Thursday, July 31, 2008

Your Lyrics Are Dumb Like The Linoleum Floor!


When people listen to songs, the last thing they pay attention to is what's being said. A song can be complete goddamn gibberish, and no one will care as long as it's catchy and has a good beat. In fact, one of the catchiest songs I've ever heard is "Informer" by Snow, a song that no one fucking understands, aside from the "licky boom boom now" part. I know that pop music is supposed to have insipid lyrics and that's just the nature of the beast, but it is nice when there's something of note being said, especially by "important" musicians. So, here's a short series of lyrics which, for some reason or another, really bug the living shit out of me. I'll be making my typical asshole comments for each.

"Get nasty, get naughty and if you want to crack a forty
But don't drink it if you're drivin', word 'em up y'all, I ain't jivin'"
2 In A Room, "Wiggle It"

"Wiggle It" was one of those dance songs from the early 90s which sound very, very gay to modern ears, much like anything else that might find it's way onto a "Jock Jams" album. I have no problem with most of the lyrical content of this song, since it belongs to the good old days of "ain't nuthin' but a party, y'all!" rap songs. Why I question this particular lyric is because it is so fucking out of place. I mean, there was no need for a public service announcement in the middle of a party song. Besides, if people are out there wiggling it and dancing their asses off, the last thing they need is some prick telling them not to drink and drive, thus ruining the party.

"Suck, baby suck
To a CD of Chuck, Berry Chuck....woo hoo!"
Serge Gainsbourg, "Suck Baby Suck"

I'm going to state right here that Serge Gainsbourg is one of my favorite musicians, and that the vast majority of his lyrics are fantastic. This little song comes from his last album, and lacks any form of subtlety whatsoever. Most of his songs have clever wordplay, and things, even in English, mean something other than what it appears to be on the surface. Not so with this song. This song is about getting a blow job, and suggestions on what to listen to or watch while getting it. It's probably the most lyrically empty song in his entire catalog, next to his reggae song with nothing but fart sounds as the "lyrics." That said, this is also one of my favorite songs of his, because the joke has still never gotten old, and I always laugh when I hear his heavy French accent slurring out "suck babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, suck."


"Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word 'NOW'
And you say, 'For what reason?'
And he says, 'How?'
And you say, 'What does this mean?'
And he screams back, 'You're a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home'"
Bob Dylan, "Ballad Of A Thin Man"

Ugh.
I love Bob Dylan, I really do. And I wish this came from one of his later shitty albums. But no, this is from a classic Dylan song on my favorite album of his, "Highway 61 Revisited." Dylan fans are probably the most obnoxious, arrogant assholes out there, and I still don't know who's worse...them or Beatles fans. So, if you're a Dylan fan and you see this, PLEASE don't waste my time by trying to explain how this lyric is "brilliant," or how I'm not "getting it." It's a stupid fucking lyric, and it's pretty damn clear that Dylan was running out of shit to say in this song and was basically just trying to come up with words that ended in an "ow" sound.

"There you go
Wielding a bicycle chain
Oh, why won't you change ?
Change and be nicer ?"
Morrissey, "Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference"

There are many, MANY songs by Morrissey or The Smiths that I could have put here. This one has a special spot in my heart because of the strong reaction I had when I first heard it. No matter how good his other lyrics are, they are matched by a seemingly endless abyss of whining bullshit. This is probably the first time a song lyric ever made me stop what I was doing and loudly exclaim, "you gotta be fucking kidding me." My last comment on Morrissey and The Smiths is the following: I find it highly disturbing for anyone older than 21 to just start listening to this music and be touched by it. This stuff only works for teens or very immature adults. Someone who got into Morrissey as a teen has every right to still buy his albums at 40, but someone who's 40 and all of a sudden becomes a huge fan should really seek some help.

"Blame it on Ice Cube; because he said it gets
funky when you got a subject and a predicate"
N.W.A., "Express Yourself"

And here comes the rap. This one's actually pretty clever, but I have to bring it up just because how fucking lame it is to bust out grammar vocabulary in a gangsta rap song.

"If it aint another ho that I gots ta fuck with
Gap teeth in ya mouth so my dicks gots to fit
With my nuts on ya tonsils"
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, "Fuck With Dre Day"

OK, so how big does someone's cock have to be to fit in-between the gap in someone's teeth? Bonus points for the surreal "nuts on ya tonsils" line.

"Around the drive in
If you say you watch the movie you're a couple o' liars
And 'Remember only you can prevent forest fires'"
The Beach Boys, "Drive-In"

Why???? And yes folks, Mike Love, the asshole member of The Beach Boys, actually sued to get his name included as a lyric writer for songs such as this one. I hope you're proud of your opus there, Mike. Since taken out of context this doesn't make sense, let me explain how it's sung. When the "forest fires" line rolls along, the singer drops into a retarded Smokey The Bear voice, mimicking a public service announcement which is presumably playing while the teens are fucking at the Drive-In. The problem is, even when you hear the song, THIS DOESN'T MAKE ANY DAMN SENSE. It's just randomly thrown out there. I know, I know, it was a throwaway filler track. But still, it's notable because someone sued for the writing credit on this song.

"Oh yeah, I'll tell you something
I think you'll understand
When I'll say that something
I wanna hold your hand"
The Beatles, "I Want To Hold Your Hand"

I had to take a shot at The Beatles, simply because of the god-like status of these limey twats. Even when they got "serious," their lyrics were still just OK. It was a tough choice between this one and "Love Me Do," but this one wins out just because I've heard this one played at clubs more.

"Your lyrics are dumb like the linoleum floor"
Le Tigre, "Deceptacon"

I could have posted the entire song here. The song is insidiously catchy, but when you listen to the words, you become instantly embarrassed and stop dancing. This is the ultimate shitty song lyric, since it's criticizing someone else's shitty song lyrics. I like this band and used to dance to their songs a lot, but fuck is this horrible. My girlfriend respects bands that write their own songs, but maybe some of them really need to give that job to someone outside the band and concentrate on the ass-shaking music instead.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Return of the Pee-Pee Boy


The night started out just like any other.

I had just finished working at the adult information desk for an hour and moved over to the much louder children's section, and was talking to my supervisor. While discussing an allegedly fun-filled work extravaganza that I was supposed to be attending in a few weeks these two little brats hauled-ass through the library. This is nothing new, as there are always kids running back and forth, almost bumping into people and annoying anyone who doesn't own them. "WALK!" my supervisor shouted. They of course ignored her.

I was talking to my supervisor again. Out of the corner of my eye I see the two little kids running across the opposite end of the children's section, and into the bathroom. Now, nobody at any age EVER runs that fast and that loudly to the bathroom, laughing and shouting, and if they do they're put in a "special" home. I stood up and stormed over to the restroom, ready to lay down the law. I yanked the door open and saw one kid facing me and his friend facing the wall. "He peeing on the wall!" the kid said, and the kid facing the wall turned towards me with his shirt scrunched up oddly above his pants, and a big wet blotch where the shirt would hang over the front. I looked at the wall, and sure enough there was a puddle of piss where his feet were, and a splatter on the wall. I asked Pee-Pee Boy, "Where are your parents?" "I didn't pee!!!" he said in that desperate kid-whine. "Where are your parents?" I repeated. "It was him, not me!" he said while pointing to his friend who ratted him out. After a surprisingly short time of getting him to stop shifting the blame, he finally took me to him mom, and I told her what happened. Her face switched into that expression which only a mother can give to her child, an expression which I'm glad I'll never see again. Looking at her face, you just knew the kid was going to get it, and bad. I took her to the restroom and showed her the puddle of piss. She assured me that she was going to discipline him. As I walked away I could have sworn I heard her say "get down there." My heart dropped. As absolutely bratty as these kids were, I remembered when I was younger and tried to flush a dodge ball down a toilet and flooded the bathroom. I wasn't actually trying to flush it down, I was just having fun being bad and showing off to my friends. You don't give a shit about libraries or anything else when you're a child, you just make noise and do stupid things and don't truly know the concept of regret. I looked at the Pee-Pee Boy, and I saw myself. Maybe one day he'll grow up to be a linguist or a DJ. Now, though, he's gonna get his ass whipped.

I told my coworkers about Pee-Pee Boy, and the general consensus was that his pissing on the wall was disgusting. As I walked to the back I saw that Pee-Pee Boy and his mom were leaving. She turned to me and asked if I were sure that it was him. I described exactly what I saw when I opened the door. She looked at him and asked him, "did you pee on the wall?" He looked down and shook his head "yes." I turned around and felt very relieved that I didn't accidentally get the wrong kid in trouble. But then again, he DID have that piss stain on his shirt. They left, and I went to the bathroom, pissing into the toilet the way you're supposed to in a civilized society. One day, though, there might not be any more toilets, and we'll all be Pee-Pee Boys. Today is not that day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Lowest Form of Humor


I once worked with a tiny girl who was a ray of sunshine and one of the sweetest people I ever dealt with. We were both pages at my old library, and we both hated having to shelve books in the foreign section. Our library served a large Chinese population, and the only books we had for them were all gathered in a small aisle, which was larger than the new books section but not by much. Because the aisle was so small, it got disgustingly crowded and stuffy. The only thing I can compare it to is riding a bus in India. It was a nightmare trying to shelve books there, because not only would you have to squeeze your way through and try to reach your arm around people just to shelve a book, but anytime you left a cart near the aisle there'd be five hands digging through it, destroying whatever order you had the books in. My coworker hated working in this section, but she had a strategy for clearing it out to get her work done. It wasn't a complicated trick, but damn was it effective. Basically, when she pushed her book cart to the foreign section, she would make her way inside and pass some rancid, stinking gas. Fortunately I was never there to see it happen, but apparently it did the trick, and the aisle cleared out considerably, save a couple stragglers with a strong love of books and an even stronger stomach.

I once knew someone who'd always been "gas shy," but did use their anal vapor as a weapon one time. He was shelving books in the regular fiction area, which is next to the foreign aisle (I would like to make something perfectly clear right now: I have NOTHING against patrons who read books in other languages. I'm a linguistics major, for Christ's sake.), when he heard a noisy, bratty little kid running around and yelling in Spanish. He walked over and "shushed" him, but the mother did nothing to shut the kid up, and he continued to scream. Luckily, this page had a couple Spanish magazines with him, so he walked over to the foreign section again. He bent over to shelve these on the lower racks, and with his ass pointed in the kids direction, let out something that just felt like it was going to stink. It was silent and warm; the worst ones always are. This person later told me that they heard the kid yell stuff in Spanish as the page walked away, two of the words being "fuchi" and "aqui." He thinks that the boy was blaming his sister, who he was pestering the entire time before the gas attack.

I would like to conclude by saying that this is the lowest form of humor, and I think that these actions were wrong. I merely pass them on as examples of what NOT to do when dealing with the public.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Roland's Abridgment of Plato's "Apology."

Introduction

In the world of Philosophy, few figures are more prominent than Plato. His body of work, the most important of which is obviously "The Republic of Plato," has set the course of philosophical thinking from the moment they were committed to paper. It has been said, in fact, that all philosophical thinking since has been merely answering Plato, either in the affirmative or negative. "Apology" is one of his shorter works, and is easily accessible to those who wish to begin studying the thoughts of this incredible thinker. However, in this time of intellectual poverty, even the shortest of the classics demand abridgment for American audiences. I am nothing more than a student, merely twenty-eight years in age, and it takes a great deal of arrogance on my part to suggest that I can condense the mastery of Plato's words into something that can be digested by modern audiences. However, it needs to be done, and no one else is doing it. Therefore, it is with excitement that I present to you, the modern reader, my abridgment of Plato's "Apology."

A Note on the Translation

I have spent countless hours pouring over this work in the original, and trying to transfer the basic components into our language. The point of any translation is to transmit, with as little deviation as possible, the author's intent. Certain sacrifices must be made in an abridgment, however, and with a heavy heart there are beautiful ideas such as I have rarely, if ever, seen in modern works, that had to be left out of this edition. They are there, available for those who wish to pursue the work further, as I would like any readers of this text to do, in any decent library and bookstore. What I have done is attempt to use the simplest language possible to convey the meaning of this text, so that any poetry that I have been tempted to include has been taken out. The language, clear, precise, without adornments, is the ultimate endpoint of art, and I do believe that this translation and abridgment would find favor with the poet William Carlos Williams, who's work is equal to this abridgment, if not, as I sincerely believe, even surpassed by it. I hope that the clarity of the language used leaves no misinterpretation possible, and that, upon further readings, the brilliance of this work will pierce into your hearts, as a heavy deluge of small droplets of water will pierce even the toughest edifices.



Roland's Abridgment of Plato's "Apology."
Copyright 2008.



Apology






I'm sorry.






Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the Hacienda/La Puente Unified School District for their fantastic job in educating me, making sure that I had all the leisure in the world to pursue my intellectual endeavors, never once stifling my thirst for knowledge by handing out needless assignments, or homework that was too difficult, or required any length of time to complete. Also, I would like to thank the culture in which I was raised, which constantly questions any kind of intellectual thinking, making it necessary to defend yourself and explain why you bother to read books written by dead white males or anyone else for that matter. I do not think it is for any other reason than that the average person is testing intellectual vigor, and that the majority of my fellow Americans are brilliant beyond words, and that this is a continuous test of durability. In my heart of hearts, I believe that all Americans, from the states lining the oceans to the dry dusty spaces in-between, have snugly next to their Bibles editions of Shakespeare and the works of Plato, much like they did in revolutionary times. We are a culture of secret readers and hidden intellectual ability, and that rugged individualism is what makes this country great. Also, I have mentioned him earlier, but I would like to thank William Carlos Williams, who proves that poetry doesn't need fancy language, a good sense of rhythm, any kind of reference, or any kind of meaning, to be good. His work stands, much like the playful colorings of a toddler, the hypnotic mosaic of bird-droppings underneath lampposts, or the simple scrawls of graffiti which beautifully adorn stop signs and private property, as a testament that art does not have to mean anything at all for people to enjoy it. I applaud his works, and may his message of simplicity echo forever in our art!

About the Author

Roland lives in Hickory Heights, California. He has previously been published in The Ocelot (the school newspaper for Orange Grove Jr. High) and Dork Magazine, received an AA Degree from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, and a BA in Linguistics at California State University, Fullerton. He is currently famous for appearing in Scott Douglas' best-selling library memoir "Quiet Please" (De Capo Press). His work has been praised by his Creative Writing professors and by his peers, which include musician Chonk, master of collage Sofia Zonk, and the historian Nelissa Fitzgerald. He works as a Library Technician, and is currently working on a modernization of "The Canterbury Tales." Roland's translation and abridgment of Plato's "Apology" is the beginning of a project to bring the Classics of literature to modern readers. His next project in this vein is to translate James Joyce's novel "Finnegans Wake" into English.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Library Nemesis



Superman has Lex Luthor. Spider-Man has Doc Ock. The X-Men have Magneto. Batman has the Joker. And I had Dick O'Shea.

Well, Dick O'Shea isn't his real name, but I'm not dumb enough to give the man publicity here. The point is, everyone who works at a library has, at some point, a certain patron or staff member who's only raison d'être is to cause them misery and blacken the remainder of their day. It can be anyone, ranging from a bitter patron with a permanent chip on their shoulder, an angry elderly person expressing the same exact complaints to you every time you see them, or a bratty child who no one seems to know how to take care of. You try to sit there and rationalize things. You try to take on their point of view. No matter what techniques you apply to make the situation less irksome, it never works. They still have the social effect of someone pissing in your Cheerios.

When I first encountered Dick O'Shea, I was struck by his angry, scowling face. You knew immediately that no matter how well you helped this person, they would still leave the library with that same expression, and would not even grant you the customary "thank you" for your services. He never checked out anything from our library's collection: it was all Inter-Library loans, which are books that are special ordered from other libraries not in the same system. He would spend half an hour at the information desk, talking to whichever poor soul was working the desk and no doubt making their job a living hell. Afterward he would walk up to the circulation desk and proceed to talk down to the circ staff, which is where I come in.

This idiot had the annoying habit of bringing in his own little sheets of paper and having whoever was on desk sign it when he returned his book, as a kind of guarantee that his books got returned. He would not infrequently grab a staff member's ID badge and pull it toward him, so he got a good look at their name. I'm sure people told him to not do this, but I seriously doubt that it mattered. When he would return a book, he would walk up to the desk, and throw it at us, without saying a word. When asked "are you returning this or do you want to check it out?" his snotty response would be "what do you think?" I think it's pretty damn interesting that one obnoxious prick could intimidate practically the entire staff of the library. My response to this jerk off was scowling and not infrequently walking as soon as he came to stand in line.

My own form of petty revenge has to do with his book. This man's around 70, and he self-published a book, and bullied his way into having it included in the library's collection. It has an Amazon sales rank of nothing. My own form of revenge is finding every website that lists this book and writing the most intensely negative reviews I can think of about it. Since I never got the chance to punch this son-of-a-bitch in the face, I'll do the next best thing by taking a shit on his life's work. God I hate this man.

Everyone else has their own enemy that they deal with far too often than they'd like. My coworker Scott (who's lovely book "The Library Tree" is available as a free download) has some Asian man who stares him down each time he comes in. Another coworker has a fat, hairy man who keeps hitting on her, sweat beading up on that thicket sticking out of his tank top. My best friend had this fat tub of shit with a coco puff on her cheek who got her fired. My other closest friend has a girl who gossips among the other staff members and who's face looks like shredded wheat. We all have someone who makes the job that much more annoying, that much more grating on us. Even after leaving my old branch and never having to see Dick O'Shea again, I now have to deal with an equally rude man with an obvious toupee. No matter what library I work at, there will always be someone there, waiting around the corner, with a frowny face to ruin my day.

But seeing the smile on those kid's faces when they get their Pooh Bear books makes it all worth it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ain't Nothin' Tender About It



I went to San Francisco this weekend, and besides how pretty a lot of it seemed, I was shocked when I ended up driving through a couple of the ghetto areas. My girlfriend and I got lost trying to find a club on Fell Street, and we wound up in a scummy area, driving through what looked like dirty alleys. A man who looked to be borderline homeless was moving a nasty, stained-covered couch as our car came up. He stopped and gave me a look like he was going to run to the car and smash his fist through the window. Instead he angrily moved the couch back over so that we could pass. The following day we walked and drove through the Tenderloin, and I was so unnerved that I damn near shit in my pants. I have not seen such a high concentration of drugged-up and poverty stricken people in years. At least, not since driving through skid row in Los Angeles, and even there the people seemed more miserable than murderous.

This got me thinking about cities in general, and how all of them have ghettos. I know that it isn't just the cities that have ghettos, but I wanted to concentrate on them because they have all the glamour and are the most expensive places to live in. If you want a place in LA, it's going to cost you. New York and San Francisco will set you back even further. These fancy areas cost a shitload of money to live in, and they all have violent ghettos. I wanted to know why this was.

The best guess that I could come up with was that cities are places where a ton of labor is needed, and not all of it is done by the highly educated and well off. Someone needs to do the shit work, but these people cannot afford to commute back and forth. So they cluster around certain areas, and these communities grow with more of the same people. Because of the desperation of living in an expensive city and getting paid next to nothing, some of these people turn to crime. After a generation or two grows up with this kind of desperation as a fact of life, they just take it as a given that certain kinds of crime are unavoidable, and that burglary, assault, drug dealing, even murder are to be expected just to get by. Meanwhile, because everyone else who lives in the city is making vastly more money, they avoid these spots and think only that "something needs to be done," without wanting to really do anything about them. So a reputation grows that these are "badass" areas, and the youth who grow up there take a degree of pride in being raised in these spots, since the very fact of their survival proves that they are tough. Those in neighboring areas also grow up under similar circumstances, and think that they are even tougher. So the youths gather in packs to beat the living shit or murder each other, as further proof of their toughness. These groups, in addition to protection, take part in other shady activities, such as drug dealing and theft, as ways to get the income they need to survive.

At least, that's what I think might be it. Isn't it strange that every major city has a ghetto? You would think that the employers would try to give decent wages, and that the city would try to take care of it's lower-class population, since without someone to do the shit work the entire structure would crumble to the ground. Yet if living in the city were affordable, more middle-class and lower-middle class people would filter in, and still shut out those who work at low-income jobs. Of course, everything I said could just be a bunch of crap, but I'm neither a politician nor a social scientist. I'm just some guy who finds these questions interesting. As always, relevant book and magazine recommendations are always welcome.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Bastille Day!

Ever since reading Simon Schama's delightful book "Citizens," I've been feeling some cognitive dissonance with this holiday. On one hand, it's the biggest French holiday there is, but on the other, it celebrates one of the most brutal fucking events in history. Anyone who thinks that the French are pussies really needs to pick this book up, since the kind of murdering that went on among the French was shocking, from carving body parts off screaming officers with dull knives to tearing off genitals and stuffing it down the victim's mouths. Anyhow, I will do my duty as a Francophile to wish everyone a Happy Bastille Day, and present you with some charming Youtube clips of the French in Action.





Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Favorite Movie Moments!



Everyone loves lists, so here's my list of favorite movie moments. Some there will be near universal agreement on, while others will leave folks asking what the hell my problem is. Either way, the vast majority of these won't be on an AFI list:

Rebecca De Mornay telling Ernie Hudson "Don't fuck with me, retard." after the "mentally challenged" neighborhood friend spots her breastfeeding the family's baby in "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle."

Jeanne Moreau singing "Le Tourbillon" in "Jules et Jim."

Marlon Brando comforting Kim Hunter after a fight in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

The "let's feed grandpa" scene in the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Phoebe Cates trying to serve all the different Gremlins, then getting flashed by one, in "Gremlins."

Ritchie's brother telling him, "You've grown, cabron!" in "La Bamba."

The bedroom seduction between Lea Thompson and Howard in "Howard The Duck."

The "lobster rape" scene in "Multiple Maniacs."

"GET HER!!!!!" in "Ghostbusters.

Raymond Dufayel scolding Lucien on his obsession with Lady Di in "Amelie."

Brandon telling Dawn, "Yo Weiner, you better get ready, 'cause at three o' clock today, I'm gonna rape you!" in "Welcome to the Dollhouse."

Crispin Glover as The Thin Man fighting all three of the angels while "Smack My Bitch Up" blares loudly as the soundtrack in "Charlie's Angels."

Jack Nicholson defending his less-than-intelligent girlfriend Karen Black after high-class snobs at a cocktail party insult her in "Five Easy Pieces."

When Harold feels up the suggestive statue at Maude's place in "Harold and Maude."

The last scene in "The Last American Virgin."

Jason attacking the two virtual reality girls in their sleeping bags in "Jason X."

Anytime Frodo would look deeply into Sam's eyes and say "Oh Sam" in any of the Lord Of The Rings films.

Two scenes from "Great Balls of Fire;" when Jerry Lee Lewis and Myra are on their honeymoon ("You're all woman to Jerry Lee!"), and when leaving England after a disasterous tour, a reporter asks if he has any final words for England, and Jerry says "England can kiss my ass!"

In "Me, Myself, and Irene," when one of Jim Carey's cop friends suggests that maybe his wife had an affair, because their kids have a "year-round tan."

The Barbie museum in "Rat Race."

When Sonny Bono tries to seduce some dimwit in his apartment in "Troll."

The exploding head scenes in both "Scanners" and "Maniac."

The dumb "we just needed to pick up the kids!" joke at the end of the "Man Who Knew Too Much" remake.

Beetlejuice's first TV ad, where he's dressed up as a cowboy, in "Beetlejuice."

Bill Murray saying "Mexico...was a disaster" in "Ed Wood."

The exchange between Audrey and Cousin Vicki on the teeter-totter in "National Lampoon's Vacation."

The arm-wrestling scene in "The Fly" remake.

The Tramp's face at the end of "City Lights."

Carrie and that curly-haired jock dancing at the prom while the camera spins around them, going faster and faster in "Carrie."

Brando running around with the orange peel in his mouth in "The Godfather."

Pagoda yelling "you son of a bitch!" and stabbing Gene Hackman in "The Royal Tenenbaums."

Divine prancing through the park with her new boyfriend in slow motion, while Bill Murry sings that "one boy...one girl" song on the soundtrack in "Polyester."

Johnny Knoxville (I think) as an old man getting kicked out of a store for trying to shoplift, then mumbling "I was Lon Chaney's lover!" in "Jackass, The Movie."

Burt Reynolds punching out Dom Delouise in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

The weighlifting girl somehow falling alseep while lifting weights, then being turned into a cockroach by Freddy, in "A Nightmare on Elm Street part 4, The Dream Master."

Barbara's brother taunting her in the graveyard at the beginning of "Night of the Living Dead."

Jeffrey giving a hotel room full of hookers his "super crack," causing all of them to explode in "Frankenhooker." Also, later on, when Frankenhooker screws a John until he blows up.

The last skit in "History of the World, Part 1," where Gregory Hines is walking down the street and a blind man is begging for money. The man somehow sees Hines and they greet each other in delicious ghetto fashion. Also, the scene with Moses is probably one of the best religious jokes I've ever seen, second only to:

Brian addressing the crowd outside of his house in "Life of Brian."

Gizmo's xerox machine torture in "Gremlins 2, The New Batch."

The bums at the drive-in, sitting on crates, telling Pee Wee, "Look Pee Wee....BOX SEATS!" in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."

Ass-kissing dean Larry Miller greeting an old couple at a fundraiser, telling the man, "And when did you marry Sharon Stone?" and then telling the old lady "keep those legs crossed!" in "The Nutty Professor."

The first 40 minutes of "Full Metal Jacket."

The old Jewish man telling a joke during the credits in "Coming To America."

The "I saw a window open, so I said 'fuck it!'" scene in "Friday."

Anytime the butler would walk in "The Corpse Bride."

Judas being tormented by evil children in "The Passion of The Christ."

Wormtail dumping the tiny, chihuahua-esque Voldemort into a cauldron before the final battle in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

The herd of burning cows at the beginning of "Mars Attacks!"

Satan singing "Up There" in "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut."

Lucy Harker walking through a decaying town overrun with rats in "Nosferatu." (1979)

Tiny Tim talking to a half-naked woman on his hotel bed in "Street of Dreams."

The Butler's psychedelic song and dance sequence in "Gumnaam."

Kong peeling off the outer layer of Fay Wray's clothes in "King Kong."

William Holden and Gloria Swanson dancing the tango in "Sunset Blvd," mainly because of the look on Erich von Stroheim's face when he picks up her discarded tiara.

Any scene with Stromboli in Disney's "Pinocchio."

Abe Vigoda yelling "The bastards stole my candy!" in "Look Who's Talking." Also, Kirstie Alley imagining her future with John Travolta; "Just because it's free don't mean it ain't good."

"Mind if I smoke...while you eat?" in "Deep Throat."

Morris Day asking Prince, "How's the family?" in "Purple Rain."

The floating raft being invaded by monkeys, one of which Klaus Kinski picks up, stares at, then throws to the side, in "Aguirre, The Wrath of God."

And finally, the big gross out vomit and snot fest at the fashion show in "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie." I also like the way the kids seemed to not care that all of their friends were murdered Auschwitz-style at the State Home For The Ugly. Very shocking for a children's film.

That's all I've got for now, but this list will obviously be updated as I see more films. Feel free to add your own, or better yet, make your own list.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Got 10,000 Hours to Spare?


This morning I spent a couple of hours at the bookstore with my girlfriend and was flipping my way through several books. One of them was a book that I started reading a couple of years back and never finished: "This Is Your Brain On Music." When I read the back of the book, I saw something that grabbed my eye. There was a claim that to become a virtuoso, you need to practice for 10,000 hours, rather than be born with some innate "gift." I read that section of the book and was pleasantly surprised, because this applies to everything, from tap dancing to playing the piano.

The way it breaks down is to practice three hours a day, every day, for ten years. This level of dedication is far beyond that of most people, but is actually is doable. When we got back home I went online and started going to different websites, just to see what the opinion was of this. There were a lot of different takes on it, and some guy broke it down into how good you would be at something after an hour, ten hours, a hundred hours, etc. It seems as though some people need to have clearly defined milestones, just so they can slap a label on their progress and thus can say "I have arrived" when they reach a certain point. Hell, I'm still trying to figure out at what point I can say "I am a linguist" and not "I am a student of linguistics."

So why even bring this up? First of all, I just find shit like this interesting. It's a nice number to throw at people when you feel like showing off ("Hey guys, wanna know how long it takes to be an expert at something? Do ya?"). Second, it's another attack against the idea of innate abilities. I'm not going to knock our natural tendencies, or continue the lie that there are no real differences between men an women. I just like the idea that in order to be good at something, you actually need to get off your ass and do the work for it, rather than piss and moan that you weren't born with the genius of a Mozart or the ball-handling skills of a Michael Jordan. For a lot of people, it's easier to just throw the idea of innate ability around, rather than face the fact that they just aren't that good at something because they don't practice. Lock yourself in your room for three hours a day, every single goddamn day, and practice, and in ten years you'll be an expert at something.

And if you're not, send me a message and I'll apologize for lying to you.