Archive for December, 2009

–*A Nintendo Wii

–*A Nintendo Wii and child support

–*A big glass of eggnog and primary custody of the child

–*An amicus brief from the American Civil Liberties Union, sent by Fed Ex to Alabama

–*A Pleo robotic dinosaur and a public health option

–*A Jedi concentration console, which allows you to levitate an orb with your brainwaves, and a recall of obstructionist Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, which would allow you to pass decent health care legislation with your brainwaves.

–*Malibu rum, for your feelings.

–*EyeClops Night Vision Goggles, to teach your children stalking skills early in life.

–*Transformer movie action toys make a great gift, say bloggers compromised by advertising money

–*A Ronald Reagan doll with invisible stealth government, large paper deficits and extra wealth disparity.

–*A job.

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My mother’s dog Max doing his imitation of the Montauk Monster. Is it a man? Bear? Pit bull? Pig? Fish? We’ll never know.

Click here to see the original.

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We have all recently heard a lot about a rising young music star named Taylor Swift, the teen pop/country sensation who was named Billboard’s Artist of the Year and whose second release, Fearless, was named album of the year by the Academy of Country Music Awards. Besides her meteoric rise to fame, she is also known for her personal life. She is currently rumored to be dating Taylor Lautner.

If you, like me, are unfamiliar with Swift’s music, my 10-year-old nephew Colin has penned a review of Fearless that explains all you need to know about this new musical heavyweight.

Taylor Swift Is Hot With A Capital H
(Or, How Much Taylor Lautner Is A Boob)
by Colin Miller

Taylor Swift is hot with a capital H. Her music is smooth, really great, and she should not be dating Taylor Lautner because he is a boob. Her music is touching. Her music can teach. She can sing really good. She is a hottie. If I ever get into Taylor Lautner’s bedroom he better believe I’m going to get in his kitchen and steal a knife. He might have a gun on his shelf because that’s the kind of thing that he does.

Her hair is silky smooth. She is really hot, like I said before. Her voice is really great. She is the best guitar player in the world. And she’s 20, so that makes her hot. Her songs are the only ones that I know. “You Belong With Me.” And “Romeo and Juliet.” Those are good songs because she sings it good. They’re not even good songs if my uncle sang it. And if she wasn’t around, I would have no reason to live.

She is hot. She has good hair. She’s skinny. She’s only dating Taylor Lautner so she can dump him next year and make him feel like nothing. And she is a beauty. And she makes Britney Spears look like Fat Albert. And that’s all I have to say about Taylor Swift.

You should go out to buy her album because I think it’s a music video and you can make out with the screen. And her songs are really good because she actually sings good. She’s not just pretty. She sings good. And you can buy her album in the next year–she’s going to make an album about how much Taylor Lautner sucks.

Photo: Colin’s rendering of Taylor Swift. Here she is seen kissing Colin while Taylor Lautner lies off to the side, cut in half.

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Stephanie and I landed out West for our Christmas vacation last night, and woke refreshed this morning to find this awesome review of “The Retributioners” on Visioweb.TV, an excellent new site devoted to Web shows. The legions of Web TV fans are growing, and if this site is any indication, they’re an increasingly savvy, sophisticated, articulate bunch. We should all be switching off our cable now! (at least until the Soup and 30 Rock are on, or maybe until Mad Men gets going again).

So if you do love Web TV, and you want to show your appreciation to the proliferating numbers of plucky, independent-minded Web artists coming online, maybe you’re wondering: How do I get my favorite shows the attention they’re due? Well, how about with some awards?

The 2nd Annual Streamy Award season just launched, and Stephanie and I are excited to nominate not only ourselves, but also to nominate the incredibly talented actors who lent us their rapier wit and masterful acting chops in 2009. For your consideration, we humbly submit our fresh, funny, acerbic, retributive Web show in a number of categories. Check out our Streamy site to find out how you can get The Retributioners nominated.

Steph and I, again, are on vacation, so the posts will be a bit less frequent over the next couple of weeks, but check in anyway. You never know when I’ll spring some holiday cheer on you.

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If you need great gift ideas for Christmas (or extremely late ideas for Hanukkah), look no further. I have a raft of suggestions for you to help spread the holiday cheer and heighten the eggnog buzz.

As I’ve mentioned before, Stephanie and I have a whole lot of talented friends working in the film and publishing industries, and this year, three of them have had their work hit the shelves. A fourth friend has had a poetry anthology out for a couple of years. How close am I to these people? Well, I’ve been to the weddings of three, and served as best man to one of them.

Whether you’re looking for fun kid films, thoughtful young adult books, poetry anthologies or a bracing look at America’s past and future credit crises, my friends will have something for that finicky and hard-to-please family member.

First I submit to you “The Day-Glo Brothers,” penned by my friend Chris Barton and illustrated by Tony Persiani. The book recounts the invention of day-glo paint by the brothers Joe and Bob Switzer, who invented and perfected fluorescent colors in the pursuit of a more exciting magic show and overcame some hardship in the process. The book depicts the different sensibilities of the sober-sided Bob and the more devil-may-care Joe as they worked together to change the color of our world. The book’s been named one of the best children’s books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly.

If you’ve got a relative who’s more interested in the world of American business and finance, an old colleague of mine at Thomson Financial, Josh Kosman, offers a bracing look at the private equity industry in his book “The Buyout of America.” Here, Josh explains how the captains of the PE world have swooped down on healthy companies, compromising their long-term stability and their balance sheets to suck them dry for big profits. These problems could likely lead to the next big credit crisis, Josh writes. The book is already stirring some controversy in the powerful PE world, whose biggest players have cozy relationships with Washington. You can get a copy at Amazon.com.

Maybe that special person on your gift list needs more poetry in his or her life. If so, you can check out “Best Poems of the English Language,” a work that came out in 2007 and was edited by my friend Alissa Heyman.  This anthology features some 200 poets working from the 7th century to the 20th, which covers a lot of styles and a lot of the fantastic breadth of expression in our relatively young language. It includes all the greats: Shakespeare, Yeats, Shelley, William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Lee Masters, etc. Because it’s an anthology, it will not only satisfy people who love poetry but also those who want to look like they do and need an accoutrement to their cultivated image of refinement!

If you’re dealing with someone less interested in books, then why not order a copy of “Shorts,” a film for both kids and adults by Robert Rodriquez with material supplied by my close friend Alvaro Rodriguez. The film follows the expolits of a bunch of kids whose wishes are granted by a magical wishing rock and whose troubles with their wishes are played out in a number of funny vignettes, some of which are touching and others are funny and maybe even a bit gross.

Certainly, one of these items will satisfy that special friend and loved one. If not, then let’s not kid ourselves: You’re probably just going to get them a fruit cake.

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Ashley Dupre, the one-time call girl whose tryst with former New York governor Eliot Spitzer brought about his stunning downfall, has recently taken a position as a New York Post advice columnist, claiming that she’s in a unique position to teach people using the examples of her own mistakes in life. What are some of the insights she has to offer?

–*”Remember, a man and a woman have to establish trust early in a relationship. Make sure he puts the money on the dresser before he gets into bed.”

–*”A girl always has to use good judgment and not engage in unsafe activity. So whenever a man wants to have sex without a condom, make sure beforehand he’s a powerful public figure.”

–*”Sometimes girls have to act out, especially if they had a very repressed childhood. If you have repressive parents and live in New Jersey, you might consider disposing of them.”

–*”Remember, when a guy promises you the world, he probably just wants to get into your pants. Don’t fall for this trick unless he’s from England or Italy.”

–*”Nothing should come between you and your dreams, especially not the Mann Act.”

–*”Young women in their teens often haven’t developed an identity yet. If you don’t know who you are, keep changing your name until you find out. You or the cops.”

–*”Even if you’re with a guy who’s taken on giant industries like mutual funds, insurance and banking, you can’t be intimidated by him. Just remind yourself—you’re the one with the vagina. Without it, Mr. “I successfully sued AIG” doesn’t even rate a 2. Not to a vagina-having girl like yourself.”

–*”Even if you don’t always feel like the prettiest girl in the class, just remember that every girl is pretty when she’s naked in a Girls Gone Wild video.”

–*”A lot of girls dream of making it big in the music industry, but don’t know how to create an audience. I recommend being at the center of a major political sex scandal.”

–*A guy has to respect you first if he’s going to put you in a blindfold and order you to pick up the money.

–*”Sometimes a girl gets in way over her head with booze, drugs, sex, gambling, porn, prostitution, masturbation, gas huffing, day trading … I don’t remember where I was going with this.”

–*”Lead paint remediation is no laughing matter.”

–*”Moms can be very protective. If your mom thinks you’re dressing too provocatively, try telling her to back the fuck off.”

–*”Christmas is a time for giving. Why not get him a whore?”

–*”The road to riches and fortune is not easy. It’s paved with a lot of cock.”

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To: The New York Times
From: Cat Sinclair, 18, Flower Mound, Kansas

Dear editor:

I’ve been reading a lot of international newspapers recently and I’ve been shocked to hear that Italy has brought a young woman to trial for murder, claiming that she took part in a drug-fueled violent sex orgy that turned homicidal. As I read the case closely, I had to ask: Why doesn’t stuff like that ever happen in my town? Do crazed, murderous orgies only happen in Italy?

So very often I dream of taking a gap year or wanderjahr to the land of the ancient Romans. But this case has greatly troubled me as I pore over international newspapers and books from the library.

There are so many stories from Italy that can give a person pause: An Italian politician runs rampant with Lesbian foot-fetish prostitutes, or some woman takes off her top at a party in a Fellini movie, or a bunch of Satan worshiping orgiastic Templars go nuts in an Umberto Eco novel and have sex with a blindfolded girl while performing voodoo. Life here in Flower Mound is just so staid by comparison, and maybe I am naïve, but these just aren’t the kinds of things I’m used to where I come from.

What is it about Italy that makes murderous orgies so commonplace that they are immediately accepted with jaded nods by the Italians? Is it some atavistic remnant of Roman culture from the days of its debauched Empire? I’ve never seen Pasolini’s 120 Days of Sodom, which has been banned by our library here, but when I read the most recent story, I assumed that it was old hat to the Italians–that they must simply be shaking their heads with familiar chagrin at another story about a cannabis inspired cluster fuck gone bad spraying across the front pages of their tabloids like grapeshot.

Supposedly an angel-faced American student went native and is now accused of killing her roommate in a completely spontaneous orgy initiated among strangers well besotted on killer dope. Some people say the forensic evidence points to another person, but the tabloids know better and are having none of it. Evidently this happens a lot: a sweet, all-American girl on the outside, a good student and athlete with an ebullient demeanor who demonstrates no antisocial behavior suddenly goes berserk on drugs and hate sex and begins to kill in a fit of joie de vivre. Is this what happens during one’s sexual awakening in the romantic Italian hills—that the mask is removed and we are all stripped down to our most ulterior and base desires to fuck and kill? Is that what the study abroad program is all about?

We’re just all so innocent in America. No right thinking attorney general here would ever even guess that the motivation for a murder with no forensic evidence was Dionysian thrill-kill lust. But Italy is different. Italians are very alert and cognizant at all times for the possibility of rampant Bacchanalian escapades–they sound, in fact, like they’re always ready for it to happen–the balmy nights, the open cask of wine and the wild abandon that culminates in the all-too-predictable snuff moment. I mean, in Italy these stories pretty much tend to just write themselves, don’t they? “Someone died? Sounds like another one of these crazed orgies we’ve been having during our two thousand years of licentiousness hedonism.” Once the whiff of that Umbrian countryside gets in your lungs, the concupiscence and the sentimental education of co-ed orgy murder cannot be but one or two steps behind, and the Italians simply know that better than we do.

Think of it. One minute you’re smoking some pot with your expat friends and the next minute your flat-mate’s blood is all over the walls, as you wonder, staring through the bars of your Italian jail cell, how you so lost your moral compass. How many a teenager’s summer in Florence, I wonder, ends up this way?

I ask you, New York Times editor, because I was thinking of spending this summer in Florence myself. But now I am very frightened of the idea: If I work for a year at Grandy’s and save 50% of my earnings for a trip to Tuscany, what are the chances that I, too, am going to die in an orgy gone bad? Or worse, what if I, too, swoon at the beauty of the Tuscan hills and in a state of crazed sexual debauchery turn into a psychopathic killer in a sex game? What if there is some base instinct deep within my ovaries that neither my mother nor Our Bodies, Ourselves ever told me about?

This case has made me think that perhaps a young girl is capable of anything–even the unspeakable acts of the Marquis de Sade–if her first experiences of the Tuscan countryside, hash oil and cunnilingus are especially vivid. Not having experienced any of these allegedly beautiful sensations personally yet, I am now afraid of myself. I have become greatly frightened of what dangers lurk in my unknowable heart should I follow its impulses. Perhaps I’m playing with fire by planning to go overseas and perhaps I should instead do as my preacher says and marry this guy from Votech who has a crush on me. I mean, he’s no prize. But sometimes you just have to bet on the goofy refrigerator mechanic when the alternative is orgiastic frenzy and death. Save me from the murderous tendencies I might only belatedly discover and not understand until I’m in an Umbrian jail cell, my mouth covered with blood, doing cartwheels for the paparazzi as they refer to me as “Luciferina,” “Demoness Lover” and “Orgy Girl.”

I’m not sure where I was going with this, New York Times editor, except to say that none of us knows who we really are, and Italy is one dark peninsula where I have decided I will not go to find out. The Italians know what evil really lurks in the hearts of men. I can only ask God to please keep me safe from the heart of darkness that is Italy.

Photo: An Italian police artist’s rendering of the most recent American orgiastic crime scene.

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Well, maybe not the return. Maybe we’ll just bring him back from the dead briefly. Exhume him, if you will.

As many of you know, besides writing fiction and blogging and journalism-ing, I am the creator of some extremely rarefied lo-fi rock music catering to a highly selective, partisan audience. However, I haven’t put any new material up since 2007, mainly because I became distracted by “The Retributioners.” Also, our new apartment, filled as it is with older co-op owners, isn’t a conducive environment for making rock music at your kitchen table like my old apartment was. For that reason, and because I have never been very happy with my singing voice, I put my side project ER Salo Deguierre on hold.

However, while I’m still waiting for a good time to record a new batch of material, I recently dug up some old four-track recordings that I want to share on the site. I produced these when I was 26, a novice to four-track recording. It was also a period when I was writing extended suites of six to 10 minutes long, most of them instrumentals owing their sonic ideas to my heroes: Sonic Youth and The Velvet Underground. If you think I am a bad singer now, you can’t imagine how awful I was in 1996. So these particular recordings, while kind of rough, still benefit from that whole “Eric’s voice isn’t on it” quality.

There are three recordings I’m going to put up this week, and I’d love you to check them out. The first one is called “13 Moons.” If they are still too long and rough for your taste, then please go back and enjoy hits like “Cleopatra” and bring more of your partisan friends. I’d love to populate this world with at least 50 Salo Deguierre fans if I could.

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Are you a Netflix subscriber? Do you have a Roku box? If so, you can now watch “The Retributioners” on your very own TV! Our preferred Web video channel, Blip.TV, has signed deals to share their content with several sites and subscription services, including YouTube, TiVo, Vimeo and iTunes. But our personal favorite is the tiny, efficient, extra-affordable Roku box, which you can check out here. This device, of course, allows you to pluck many Netflix movies off the Internet and throw them into your TV–all for free if you have a subscription. What movies the company doesn’t have online you can likely still get through an Amazon link for just a few bucks extra.

I am not saying all this because I am some shill for Roku or just because I want you to watch “The Retributions” again (Anyone up for another round of “Drunk Dial Party”?). No, I’m also a huge fan of this little box because it has completely changed my TV viewing habits, allowed me to waste less time and money on bad television and, most important, allowed me to call my cable company and demand again that they lower my rate or else I’ll get rid of them. Because, as Pliny the Elder once asked, why do I have to take their shit?

One of my favorite Roku discoveries lately is that I can now watch any DVD from the first five years of Saturday Night Live for FREE with my Netflix account and my tiny, compact, sleek, inexpensive and elegant little Roku box. That’s EVERYTHING! Even the stuff they never show in reruns–like Milton Berle singing “September Song,” and Louise Lasser apparently walking off in the middle of her monologue because she was having a nervous breakdown. Everyone remembers that Belushi did the Samurai, but nobody remembers that he also did FDR and Truman Capote. Nobody remembers the sketch where Ralph Nader tested sex dolls. But I have seen it and I still don’t believe he did it.

So, without an endorsement money from Roku, I must recommend this box. It was a steal when I bought it at $100, and now it seems to have dropped in price again. This is the future! If we all get extra picky about what we watch, maybe the regular networks will remove the Kardashians. Come on! We’re adults. We don’t have to take this abuse!

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After a mysterious car accident led to press speculation about golf star Tiger Woods’ possible marital infidelities, there are now reports that he and his wife Elin Nordegren have renegotiated several aspects of their prenuptial agreement, which now reportedly includes $80 million extra for Nordegren if she stays with her husband for two more years and $5 million if she does not leave him immediately. What are some of the other new clauses in the prenup?

–*Nordegren is to be paid an extra million for every new bimbo who emerges in South Beach or the Hamptons claiming to have had sex with her husband.

–*That number is to rise to $1.5 million if the woman in question is a Playboy model

–*It will be $1.7 million if the photos of the Playboy model have been retouched

–*It will be $2 million if the woman Tiger slept with gets her own reality TV special

–*It will be $2.2 million if the reality TV show special involves Flavor Flav, Danny Bonaduce or Scott Baio or features vomiting.

–*Woods must pay the $3.99 per minute of phone sex out of his own pocket.

–*Nordegren does not have to make Tiger dinner, watch TV with Tiger or clap during the Masters if Tiger wins.

–*Nordegren gets $100,000 per sexual encounter with Tiger, plus a facial at Bliss Spa.

–*Nordegren does not have to address Tiger in English.

–*Nordegren does not have to continue to love him.

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