Putting aside that he’s a despot, murderer and international criminal, Muammar el-Qaddafi exudes the kind of cool one would normally associate with a jazz musician. Stylish, enigmatic and an unstoppable creative force, I particularly enjoyed this pictorial evaluation of his choice fashion, “Style Dictates: The Many Moods of Muammar el-Qaddafi.”
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For us discerning fans of kitschy infomercial entertainment, two recent examples show how things should and should not be done.
First up is Vince, of ShamWow fame, hawking the Slap Chop, yet another vegetable chopping tool. While Vince’s technical pitchcraft is sound, the script is forced, crammed with sophomoric one-liners:
The ad is rambling nonsense– an insult to the intelligence of its viewers.
Now compare this to the newest Snuggie ad, which borders on exquisite, an instant masterpiece of the genre. To be fair, the Snuggie product is, itself, a sublime creation, perfectly crafted for the infomercial world. But the ad really brings the Snuggie to life. From the beginning, the funky bass line sets the tone– the inexplicable dancing whilst pouring coffee, raising the roof couchside. Are you waving to me, knitting grandma? Why, hello. It’s nice to see you so cozy, as you knit with your free hands. And cranky old man at the outdoor sporting event? Didn’t you get the memo? We’re all wearing our Snuggies to the game. It’s going to be a cold one today!
The new Snuggie ad is everything that’s right and good about the infomercial genre (and a remarkable improvement on the original Snuggie ad, which was itself an instant classic). It’s hilariously absurd, and it’s addictive. Surly, I can’t be the only that finds it hard not to sing along: “That’s right!”
As a sometime listener of rap music, and a follower of the conservative media, I particularly enjoyed this Slate-like comparison of the two forms in today’s NYT:
Rappers tend to be fans of the Second Amendment, though they rarely frame their affection for guns in constitutional terms. And rap has an opinion about human nature that is deeply conservative — namely, that criminals cannot be reformed. The difference is that gangsta rappers often identify themselves as the criminals, and are proud of their unreformability.
Kill this blog. It’s already dead. It’s just a matter of putting it out of its misery.
What killed JttM? Facebook, for one. Facebook has made everyone a blogger, with a broader audience than JttM ever had. Our picture uploads and status updates reach everyone who ever read JttM– and more. JttM was a great precursor to Facebook—a way for a group of people to keep in regular touch. But, today, it’s a place for random links and Youtube clips.
But Facebook aside, I imagine we’re all busy– too busy to meaningfully blog. Edemire has blogged here only twice in the last twenty-six months; Murderman once in the last fifteen months. I’d love to have the time to write longer pieces on the matters that interest me, even if no one was reading. But I don’t. Actually, I do, but I choose to spend my waning free time in other ways. I think we all do.
JttM was a great project and once a meaningful way to keep in touch. Many us made noble efforts at blogging. Murder did especially well with the longer, more thoughtful pieces. Daniel’s exhaustive year-end music picks were always amusing. And I really enjoyed taking my stabs as a music critic. (By the way, have you heard the new Camera Obscura album? It ain’t that bad!)
But, for me, the most memorable post was what I dub the Great Philosophical Debate of 2005– not for the post itself, but the comments. I still get a kick from reading those rants.
I’ve talked about decommissioning with Joel and BWB before (to whom, I am infinitely appreciative for providing and maintaining this forum for so long). But each was resistant. JttM is not what it once was. This blog was started almost five years ago now, admittedly at the cusp of the blogging craze (hey, anyone interested in starting a group Twitter account?!?). But today, I can’t see a purpose for it. Can you?
Wow, another creative talent snatched at the early age of 50. RIP Billy Mays (here).
Oh, Pig-Mobile, how taken was I when I first eyed you in the downtown? How awesome are you, your owners to have clad you with your pigly metallic garb? And how delicious are your sweet, sweet sandwiches, priced at $6 apiece?
More delicious, for sure, if they weren’t quite so over-priced. But Pig-Mobile, I forgive thee. Because Pig-Mobile, you had me at Pig-Mobile.
Holy god, lest anyone keeps an Utopian image of the liberal West Coast, here’s a story about a couple from nearby Whidbey Island (but not Broady, Murder) who are saving everything– and they mean everything, kissing included– for marriage:
“Instead of a smooch, Ritter says they will rub their noses together, sometimes nicknamed an “Eskimo kiss.” And to avoid temptation while dating, they limit the amount of alone time they spend together.”
As Elbert Ventura of Slate notes,
The Brothers Bloom is only the latest addition to a burgeoning subgenre. Over the last few years, Anderson’s movies have become touchstones for indie culture. In the 1990s, it seemed every NYU graduate and Sundance contender was making his own Tarantino knockoff. These days, the Tarantino imitators have been replaced by the Wes wannabes. A popular strain in recent American indie cinema has been the Andersonian quirkfest, a tendency that runs through movies like Juno, Napoleon Dynamite, Son of Rambow, Charlie Bartlett, and Garden State, among others.
Elsewhere, Seth Stevenson of Slate says,
A recent essay made the claim that Wes Anderson is the “most influential American filmmaker of the post-Baby Boom generation.” I’d argue that Anderson’s influence extends to the realm of television commercials.
North Korea announced on Wednesday that it considers itself no longer bound by the 1953 armistice agreement that halted the Korean War. It’s too bad. The armistice had a solid run, lasting 56 years or so.
Mancow, a semi-obscure radio personality whom I’ve blogged about before, recently agreed to be waterboarded with the hopes of proving that it’s not torture. His reaction, after enduring only 5 seconds, is surprising, yet still predictable: “absolutely torture.” [video here]
Incidentally, I foresee a new niche industry: obscure to semi-obscure media personalities agreeing to subject themselves to special “enhanced interrogation techniques” for attention. Who wouldn’t want to see Glenn Beck slammed against a fake concrete wall after nine days of sleep deprivation?
Shep lets another one rip on live television. Will this ever get old?
The Fayetteville Athletic Club (a/k/a F.A.C. or the FAC (pronounced “fak”)), the place where I spent a large chunk (and best part) of my teenage years, is unhappily featured on the front page of the New York Times business section.
I can’t wait for the day a U.S. President makes an open and announced visit to Iraq.
Rankings for the top 15 programs on cable networks for the week of March 9-15:
1. ”WWE Raw” (Monday, 10 p.m.), USA, 3.74 million homes, 5.64 million viewers.
2. ”WWE Raw” (Monday, 9 p.m.), USA, 3.45 million homes, 5.16 million viewers.
3. ”Hannah Montana” (Sunday, 7:30 p.m.), Disney, 3.25 million homes, 4.42 million viewers.
4. ”NCIS” (Monday, 7 p.m.), USA, 3.24 million homes, 4.22 million viewers.
5. ”NCIS” (Thursday, 7 p.m.), USA, 3.14 million homes, 4 million viewers.
6. ”NCIS” (Tuesday, 7 p.m.), USA, 3.07 million homes, 3.98 million viewers.
7. ”SpongeBob SquarePants” (Saturday, 9:30 a.m.), Nickelodeon, 3.06 million homes, 4.24 million viewers.
8. ”Wizards of Waverly Place” (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.), Disney, 3.05 million homes, 4.16 million viewers.
9. ”Sonny With a Chance” (Sunday, 8 p.m.), Disney, 3 million homes, 3.99 million viewers.
10. ”SpongeBob SquarePants” (Saturday, 12:30 p.m.), Nickelodeon, 2.97 million homes, 3.98 million viewers.
11. ”ICarly” (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.), Nickelodeon, 2.95 million homes, 3.87 million viewers.
12. ”NCIS” (Wednesday, 7 p.m.), USA, 2.93 million homes, 3.84 million viewers.
13. ”Comedy Central Roast” (Sunday, 10 p.m.), Comedy Central, 2.9 million homes, 4.07 million viewers.
14. ”SpongeBob SquarePants” (Saturday, 12 noon), Nickelodeon, 2.88 million homes, 3.96 million viewers.
15. ”The O’Reilly Factor” (Thursday, 8 p.m.), Fox News Channel, 2.84 million homes, 3.61 million viewers.
Violating basic principles of humility and tasteful web design, could it be that it features his
robotic, yet annoying, visage four times ?… (In addition to his menacing silhouette?!?)
My latest infatuation: the medieval mural at local dive bar, Bernard’s. Take my word for it: medieval revivalist art will be huge in a few years.
Are listed here. My favorites:
H/t Slog, where “cockle” proved divisive.
Obama may be wearing the pants now, but we still have a country filled with people like these:
42% of Americans support state-sponsored torturing.
55% of Republican Americans support state-sponsored torturing.
65% of Republican American men support state-sponsored torturing.
I could give this more nuance, but I’m not.