Monday, May 23

My Tivo Thinks I Smoke Too Much Pot

Conan O'Brian on the future of television: "Tough-talking TiVos will even confront viewers, saying, 'You've watched 40 straight hours of 'Sponge- Bob'—get off the weed!'"

Among his other predictions:
-- "Televisions will eventually grow so large that families will be forced to watch TV from outside their homes, peering in through the window. Random wolf attacks will make viewing more dangerous.
-- Twenty-four-hour news channels, desperate for even more coverage, will conspire with NASA to alter Earth's orbit, creating a 25-hour day. Fox News's attempt to create a 26th hour will result in volcanic eruptions, and Bill O'Reilly will perish in a lava flow.
-- Oprah proclaims that "Anonymity Is the New Fame," and the hottest new program is a worldwide search for someone who has never been on television. The winner, an 80-year-old Maori tribesman, is soon on every magazine cover and is spotted canoodling in the bar of the Four Seasons with Tara Reid.
-- In an effort to bring Red and Blue states together, one giant plasma screen, four miles high, will rise from the central Plains, visible from both coasts. In accordance with the amended Constitution, the president will be the only one with the authority to touch the remote, which a nearby Marine will carry in a briefcase."

He's so sure of his crystal ball, he promises: "If I've made even one mistake I'm certain the good people at Newsweek, who never make mistakes, will refund you the price of this issue." Zing!

Friday, May 20

What the Romans Did for Us

Graffiti artist/provacateur Banksy strikes again, with the British Museum playing the victim this time. (Past hoaxees include the Brooklyn Museum, the Met, and the American Museum of Natural History).

In an exhibit titled 'Roman Britain,' Banksy snuck in a fake called 'Early Man Goes to Market.' Here's the caption:

Click here to view the excellent Flickr Banksy photo group.
Via Londonist

Thursday, May 19

Radio Days: Heavy Meta

"You're watching a movie, in a theatre at home, and starting to doze. You can't keep your eyes open, but the sound of the film still seeps through your ears, which sadly are never closed. Your mind paints the picture itself in that meaningful but not quite visual way that dreams play out. This is the experience I'd like you to have now."

The Coen Brothers. They don't suck.

Charlie Kaufman. Just a little bit clever

Put them together with a few obscure actors like Steve Buscemi, John Goodmam and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Oh yeah, and Meryl Streep. Place on the burner and bring to a boil, for two live radio plays so post-modern they make Thomas Pynchon look like "Sweet Valley High."

The Coens, as much as I love them, turned in a so-so effort called "Sawbones," a story (a TV western about a frontier veterinarian) within a story (a love triangle between a vaccuum cleaner salesman, bored housewife and firespotter). Clever, but short, and almost too dense with overlapping conversations to even comprehend.

The Times called it "a middling amuse-bouche." But what a main course!

Kaufman -- this man has serious problems, and I mean that in a good way.

His "Hope Leaves the Theater" was mind-twistingly complex enough that it defies simple summary, but everyone in the audience had their jaws on the floor and was laughing with delight at every self-referential wrinkle.

The play is set in several interlocking levels of reality and fiction, with actors who are in fact "playing" themselves.

Hope Davis, Meryl Streep and Peter Dinklage (the midget from "The Station Agent") are each sitting on a stool, already talking as the audience files in. We realise that they are playing audience members who are watching Hope, Meryl and Peter, waiting for the play to begin.

With me so far?

Once the lights dim, Meryl and Peter launch into a play about two strangers in an hospital elevator. I was already laughing out loud at this point, as was everyone around me, listening to Meryl Streep voice a monotone, nonsensical elevator announcement: "33rd floor, urinalysis, blood disorders, my baby, oh my god, why, my baby, my baby."

Hope continues to play an audience member who is obsessively monologuing internally, but when her mobile phone begins to ring, Meryl breaks character and begins to berate her in full "I am an Academy Award winner!" mode. Remember, this is meant to be heard and not seen.

As we follow Hope out of the theater, the play gets more and more complex, finally ending with a critic writing a cutting review of the play itself, concluding that Kaufman's self-referential tricks are essentially shite, leading Kaufman to kill himself -- a suicide that we've heard referenced throughout the entire performance.

With some of my favorite actors on stage, it was impossible not to watch them. But there wasn't much to see. They were dressed in casual clothes, barely gesticulating, with a full orchestra and foley sound effects man behind them. As I got pulled into Kaufman's head, Malkovich style, I tore my gaze away, leaned back, and closed my eyes.

When it was all over, the crowd fucking HOWLED with approval.

"Theater of the Air" is scheduled to be broadcast on Sirius satellite radio later this summer. Hopefully it will leak out -- everyone should hear this.

A review from Ain't It Cool News says: "If Kaufman ever writes a full play, it could take over the world. Not that he will, of course. Because he's dead."

A blog reviewer says "it gets very hard to describe the play without it sounding like a great big pile of wank."

Thursday, May 12

Where Brooklyn At?

My beloved New Yorker has committed a grievous slur against my even more beloved adopted borrough, with a cover showing Adam & Eve banished from the Eden of Manhattan and into the sinnerland of Brooklyn.

Maybe this could be taken to mean that people get laid more on the east side of the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges, but somehow I don't think that was the intent.

Brooklyn's notoriously bellicose residents were less than pleased. One even broke out the photoshop and did a bit of creative revisionism.

Of course, there are far worse places to live in New York.

"Brooklyn's great. I don't think Adam and Eve would be banished to Brooklyn," Helen Lilikakas of Bay Ridge told the Daily News. "Maybe Queens, but not Brooklyn."

In related news, not only is my ex-hood Ft Greene soon to be sullied by the controversial Brooklyn Nets stadium/office complex, but the United Nations might be moving in too. Or they could go down the street to the Metrotech building, which used to beam a giant J.P. Morgan Chase logo into our bedroom every night, taunting my wife (a JPM employee) like some kind of perverse Bat Signal.

Good times, good times.

Tuesday, May 10

Connecting the dots between Wendy's finger chili and Ahmed Chalabi

Andy Borowitz in The New Yorker on 'Fun Hoaxes':
Order a bowl of chili at a fast-food restaurant. When the chili arrives, angrily complain that there is no human finger in the chili, despite the fact that you specifically ordered one. In the ensuing argument with the manager, shout the words "chili" and "human finger" for all in the store to hear. You will probably not get ten million dollars this time, but if you play your cards right the manager may pay you a little something just to get you to leave.

Convince the leaders of the world’s only superpower that a Middle Eastern nation is loaded to the gills with weapons of mass destruction. Tell them that some broken-down old vans there are "mobile weapons labs," and persuade them to spend billions of dollars on an invasion and an occupation. After they scour the country for the weapons and come up empty, shrug your shoulders sympathetically and take over the oil ministry.

Hacking Barbie


Am I Spongeworthy?

Internet prankster makes sport of publicity-hungry, non-cluetrain-boarding pharmaceutical company.
My regular birth control methods have failed me several times and I have the scarred uterus to prove it. I am excited to try out the sponge with my boyfriend Bob. He hopes to be a non-homosexual Sponge Bob. We are in a monogomous relationship together and share the same uncurable sexually transmitted diseases.

Where can I purchase the sponge in my area?

Read to the end for the punchline.

Monday, May 9

Putting Jon Stewart's kid through college

To: Jon Stewart and the 'Daily Show' writing team
Re: Happy Birthday!

Sometimes it's just too easy. This stuff just writes itself! From the Times of London:
The capture of a supposed Al-Qaeda kingpin by Pakistani agents last week was hailed by President George W Bush as “a critical victory in the war on terror”. According to European intelligence experts, however, Abu Faraj al-Libbi was not the terrorists’ third in command, as claimed, but a middle-ranker derided by one source as "among the flotsam and jetsam" of the organisation.

A former close associate of Bin Laden now living in London laughed: "What I remember of him is he used to make the coffee and do the photocopying."

Say it with me, guys: Don't you just feel safer already?

Is 'Sith' Shit -- or *the* Shit?

Can 'Revenge of the Sith' rescue Star Wars from steaming-heap-of-crap-ocity? Well, it made Steven Spielberg cry, but then he's known to be a sentimental little girly man.

"Clerks" auteur Kevin Smith loved it, but his fellow round-table discussion mate Simon Pegg -- who burned his Star Wars toys in a Vadar-esque bonfire in an episode of his hilarious sitcom "Spaced" -- wasn't so sure.

I have my hopes up -- AGAIN -- but I have to cringe when I hear of lines like this: "Hold me, Anakin! Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo!" Natalie, I hope you took a shower after George Lucas forced those words from your pert little mouth.

Whatever happens, at least you can have your lawn watered and fertilised by the dark side of the force.

In case you wondered...

-- Library of Congress uncovers never-heard tape of Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane.

-- Brit-Brit and Cletus' baby registry at Target. Probably not real, judging from the baby name, but still a well-chosen assortment of gifts: rhinestone baseball cap, butt paste, and breast creme. Next up: Spawn of Baffleck?

-- Two journalists assigned to a story about dangerous drinking get fired for boozing it up during a game of beer pong

Thursday, May 5

I feel safer already

Homeland Security isn't just about confiscating hundreds of tons of plastic safety scissors and selling them on eBay. It's about thwarting the notorious Cucarracha Jihad group, known for their devestating, plane-crashing Mexican hat dance.


Phantom readers: Sorry for the dearth of posts in the last week, I blame it on the long weekend and a stubborn stomach virus.

To make up for it, here's a collection of video goodies:

-- Is anyone more pimp than Chris Walken?

-- He was never this funny on 'Frasier': Kelsey Grammer falls down

-- The dirtiest joke ever told (Do not miss this one)