guy, i heard you making this point, and i know it’s correct. in fact, i used to work with ANOTHER guy who rode a scooter to work and spent a lot of time defending this decision to those of us who would taunt and boo him until our throats were sore. his major (and possibly only) point was that he got some unrealistic amount of miles per gallon from that scooter; i don’t remember what it was, but let’s say he claimed it was hundreds of miles per gallon. my counterpoint is very simple: great, but this doesn’t change any of the NEGATIVE stuff i’m about to say about scooters. and it’s not like your only choices in life are “awful, awful scooter” or “giant, gas-guzzling pick-up truck.”

so sir, while i admit that scooter must get phenomenal gas mileage, it’s still a scooter and the combination of you and it look completely ridiculous.

02. they lack the aspects of a car that protect you from the weather and/or other drivers. remember that co-worker i mentioned? he would drive to work ON THE GODDAMN BELTWAY on this scooter. forget how you look or the lack of comfort (i can’t imagine a scooter is as comfortable to drive long distances as a car is), what about the harsh elements and/or psychos driving into you with their motor vehicles? my economy-class car might not provide me THAT much protection… but it’s still going to handle a collision with another car better than a scooter will. and yeah, guys manage to drive motorcycles in the cold and the rain and so on, but i think we all know they have to acknowledge and accept those things. that’s why, for example, they dress the way they do, although even that results in people being mocked furiously for their over-the-top “motorcycle outfits.”

so sir, given the lack of protection that scooter will give your bloated physique, i cannot fathom what would occur were you to ride it, say, on the beltway in rush hour in a storm … except that i actually can, and i picture it prominently featuring the recovery of your ill-used corpse.

03. you look RIDICULOUS on a scooter. everyone does, that’s part of what you embrace when you decide to become a scooter guy. that said –and this is not to rag excessively on the plus-sized members of the American tribe– there’s still a difference between a regular guy on a scooter and a guy who weighs 300+ pounds on a scooter. let us not pretend we don’t know what i am talking about.

and finally…

04. there’s no reason to be so goddamn EXCITED about your scooter. you know what kind of things are suitable for making you run around and accost random dudes at a gas station for the purpose of demanding they listen to you? having a child, i guess, and maybe winning the lottery, although the latter might just get you kidnapped. THAT IS THE LIST. when i get a new gun, i’m turbo-excited about it, but i don’t run around demanding people who i have never met listen to my heated extolling of how wonderful those guns are. although i suppose that would make you sound a little crazier than ranting about your scooter.

so in closing, sir, i hate your scooter SO MUCH. and speaking of things i am not supposed to rave at random gas station customers about…

Tantal & M57

things got very Soviet-style-but-not-quite-Soviet around here this time of year with this adorable little Tantal (kind of like an AK-74, but more Polish) and a companion in the Yugoslavian M57 (kind of like a Tokarev, but with better magazine and safety features). now, if only the support for AK-74 clones was as robust as the support for AK-47 clones. oh well…

spring 2012 disgust with politics, part I: in which Newt Gingrich does not fully realize that he is a patsy

i have been avoiding talking about politics because i find them pointless and depressing and blah blah blah. ever since Cory Booker walked back from a middle-of-the-road call for civility in debate so that he could get back to a partisan position, i’ve been thinking that MAYBE my regular annoyance with politics would result in my bursting out with a sincerely aggrieved post on the matter, but i have been able to resist until now. UNTIL NOW. let’s get this over with so that i can lapse back into not giving a damn about politics as hard as i can.

Kevin Spacey, i think
i don’t often listen to convicted felons for advice, but when i do… wait, when i do, i realize that’s fucking stupid and i stop

pro-transparency liberal group United Republic won’t disclose donors

the problem with commenting/complaining about hypocrisy in politics is that your righteous indignation can be easily punctured with remarks along the lines of, “well, what else did you expect?” which, honestly, is a fair point: what else DO i expect from politicians than a high-level, expensive version of “do as we say, not as we do,” right? that being said, i think i might be able to round up a slight amount of outrage for this one:

“The progressive non-profit advocacy group United Republic, which is dedicated to rooting out “big money in politics,” has failed to disclose its big-money donors despite numerous promises to do so. The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), which opposes restrictions on political speech, said United Republic should be more open if it wants to fulfill its stated purpose. “It’s a bit ironic,” said CCP president David Keating in an interview with the Free Beacon. “If they’re doing that, then they should be willing to disclose their donors.””

well, to start, let’s get this out of the way: i am SURE there’s an element of partisan politics at work here, what with one side being progressive and bearing the name “United Republic” and the other being the self-unaware “CCP,” which i suppose espouses a conservative brand of “may the best man win” regarding funding political speech. here’s the thing: i don’t give a shit about all that. what i care about is a basic concept: if your advocacy group stands for primarily one thing –transparency in politics, in this case– then i think you should stand for that, that’s all.

“United Republic launched in November. The organization comprises a coalition of groups, such as Dylan Ratigan’s “Get Money Out,” that share the “goal of ending the domination of Big Money over the political process.” Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff joined the organization in February and now writes for its blog, Republic Report.”

two things:

–is this just another example of a group bitching about funding and “big money” and meaning “the money of those we don’t agree with” when to the average man, said group is funded by the same kind of elitist wealth? ultimately, we’re probably not going to resolve this, since the article seems to be implying United Republic will not tell us, but i think you see where i am going with this;

–ah, we’ve brought in disgraced lobbyist Kevin Spacey (wait, is it Jack Abramoff? i get them confused) to show us the error of our ways. you know, since he’s a notorious criminal who helped corrupt politics to the best of his ability and for his own personal gain, and… oh yeah. well, anyway, he clearly paid an incredibly high price for that, what with him being quickly out of prison and touted on the internet and… oh yeah. anyway, here’s the thing: much like Victor Conte, why do people think these kinds of guys, even granting their intimate knowledge of the topic(s) they cover, don’t just attach an easily-attacked figure to their cause?

“United Republic claims it “is funded by hundreds of individual donors and foundations, big and small, who understand that nearly every issue Americans care about is held hostage by well-financed special interests.” United Republic’s first-year budget is somewhere between $5 million and $10 million, according to National Journal. The identities of the special interests bankrolling United Republic are unknown.”

now, call me nuts, but 5-10 million dollars in a yearly budget from sources admitted to include big as well as small sounds to me like yet another well-financed special interest kicking in 9.9 of the 10 million. i suppose this COULD be resolved by identifying the donors, of course.

“Many non-profit advocacy groups that engage in political activity do not disclose their donors. United Republic is different, however, because it regularly promises to disclose. The Fund for the Republic, United Republic’s 501(c)(3) arm, states on its website: “Because we advocate for transparency in political spending, we ask that our own donors be transparent as well. While we don’t post donors’ names publicly, we like to provide them upon request.” United Republic did not return numerous requests by the Free Beacon for information about its donors, however.”

frankly, this IS almost a dazzling level of hypocrisy. look, i am sure there are donors who legitimately only want to hide their personal information and there might be some shred of a justification for it… but maybe, MAYBE if you’re not prepared to do the thing that you not only want others to do, but also explicitly promise to do on your website, you MIGHT want to dial back your rhetoric a little.

the article goes on to provide some specific examples of United Republic operating in this line:
–United Republic staffers confronting a Media Research Center staffer over their donors being connected to ALEC while refusing to tell MRC who funds United Republic;
–United Republic again going out of their way to post on Twitter that they were posting their donors, and then not doing so, furthering this ridiculous self-inflicted wound concept;
–United Republic’s co-founder/CEO Josh Silver failing to disclose meetings pre-United Republic (but presumably similar in concept) and currently, while possibly meeting with the Democracy Alliance.

so again, yeah, a lot of this is undoubtedly partisan politics between the groups in question, but unfortunately for at least me, it’s also yet another reason why people don’t believe in all these politics.

O'Malley versus Gingrich: THE CONFLICT CONTINUES
O’Malley watches Gingrich intently, knowing that at any moment, the former Speaker might try to eat him

O’Malley talks 2012 presidential race, gets advice for 2016

okay, this one will do (although i must apologize for linking to the Baltimore Sun, in that it has one of those annoying halfway pay-wall things going on these days). let’s just fire it up:

“For close observers of MD Gov. Martin O’Malley, the most interesting part of his 17 minute segment this morning on Meet the Press came at the end. Host David Gregory revealed there was “a reason” that he asked both O’Malley and Newt Gingrich, a failed presidential candidate, to be guests on the show.”

let’s be clear: the REAL reason is that Newt Gingrich has devolved into this ugly political whore. he’s willing to spar with O’Malley because whether or not he can best O’Malley in any kind of televised debate –and personally, i think his debate prowess is overrated on the grounds that his major success seemed to be attacking the moderators, which gets an audience response, but is not REALLY debate skill– he gets attention either way. he CRAVES attention. also, a serious Republican political figure with any hope of a future in a Romney administration or the post-election Republican mass of sadness would not be caught on television serving as a punching bag for a Democrat golden boy right now.

there’s other things too. put a pin in that for right now, we may come back to them.

“Given the “buzz” that O’Malley has his eye on the White House, what advice, Gregory asked, could Gingrich provide Maryland’s governor about running for president in 2016?”

the buzz? i suppose if by “buzz” you mean “the fact that the Democrats have been prepping him for national elections for YEARS now.”

“Gingrich had a snappy reply: “Raise a lot of money.” The former House Speaker has $4.8 million in debt from his campaign, according to the Washington Post. Gingrich also said to expect “two or three years on the road” for a serious presidential run. “This has been a brutal, tough process,” Gingrich said. “If you are not tough enough to get to the presidency, you are not tough enough to be president.””

several points:

01. note that Gingrich does not comment on the facts that he’s left his campaign with that massive amount of debt; that large portions of it were racked up well after there was any point in him continuing to campaign; that it’s likely to be unpaid for years to come; and that it might –and i say might because i don’t know– include the debt from when that he sold his own campaign mailing lists. so it’s not JUST about raising a lot of money, you see.

02. this whole “two or three years on the road” thing is a big part of the problem. we should NOT be spending two or three years running for fucking President. look, if the election is in 2016, and you spend three years running for it, then you’re basically kicking off your campaign RIGHT after the previous election, which means that even if it’s just you pressing the flesh and getting the word out and the actual President ignores you to run the country for some time, i’m STILL going to have to hear about it, and that’s what i truly mind the most. all this running for President should be done the year of the election. period.

also, it’s funny that Gingrich, a man who did not take the time to build lasting post-Speaker connections with Republicans across America the way someone like Nixon after the loss to JFK did, would seem to give this “spend years on it” advice considering how half-assed his OWN supposedly serious run was. but maybe Gingrich just loves contradiction?

03. it’s obvious that someone not tough enough to get the nomination and win the election isn’t tough enough to be President, Newt, because we JUST acknowledged with that build-up that said someone was not tough enough to get the nomination, let alone win the election. i know you think that’s a cute soundbite, but it just sounds lame and redundant to me.

“When the camera turned to O’Malley, the governor demurred. “I haven’t even thought that far.” O’Malley, who is also chair of the Democratic Governors Association, said he’s “focused” on his current national role. “Doing everything in my power to elect Democratic governors.” Since taking on the top post at the DGA at the end of 2010, O’Malley has become increasingly engaged in national politics. He’s crisscrossed the country speaking at state-level Democratic party events (next weekend includes stops in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine) and he’s become a regular guest on cable and Sunday political talk shows.”

LIES LIES LIES. look, i actually DO believe that right now his primary goal is the whole Democratic governors thing… in as much as this is his political stepping stone toward the presidency. it’s that whole “building support in the party” thing that Gingrich seems to have forgotten about. however, i definitely subscribe to a Wire-based view of O’Malley in which he’s only focused on attaining and serving in his current role as long as it takes him to realize he COULD aspire to a higher one. in fairness, the incredibly entrenched Democrat machine in Maryland has ensured nothing has happened that would dissuade him from this view.

“As during other national TV appearances, O’Malley was meticulously prepared. He showed a firm grasp of Mitt Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts — but also had a handle on the lines of attack Gingrich had used against Romney. Gregory asked if Obama will come across as “anti-business” by attacking Romney’s time at the helm of Bain Capital, a private equity firm. “No, I don’t believe that,” O’Malley said. “I agree with Speaker Gingrich.” O’Malley reminded viewers that Romney had initially taken credit for creating “hundreds of thousands of jobs” while at Bain. “A claim that he eventually backed off of under the Speaker’s questioning,” O’Malley said.”

back to that pin. see, Gingrich, the OTHER reason is that you appearing on Meet The Press in this manner allows O’Malley to attack Romney on behalf of Obama (earning O’Malley points and helping Obama dodge the mud-slinging that drags down favorable ratings) AND rehash the attacks Gingrich made on Romney. well-played, O’Malley, well-played. i don’t think Gingrich even realizes any of this.

see, Gingrich is still in the throes of sadness over his ego being denied, so he’s not fully aware that it’s obvious to everyone that a) he doesn’t really like Romney, as he’ll always be someone who denied Gingrich what was “rightfully his”; b) he doesn’t really care if his attacks drag Romney down because he’s mainly focused on after an election where Romney loses to Obama so that Gingrich can strut around telling everyone how they should have listened to him. however, it DOES remind me of how disappointed i am in politics.

…given that i still have a little rage left, i think i’ll continue this next time. until then, picturing me burning with my unending rage.

the most amazing accessory in video game history: Brøderbund’s U-Force! just kidding, U-Force, you’re terrible

as my Irish sidekick knows all too well, sometimes i get going on some ridiculous rant that seems funny at the time (at least to us), only to ultimately realize that while i’d LIKE to replicate said rant for the internet, i will never be able to. at best, i’ll try, but be unable to think of some very specific moments from the rant that were truly funny (or at the very least THINK i am unable to) and thus always having the nagging feeling of not doing it correctly. still, sometimes we must risk this level of disappointment (mainly due to a lack of other topics) and write said rants up as best as we can.

this is one of those times. and the topic is… Brøderbund’s U-Force.

the Power Glove
the Power Glove: setting new standards in over-hyped, under-performing NES accessories

so back when i was younger, i eventually had an NES, completely a widely-varied set of NES games, some awesome (Guardian Legend still rules to this day, and i don’t care what anyone says about it), some terrible. i’m actually drawing a blank on the WORST game i had for the NES, as i mostly just recall the games i liked a lot (Guardian Legend, Final Fantasy) or the ones that were completely ridiculous (Low G Man: The Low Gravity Man, which was insane AND has a clearly redundant title, and which i fondly recall buying at a yard sale in Virginia, thus proving it’s ridiculous what one remembers), but there had to be something awful. but what i didn’t have was what a lot of kids wanted when we were younger: ridiculous additional Nintendo peripherals or accessories or whatever you want to call them.

see, when you’re an adult, you realize that these peripherals/accessories/whatever –aside from improved controllers or a Game Genie or the NES Zapper light gun, which remained awesome– fall into one of two categories: either they’re for a very limited number of games (sometimes even just one), thus making them kind of lame, or they’re fucking TERRIBLE, thus making them more than just kind of lame. even the NES Zapper only had like 19 games for it, which seems decent until you remember there were about 13000 NES games out there. to run through major NES peripherals i remember: the LaserScope worked for all NES Zapper games, but constantly malfunctioned (fucking terrible); the Power Glove only had like 4 games AND constantly malfunctioned (limited games, fucking terrible); the Power Pad had 11 games, but i don’t recall people claiming it was always broken (limited games); R.O.B. was a tiny Nintendo robot that worked with two games. although let me be honest: R.O.B. is fucking awesome. i do not care what anyone says.

R.O.B.
seriously, i do not care what anyone says: R.O.B. is fucking awesome

but when you’re a child, all you remember is the villainous kid from the Wizard rocked a Power Glove, and that every kid in the movie was in total awe of it, and that you HAVE TO HAVE THIS POWER GLOVE. which brings us to the U-Force. let’s let Wikipedia describe this thing:

“The U-Force was a game controller made by Brøderbund for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It employed a pair of perpendicular infrared sensor panels to translate the user’s hand movements into controller signals. From a print advertisement circa 1989:

Introducing U-Force, the revolutionary controller for your Nintendo Entertainment System. So hot, no one can touch it. Now you can feel the power without touching a thing. It’s U-FORCE from Broderbund – the first and only video game controller that, without touching anything, electronically senses your every move, and reacts. There’s nothing to hold, nothing to jump on, nothing to wear, U-Force creates a power field that responds to your every command–making you the controller. It’s the most amazing accessory in video game history – and it will change the way you play video games forever. It’s the challenge of the future. U-Force. Now nothing comes between you and the game.”

Brøderbund's U-Force
oh, it knows your every move alright … it just wants nothing to do with implementing them

clearly i was swayed by the fact that this was “the most amazing accessory in video game history,” although to be fair, it WOULD have changed the way i played video games forever, because it absolutely sucked at letting you play a video game. i was a pretty smart kid, so the only reason i can give for why it didn’t occur to me that this thing would be TERRIBLE is “the awesome power of print advertising, i guess.”

now, my parents were not huge on video games (we didn’t have an NES until my grandparents bought one for me and my sibling, in one of the rare occurrences where a gift meant for multiple kids titled in my favor; my parents liked me to read books and play outside; stuff like that), so i didn’t get a lot of NES stuff from them: most of my games i bought myself, which is another large reason why i didn’t have stuff like the Power Glove. for some reason, though, my mother made the WORST possible decision and decided to get me a U-Force for Christmas, which was awesome on the level of “holy shit, you got me some insane Nintendo thing i wanted,” but in retrospect was not her finest hour. she’s pretty smart as well, so i suppose she also can be victimized by the awesome power of print advertising.

so i got this U-Force, i’m turbo-excited to play with it, and i rush downstairs to my Nintendo to discover the following:

01. for the “most amazing accessory in video game history,” it was very restrained in what games it claimed to work with
i have no idea where my U-Force and/or its instruction manual are (the U-Force, at least, is PROBABLY in my parents’ house somewhere), but i recall the manual taking a very limited attitude towards the games it worked with, which i assume meant “we bothered to try it out with these 13 games and it worked fine, so go wild within those limits.” on the one hand, i can appreciate this honesty; on the other hand, it spoke very negatively about how this thing would perform. i don’t think i even tried it with any game that it didn’t claim to work with, but we’ll get to that.

02. it didn’t ACTUALLY work with the games it said it did
see if you can tell me what’s wrong with assuming this U-Force was a good idea: you’re going to end up playing Super Mario Brothers, a game commonly played with a controller, by randomly moving your hands around in a small cubic area breaking infrared beams. exactly. it’s one of the reasons people note that touchscreens are not in a rush to replace buttons: buttons (and control pads) can be goddamn effective at what they’re supposed to do. and the U-Force was pretty much worse than that: i don’t recall it working with a SINGLE GAME that i owned that it supposedly worked with. it didn’t work poorly; it just didn’t seem to do anything.

03. …except for Rad Racer
well, okay, there WAS one exception: Rad Racer, that classic 1987 NES racing game (that was, oddly enough, also played with a Power Glove in the movie the Wizard). now, i don’t really like racing games –i have MAYBE owned a few, but they were mainly stuff like Mario Kart, which is more about team shenanigans than racing, and i don’t think i have ever bought a hardcore racing fan’s idea of a racing game– so it’s a little odd that i owned Rad Racer. more odd still: you could kind of play it with the U-Force. the beams worked… a little. you could steer… vaguely. it was a game i recall the manual saying would work with the U-Force, so again, honesty points, but really, all i can play with the most amazing accessory in video game history is Rad Racer? LAME.

unrelated note: Rad Racer, all in all, was an okay game. shout out to Rad Racer for not sucking completely.

the U-Force
THE CONTROL STICK AND BUTTONS, THEY DO NOTHING

04. the extra control stick and buttons also did nothing
so you might have noted that the U-Force appears to have an idiotic-looking control stick and lots of buttons on it, so surely you could use THESE for something in the event that the U-Force itself did not work exactly as intended? well, not exactly, and by “not exactly,” i mean “they didn’t seem to do a goddamn thing either, aside from making me fill with all the rage tiny childhood janklow can muster up.” oh, i TRIED to use the control stick, but it didn’t seem to work with games that the U-Force had worked with (as in, Rad Racer) or the ones the U-Force had NOT worked with (as in, every other game that i owned). to this day, i’m not even sure why those buttons and/or that control stick were included. i mean, hey, they’re not related to infrared beams, so isn’t that unrelated to what the U-Force is all about.

the answer is no; the U-Force was all about “being a colossal failure” and “smashing my childhood dreams.”

ultimately, i gave up on the U-Force completely after a matter of several furious hours and never spoke of it again. the plus side to my parents not being huge on video games is that to this day, i don’t think my mother (or father) actually realizes how disappointing and worthless that gift was. it’s obviously not her fault –i really, REALLY wanted that U-Force– but it’s a little funny that she never even realized she could have given me a major ration of shit about abandoning the gift i so wanted.

even worse is this: when my mother was shopping for that Christmas, she had a bunch of gifts stolen while shopping … including the FIRST U-Force she’d bought me for that Christmas. she actually ended up buying TWO of the goddamn things that year. would i have forgotten this anecdote if the U-Force hadn’t sucked completely? it’s very likely.

…and there you go; hopefully this contained some of the comedy of the original rant, if not any of the insane gesticulation with which i punctuate my real-life rants. so it goes.

this Stephen King-related outrage of mine must be reported to the internet IMMEDIATELY

now, look, before i get into the following listicle/rant/whatever it is, i will acknowledge this: when we rank works of art, be they books or movies or whatever, there’s bound to be some disagreement based on taste and personal preference and all that. i accept this. on the other hand, sometimes you read a list –say, a list supposedly tasked with “ranking all 62 Stephen King books“– and you become entirely outraged, and you say to yourself, “this outrage of mine must be reported to the internet IMMEDIATELY.” so i think you see the genesis of this particularly update.

now, while i have largely given up my passion for reading works of fiction –at some point, it occurred to me the basis of fiction was that people have some sort of connection with each other, but they don’t– i will always have a soft spot for Stephen King. he strikes me as a writer who really, truly wanted to be a Great Writer writing Important Books, but whose gift lay in another direction, popular fiction. this i don’t say as a shot at King, but more as a reason to why i generally think he deserves some respect even from people who turn up their nose at the kind of books with vampire babies and incredibly, incredibly awkward group sex scenes. (shudder) i’m still not over that one.

all that being said, i think some of his work IS pretty close to out-and-out shit, and that it’s definitely possibly to rank it all better than this garbage list did, a list that may have resulted in my yelling at my computer in PURE RAGE. what i shall focus on here, though, is my 13 major outrages regarding this list as opposed to my specific “this is how i would have ranked them all” position.

JANKLOW’S 13 MAJOR OUTRAGES INVOLVING THIS VULTURE LIST “RANKING ALL 62 STEPHEN KING BOOKS”

these are not in any particular ranking order; it’s more of a “things that pop out to me as i read the list” kind of listicle.

some assorted King books
janklow is determined to make a random ranking of these books CONTENTIOUS

01. the inclusion of Stephen King’s nonfiction works on this list, period
granted, i understand that the premise of the 62 book list is “if you count novels, nonfiction, and short-story collections,” but let’s be honest: his nonfiction works (Danse Macabre and On Writing) should NOT be on the same list as 60 fiction books, especially when you consider the fact that they’re ranked quite highly (#11 and #02, respectively), and that one (Danse Macabre) is basically described as densely-written but essential if you like horror (sort of a weak review for such a high ranking) and the other (On Writing) as “a new Strunk and White of sorts.”

02. the Tommyknockers being ranked #61
do i think the Tommyknockers is great? no, and to be honest, i think the heavy dose of anti-nuclear sentiment weakens the book (King periodically gets obsessed with hammering on some topic in a work, a notion that never works to the benefit of the book). but ranked second from the bottom? under books that are clearly much worse to anyone that’s read them? i admit this is subjective to some extent, but come on, now. someone is CLEARLY holding a grudge against that mediocre 1993 movie featuring Jimmy Smits and Marg Helgenberger. pretty much everything in this book related to the shed is strongly than every single aspect of his weaker books.

03. the slightest positive sentiment about King letting Rage go out of print
Rage, at #57 ranked second-worst of all King’s books published as Richard Bachmann (seems about right, although maybe 57 is too harsh, as it does read like an awkward early novel), is not a great book that needs some impassioned defense. however, this list touches on something King did when they mention that “wisely or not, King allowed the book to go out of print, partly because of a fear of having future school shootings linked to it.” let me be frank: this was a chickenshit, pathetic gesture on King’s part. in fact, i believe in the forward to Blaze describes Rage being out of print as “Now out of print, and a good thing.” is it true that a couple of school shooters seem to have read or owned the book? sure. but note that King talks about Rage and the short story “Cain Rose Up” as something that “would have raised red flags, and I’m certain someone would have tabbed me as mentally ill because of them” … and yet he did nothing of the sort that these shooters did. so the point is what, exactly?

full disclosure: i have a weird habit of buying old copies of the Bachmann Books that include Rage in them because the current printings don’t include it, and if someone was to mention purchasing a new copy to me, i will give them one of my old ones. it’s like my weird, silent, pointless protest against King being a gigantic pussy about the whole matter. yeah, it’s his work and he’s well within his rights to see it not in print. he can do what he likes. but anything that smacks of censorship of works based on what kind of content is appropriate makes me a little sad, King. that is all.

04. the claim that Gerald’s Game omits the supernatural
to be specific, the list claims “though the supernatural is absent from this novel (as it is in many of his books, despite King’s reputation),” and while i must admit that it has been YEARS since i have even glanced at this work (i would give strong consideration to ranking it at the bottom of my list), i am reminded that one of my major complaints with Dolores Claiborne and Gerald’s Game was the inclusion of the supernatural. huh, you say? well, both books are not about supernatural matters: Gerald’s Game is about a woman escaping from the results of accidentally killing her husband during a bondage game, and Dolores Claiborne is about a woman accused of killing her employer admitting to murdering her abusive, molesting husband. that’s it. however, i’ll let Wikipedia handle this:

“In King’s subsequent novel, Dolores Claiborne, it is revealed that the title main character shared a telepathic connection with Jessie Burlingame on two occasions, first during the solar eclipse when Jessie was assaulted by her father, and later when she is handcuffed to the bed. The two novels were initially conceived to be part of a single volume titled In the Path of the Eclipse. Later editions of Dolores Claiborne have a foreword that explains the connection between the two.”

now, i am going to be honest: i forget if this connection is explicit in Gerald’s Game –whereas it is absolutely used to describing seeing events from Gerald’s Game in Dolores Claiborne– but given that this ranking list seems to defend books connected to the whole Dark Tower series mess based on the strength of other books, i’m going to insist we don’t pretend the pair of eclipse-themed books aren’t unrelated to the supernatural. frankly, the fact that they mashed it in there is something that i found unnecessary and annoying. and now i will apologize, because this is a weak complaint and an entirely complicated one. I JUST CAN’T HELP IT.

05. motherfucking BLACK HOUSE existing at all
now, this list doesn’t rank Black House very highly (only #49), but it’s more the way they excuse some of its faults: “as with Insomnia, there are chunks of Black House undecipherable to the Dark Tower uninitiated.” this is not the problem with Black House. the actual problem is that King and Straub wrote a sequel to a book i enjoyed very, very much (the Talisman), as evidenced by my internet alias here, and which had its own universe and its own back history… and then attempted to cram tons of Dark Tower mythology into the sequel. i admit the “interconnected worlds” plot/setting is very similar to the Dark Tower series (and by extension, King’s shoddy attempts to tie all his books together), but the execution is so sloppy that we shouldn’t just say it’s awkward to those uniniatied, we should say it’s repugnant to those who read the previous book.

general statement: King should just not bother writing years-later sequels to his books that were probably never intended to have sequels. there’s going to be a sequel to the Shining THIRTY-SIX YEARS after the Shining was published? i can’t imagine any way in which this sequel will entirely suck and ruin the original for me just a little!

Stephen King?
i do kind of miss the 1970s-era “awkward schoolboy” look of Stephen King

06. the Long Walk ranked far too low; Roadwork ranked far too high
i will sum up my position with “there is no better Bachmann novel than the Long Walk”: the Regulators is a messy pile that deserves the low ranking it gets; Rage and Blaze are both middling early works; Thinner and the Running Man are fun, but just inferior. i won’t even try to justify it beyond that, because hey, if you REALLY love Thinner, i cannot satisfy you with any real argument. but there’s two other things that i know for a fact: the Long Walk is better than Roadwork, and ranking the former #47 and the latter #20 is fucking DISGUSTING. i think Roadwork was ranked highly because a) it feels the most “different” of all those Bachmann novels and b) it feels much more like a “serious work of fiction” than the average Stephen King book: nothing supernatural, no fictional or outlandish setting, just a period piece from the 1970s. Roadwork is not a shit book at all, but the Long Walk crushes it. CRUSHES IT.

also, a bonus snide shot at King: so Roadwork has a guy getting guns and shooting at authority figures and blowing up their stuff because he’s angry and fed up. given that people have also done this at various times in life, why hasn’t King asked THIS book to be removed from print? because none of those guys owned copies of Roadwork? hmmm.

07. the review of Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla being entirely negative without punishing the book (Dark Tower VII’s review as well)
i’m not about to defend this book at all; i hate all that Dark Tower stuff. ALL THAT DARK TOWER STUFF IS AWFUL. but here’s what annoys me: the list gives us what appears to be an unmitigated trashing of Dark Tower V: it calls it a “loose rewriting of The Magnificent Seven” (something that cannot be good for the fifth book in what’s supposed to be your life-defining series); it calls it out on being a massive and all-encompassing genre mash-up (including “significant references to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics,” which sounds awful); and it adds that “the climactic confrontation is a prime example of what King does not do well — battle scenes.” my objection? #38 is high enough on the list that i want to know why this book is better than all the books you’re telling me it’s better than (say, the Long Walk).

a similar thing happens when we get to Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower at #26. the book is called “bloated to a certain degree” (which is really saying something when you consider how King can run on and on if he chooses to) and goes on to say “the book also falls flat when it finally unveils the villain who has loomed so large over the series.” what’s the single positive thing said? the conclusion “also contains one of the most honestly tear-jerking scenes in all of King’s work.” wow. granted, i totally get that while many HATE the ending of this book, some love it, so there’s surely a case to be made for it … but then where’s that case? this book is ranked #26!

08. again, the inclusion of Stephen King’s nonfiction works on this list, period
oh, did i mention that this list ALSO includes King and Stewart O’Nan’s work Faithful, a book that, to again quote Wikipedia, “chronicles exchanges between King and O’Nan about the Red Sox’s 2004 season, beginning with an e-mail in summer 2003, and throughout the 2004 season, from Spring Training to the World Series.” again, this nonfiction stuff (especially this Red Sox fandom nonsense that i could care less about) should not be getting ranked against fiction.

09. giving the Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands “demerits” because of Blaine
now, i don’t really want to be sitting here defending a Dark Tower book, as i don’t care for them very much. however, our author here pushes Dark Tower III down to #31 (still in the top half, and probably too high of a ranking) with the remark “demerits for the puzzle-happy talking train that arrives at book’s end.” so here’s the thing: the puzzle-happy talking train is no more ridiculous than a) anything else that happens in this book or b) the concept of mashing up Harry Potter and Star Wars and all kinds of other popular fiction you didn’t create together in your book. Blaine’s at least a unique character (unless someone could tell me where King stole him from) and i like him, damn it, although i wish he’d killed off every character in that series that he could.

Roland, i suppose
give them all the attractive art you want; i will still think the Dark Tower series is AWFUL

10. King’s more recent work being ranked too highly
i have a suspicion that books people have read more recently (as in, works that King has published more recently) are better recalled and are being rewarded for that fact by the author. 11/22/63 was published last year, and it’s ranked #24: i’ve heard decent things about the book, so okay, maybe that’s legit. Full Dark, No Stars was published in 2010, and it’s ranked #32: not THAT outrageous, i guess. From A Buick 8, a 2002 book, and thus probably the outer limit of “more recent work,” is ranked #16: granted, our author is arguing that it’s an underrated book, but i remain unconvinced. but Under The Dome is a 2009 book ranked #12, and while a lot of people i know called it okay, i can’t fathom any of them nearly putting it in King’s all-time top ten. worse still: Lisey’s Story was 2006, and was ranked #10, and i have never, EVER heard anyone say a single good thing about this book. not one person, not one thing. so how the fuck is this book #10?

granted, some modern books got tossed further down the list, and i definitely sound like an old crank hollering about how the older works are the better works. no debate there. but here’s the thing: i truly believe the older works ARE the better works. sure, books like Rage and even Carrie may read as comparatively immature, but this was also the era where King had editors, had to cut his books down, and most of all, didn’t have the incredibly permissive atmosphere that comes from being STEPHEN FUCKING KING. if i rank these books, i theorize right now that i don’t put a book that’s less than 20 years old in my top ten.

11. Night Shift (#21) being ranked below Skeleton Crew (#13)
this isn’t REALLY a major outrage when you consider that both are ranked fairly highly and fairly close together. however, the argument for the superior ranking of Skeleton Crew is basically “King’s second short-story collection shows a range that most authors of any genre would be incapable of achieving.” i happen to think that Night Shift shows the same range, with the slight absence of not including “an ambitious novella.” here’s the thing: i don’t think including a novella shows any variation in range, so i don’t see how that’s an argument for Skeleton Crew.

ultimately, they’re both solid collections and his best two short-story collections, so i’m being a little bitchy about this one. but there it is.

12. ANYTHING BEING RANKED HIGHER THAN ‘SALEM’S LOT, DAMN IT
‘Salem’s Lot is ranked #8, and that’s a good ranking, and they even give it the shout-out of “it remains one of the best vampire books ever written,” which is a motherfucking FACT. the books that outrank it include some iconic works that you’d expect (the Shining at #4, IT at #3, the Stand at #1), as well as a book i think a lot of his fans underrate, but which is a really good work: Different Seasons (at #5). the only other ones above it are Misery (#6), a book that i’ve already stated shouldn’t be on this list at all (On Writing at #2) and one other work we’ll come back to in a minute. so this is, again, personal preference.

…however, let me just say what i have said many times before: if people read Stephen King 50 years from now, or 100 years from now, or whatever, ‘Salem’s Lot is going to be the best example of the merits of his work. it captures all the good King and skips the non-editing later years or the bloat of works like IT and the Stand, and the fact that it’s about a clear-cut scenario with solid characters –vampires move to a small town in Maine– will help it stand the test of time. it’s probably his only work that i would call a Good Book and not feel compelled to immediately defend, beyond to say “well, as far as a vampire book can be a Good Book, anyway.”

13. Dark Tower books ranked way too goddamn high, as expected
again, ALL THAT DARK TOWER STUFF IS AWFUL. but look at where they’re all ranked: Dark Tower VI, #56. Dark Tower V, #38. Dark Tower 4.5, #35. Dark Tower III, #31. Dark Tower VII, #26. Dark Tower II, #19. Dark Tower I, #14. and worst of all, WORST OF ALL, Dark Tower IV at #7. AT NUMBER SEVEN! incidentally, this is the Dark Tower book that made me realize the Dark Tower series was absolutely turning to shit. I and II are decent enough, and III has its merits… but IV sucks. completely.

however, here’s the larger point: 5 of the 8 books (or 7.5, if you like) are ranked in the top half of the list, and that feels undeserved. we’ve heard several times how not reading the entire series weakens each individual book. that’s totally fine and you’d probably expect as much, but i personally would expect that to weaken each of these works in the face of standalone novels that don’t require you to read a handful of other books just to get caught up. IV is being called “an incredibly well-told tale,” and it might be true to some, but #7 is far too goddamn high for a book that’s fourth in the series. also, it completely sucks, so that’s another objection i have to the rankings.

so there we go. I AM STILL OUTRAGED. also, fuck it, i’ll rank these damn books myself:

'Salem's Lot
it’s really the best of these books, no matter how fond of the Talisman i am

JANKLOW’S RANKING OF ALL 59 RELEVANT STEPHEN KING BOOKS

59. Insomnia
58. the Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole
57. the Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower
56. the Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah
55. the Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla
54. the Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass
53. the Regulators
52. Dreamcatcher
51. Lisey’s Story
50. Cell
49. Gerald’s Game
48. Black House
47. Duma Key
46. Rose Madder
45. Blockade Billy
44. the Colorado Kid
43. the Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
42. Blaze
41. Rage
40. Bag Of Bones
39. Hearts In Atlantis
38. 11/22/63
37. From a Buick 8
36. Under the Dome
35. the Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands
34. the Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three
33. the Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
32. Cycle Of The Werewolf
31. Roadwork
30. Full Dark, No Stars
29. Four Past Midnight
28. Just Past Sunset
27. Nightmares & Dreamscapes
26. Everything’s Eventual
25. the Green Mile
24. Needful Things
23. Desperation
22. the Dark Half
21. Eyes of the Dragon
20. the Tommyknockers
19. Dolores Claiborne
18. Thinner
17. Firestarter
16. Christine
15. Carrie
14. Cujo
13. the Running Man
12. Pet Sematary
11. Skeleton Crew
10. the Long Walk
09. Night Shift
08. Misery
07. IT
06. the Dead Zone
05. Different Seasons
04. the Stand
03. the Shining
02. the Talisman
01. ‘Salem’s Lot

apparently people like to search the words “Henry IV” and get on my back about it because i say he was a fake theatre dude… GTFOMD

one of the things i seem to forget is that if you don’t schedule these posts to publish, THEY DON’T GET PUBLISHED. this is an especially annoying fact to realize when you’ve finally gotten a post written –even if the post is short or not funny or whatever, because we’re looking at the mere fact that one was created AT ALL as some kind of divine intervention at this point– and you’re thinking, “god, FINALLY, now to go to bed,” and then you realize much later when you’re way behind on your posts (as usual) that you’re WAY behind on your posts because… well, i think you see where this is heading, especially now that i have replaced the original “pointless introductory rambling” with this “explaining the belated nature of the post” introductory rambling. enjoy!

Henry IV
Henry IV: turns out this dude was real

PSA: the Titanic was real, not just a movie

generally speaking, i try not to set some kind of level of disappointment with mankind, mainly out of the fear that, however low i rate them, they will manage to do worse. that said, it seems that the minds between Twitter designed that website/software/whatever the fuck it is for the sole purpose of allowing people to embarrass themselves: first we had Twitter revealing that all children should be beaten out of their awful, awful minds over the holidays, and now we have Twitter demonstrating the fact that a lot of people didn’t know that the Titanic didn’t happen. really? really:

URGE TO SLIT WRISTS RISING

sigh.

now, okay, there are always going to be stupid people in the world; the real problem here is that Twitter allows them to post all over my goddamn internet. perhaps this is why the noble class kept the common man illiterate for so long: the common man is a fucking moron, and no one wants to hear him go on and on about how he never knew Henry IV of England was, like, oh mh god, a REAL PERSON. i always just assumed that Shakespeare dude made him up! #peasantmindblown

however, i would like to discuss some reasons that i do NOT deem legitimate for these kids to be so fucking dumb.

01. because kids don’t know anything about history anyway

granted, this is sort of true: kids are stupid and they only care about rock music and bubble gum. however, generally speaking, i try NOT to accept the default “kids are stupid because they’re stupid” setting and TRY to encourage them to learn something. also, while the Titanic is not my personal cup of interesting tea, i think we all know full well that millions of people find it FASCINATING, and not just because it indirectly helped them see Kate Winslet’s breasts, which should tell us that some of these children would probably find it worth reading or learning about. yeah, some kids will just never give a shit, but still. it’s not supposed to be the INTERESTING history that’s hard to teach children.

further, on a totally mercenary level, you know a ton of books and items were pumped out and sold to now-adults at the time the movie made all that money. do you expect me to believe that NONE of these kids saw commemorative saucers or picture books sitting around their parents’ homes and put two and two together?

02. because the movie doesn’t make it clear it’s about a real event

so i guess the theory is that a movie should have to directly tell you that it’s based on reality? okay, if you’ve never read about the Titanic AND you’ve never seen the movie, maybe you have NO WAY of knowing that this boat actually honest-to-god sank all those years ago… but you know, i’m sure kids don’t watch Saving Private Ryan and walk away thinking, “hey, we fought a war against Germany?”

further, i know kids are dumb enough to think that movies actually show 100% accurate depictions of history; one of my long-standing beefs with Americans is that they watch movies and think they’ve seen an awesome documentary about All Those Historical Facts. the number of people i’ve had to dissuade from their belief that “it’d be cool to visit those Caribbean islands where all the cloned dinosaurs are” alone is depressing. so really, you’d think that the average idiot kid would watch Titanic and not think that it was a just a film, but rather, think this romantic tale of Jack and Rose and all that cloying love stuff that makes me want to vomit were 100% real.

…and this doesn’t even mention the fact that James Cameron spends every waking moment of his life talking about his real-world undersea adventures that feature, in large part, THE TITANIC. don’t try and tell me that children don’t hang on every word James Cameron says. to restate my earlier point, i would have bet cash money that more people thought the Abyss really happened than thought Titanic was “just a film.”

THESE FUCKING KIDS.

i think that’ll do it for this week; it’s been short and not so sweet, i admit, but then again, you also got a fairly sizable picture. be thankful for what you’ve got!