Monday, July 31

Life <-> Art

"Shooting War" is an brilliant online graphic novel for our times. The year is 2011, John McCain is president, and the Iraq war is still raging. Told from the PoV of video blogger Jimmy Burns, it's been described as "left-wing radical comix with a sci-fi tinge."

In one recent installment of Shooting War, published June 28, Jimmy's embedded with a team of Marines on patrol, whose mission is diverted when they get a tip on the whereabouts of kidnapped Lt Jimmy McCain -- the President's son.


Flash forward to today, in the real world. Time magazine reports that 18-year-old Jimmy McCain is reporting to Marine boot camp ahead of his likely deployment to Iraq, a move that will improve the prospects of his father's anticipated 2008 presidential bid.


(One small detail doesn't quite fit -- unlike his Dad, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather, Jimmy is joining the Marines, not the Navy)

mccain_storyHere's more from Time:
McCain already has strong national-security credentials. His son's service only strengthens his position. It will neutralize the assertions of the left that Republicans are "chicken hawks," pursuing the war for ideological reasons without any connection to the pain of it. And it will probably have a broader effect on McCain's credibility. Critics have accused McCain of pandering to the right in order to solidify his front-runner status, but the power of that argument would be diminished if McCain were seen steadfastly supporting a war even as it endangered his youngest son.

More than anything else, though, the country may find itself viewing Iraq through McCain's eyes as it follows his son's progress. And nothing is more powerful for a candidate than sympathy.

Mel's Bad Weekend

Defamer on Gibson's downfall, too good not to excerpt at length:

The simple story of "celebrity ingests too much alcohol, drives automobile too fast, and gets semi-embarrassing slap on the wrist from law enforcement officials of rich beach community" has become one of "celebrity ingests too much alcohol, drives automobile too fast, tries to run away from law enforcement officials attempting to give him semi-embarrassing slap on the wrist, is easily recaptured by law enforcement officials, threatens to commit act of sexual aggression against law enforcement officials, claims to own the rich beach community which employs law enforcement officials, promises to use vast financial resources to gain revenge upon law enforcement officials [Ed.note--Deep breath, here come the good parts], expresses belief that people of the Jewish faith are responsible for entirety of armed global conflict, tries to ascertain if law enforcement officials are members of the Jewish faith, notices presence of female law enforcement official, refers to female law enforcement official by epithet suggesting that her mammaries are made of sugar, pantomimes intention to urinate on floor of holding cell, and attempts to destroy malfunctioning phone when it fails to provide a dial tone for his legally mandated post-arrest call."

Friday, July 28

Bitchslapping Lauer

If you ever had your doubts that Stephen Colbert exudes hilarity from every pore, I double-dog dare you to watch this video without cracking up at your desk like a nerdy, YouTube lovin' loser.

Play Aqualung Dude!

One of these men entertains America with his funky white man act and spiritual yet hilarious flute playing.

The other is Will Ferrell.


Page6 has the scoop:
Snow-fluteTONY Snow is still a rock 'n' roll animal. The White House press secretary, a classic-rock freak, got a visit there on Wednesday from his old pal Ian Anderson, the zany, flute-playing frontman of Jethro Tull. "I've played with Ian on stage before," Snow told us. "I actually taught myself to play the flute by listening to Jethro Tull albums."

Thursday, July 27

It's fun to stay at the YMCA, Mrs. Huxtable

Phylicia "Clare Huxtable" Rashad used to be married to Victor "Police Officer" Willis of the Village People, who was recently in the news for the latest in a series of run-ins with the law.

Who knew?


Tuesday, July 25

1 Wall, 4 Artists (and a few bananas)

It all began with two bananas, Jules and Vincent, when stencil ninja Banksy threw this famous piece up in London. The Guardian reports: "When the famous street artist Banksy climbed up one night to make his mark, the Old Street site began to take on a special identity. Banksy painted the wall black, then, with white paint and stencils, added the classic Jackson/Travolta image."

Then came the 7/7 bombings, and this concisely worded addendum. "Though low on wit, the painting's evident passion and timeliness won it some admirers, and it endured, more or less, until late this spring."

Next up: Shepard Fairey, who threw up one of his ubiquitous "OBEY" posters featuring Andre the Giant. He was quickly overwritten by Faile, who made his point with the past tense "Banksy WAS here."

And finally, right back where we started from. Graffiti artist Ben Flynn tells the Guardian that Banksy has returned.
"I recognise his work," he says, even though the second Pulp Fiction image is unsigned. "I think it's quite true for all graffiti writers that once you've had a painting on a wall that's stayed there for quite a long time, and you've gone back and repaired it and looked after it, you consider that wall to be yours. And especially with that image being such an iconic image, it's Banksy's wall."
Which leaves one obvious question for Old Street's Graf Wall of Fame: Where's Neckface?

Photos from Flickr users areyarey , katenadine, noisehead, wolf tickets

Drinking for England

The Queen Mother, mum of the Queen herself, liked her booze (see the bottle of gin left by an adoring public outside her residence at Clarence House after her death, right). This will come as no surprise to anyone with a bit of knowledge of the royal family, but a new book by her equerry, Major Colin Burgess, has shed some new light on her daily regimen:

Noon: At least one glass of her favourite tipple, gin and Dubonnet: two parts Dubonnet - a pink vermouth - to one part gin.

Lunch with red wine followed, finished off with port.

6 pm: According to Burgess, she would ask, "Colin, are we at the magic hour?" "I would then rather flamboyantly look at my watch, raise an eyebrow and say to her, 'Yes, ma'am, I think it's just about time,' before popping off to mix her a martini."

Dinner: 2 glasses of Veuve Cliquot pink champagne.

The Guardian reports: "A conservative estimate puts the number of alcohol units she drank at 70 a week (the recommended limit for a woman is 14) but she's the one who lived until the age of 101, so take that, teetotallers."

Bonus: According to Wikipedia, "She employed a personal staff with many gay persons and once said, after her gin and tonic was continuously delayed by backstairs bickering, "When one of you young queens has finished, can you bring this old Queen a drink?"

Thursday, July 20

Hey, it's that guy!

I love HITG moments.

Skimming over a Slate article "On the enlightened fuzziness of Keanu Reeves" (hey, it's Slate, whaddyagonnado) I come across this intriguing line:
By way of proving that the most sublime Keanu is a near-silent Keanu, I point you to this moment in Point Break (surely the greatest thriller ever about surfing detectives) in which Keanu rises, Buddha-like, above the angry rantings of his superior officer with a single oracular utterance.
Slate has kindly provided video of said scene (It's embedded in the article, so I can't directly link here).

Who's the angrily ranting superior officer? None other than John C. McGinley, who plays Dr. Cox, the hilariously angry ranter with a heart of gold "Scrubs." Check out his IMDB link -- heeeeyoooge resume before he found his career-defining role.

Explore the ranks of the "Hey, It's That Guy!" pantheon here.

Wednesday, July 19

Embrace the YouTubery

The Dink's Inappropriate Backrub

The Big Lewbowski, stripped to the bare effin essentials

Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager

Wednesday, July 12

Random Links

King of Jews ... King of Beers

Why does Al Qaeda hate the Rotary Club?

New Yorkers finally get to sink their teeth into the acorny pork goodness of the Ibérico de bellota, although they still can't get the ne plus ultra Joselito Gran Reserva.

CHiPs: The Segway Generation

Originally uploaded by Ben Hammersley.
Ben Hammersley has spotted a new toy for the Firenze police department. Best law enforcement innovation since Hyde Park's rollerblading coppers (uh, except for pickpockets fleeing onto the grass)

The Lemonhead Drug

Originally uploaded by Ex novo.
I don't know what nico-hepatocyn is, but I think I want some. From a great collection of psychedelic Spanish pharmaceutical ads on Flickr.

Hometown Boy Makes Good

Banksy's back in Bristol.

The Bristol city council, whose offices overlook the artwork, said it will ask the public whether or not to clean off the mural or paint over it.

"We have to decide if it's public art or graffiti," said a spokeswoman.

Amy Sedaris on the Colbert Report

Nuff said. It really kicks off at the 4:30 mark, but I don't want to ruin the surprise.

Tuesday, July 11

Where 'Crazy' Came From

Yes, "that song," the one that won't leave the radio dial or the inner reaches of your brain -- Cee-Lo, Dangermouse, pop music gold, baby!

Thank god for the Internet -- some blogging crate digger has unearthed the sample behind "Crazy," and it's pretty damn obscure. From the 1968 spaghetti Western ""Preparati la bara" or "Django, Prepare a Coffin," the song is called "Last Man Standing" ("Nel Cimitero Di Tucson"). The bass line, choral voices and spooky atmosphere can clearly be heard.

Take a listen

Wednesday, July 5

So Bloody British

Brilliantly gruesome story in The Sun today (OAP = old age pensioner)


NEIGHBOURS of a pensioner savaged by a cackling “cannibal” told last night how he enjoyed a peaceful village life until the sudden horrific attack.

Doug Morgan, 75, and his wife Valerie were getting ready for bed when the maniac dived through a lounge window left open because of the heatwave.

A fierce tussle broke out as the intruder punched the OAP — then bit him repeatedly. He chewed off Doug’s thumb and ATE it, police said.

He is also thought to have ripped off the villager’s left nipple with his teeth — and tore chunks from his face and upper body.

Check out the classic man on the street quote:
One neighbour said: “Everyone is scared witless. There is talk of a cannibal attack in the village and no one can quite take it in.

“The old chap lived a peaceful life with his wife, then someone jumped through his window and bit off his thumb. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

And the kicker from a police source:
“Mr Morgan put up a brave fight but was set about in a cannibalistic way. His thumb could not be sewn back on because the attacker had literally eaten it.”

Tuesday, July 4

The Peter Sarsgaard SARS Guard

Hi, this is Peter Sarsgaard. You may remember him from films such as "Boys Don't Cry," "Garden State," and "Kinsey." He's no relation to this guy, he's marrying this girl and they're having a kid. And he's got some air filtration masks he'd like to to sell you.

Monday, July 3

Cafe con Hielo

"Ice is civilization"

Just back from a scorching two weeks in the Big Apple, where apparently this summer's must-have accessory is....a gigantic cup of iced coffee. Woo-hoo! But how to choose?

-- The classic "sweet and white" from any Manhattan coffee vendor
-- The classy shakerato: shake 1 shot espresso with ice, and strain
-- The decadent affogato: espresso poured over vanilla ice cream
-- Thai (or Cambodian) iced coffees sweetened with condensed milk
-- The surprisingly good Greek frappe (right), made from instant coffee
-- Even an iced doppio from the evil one in a pinch

But hands down the best iced coffee I had was at Baruir's, in the shadow of the #7 train in Sunnyside, Queens, right across the street from where I was staying with my friends Lisa and Julian. Baruir's, run by an Armenian family by way of Romania, has been roasting its own coffee since 1966.

As Lisa pointed out, the secret to the Baruir's iced coffee is simple: Coffee ice cubes! This keeps your drink from getting quickly diluted in hot weather, and makes for an intensely good beverage.

(Don't ask me why London can't get its act together and embrace the beautiful marriage of coffee and ice! We're in the middle of a heat wave here, people.)