Revolution rock

You know Venezuela is sensing a PR problem when they launch a snappy, Flash-animated propaganda site. There’s a really fun juxtaposition of pretty graphics and ponderous socialist boilerplate. Like,

The negative effects of the “Washington Consensus” are implicitly recognized in the Dialogue’s report; yet it is as if the authors simply could not help themselves but recommend a continuation of that failed and flawed model.

Oh SNAP!

The Wilmington scene

Pitchforkmedia critic (and Medill alum) Marc Hogan got his mitts on a hot new release by a band from Delaware.

You’ll probably never read about a Wilmington, Del., “scene.” No Philly-style “Next Borough” New York Times puff pieces, either. Why, I’ll bet you didn’t even realize that the home of many major credit-card issuers is the birthplace of Tom Verlaine and to-the-bone bad-ass George Thorogood. On aptly named Bar/None debut Nice and Nicely Done, local sextet the Spinto Band takes advantage of its hometown’s invisible indie profile to sprawl all across the map of twitchy, 64-crayon guitar-pop.

Here’s a review: Fuck Marc Hogan. Delaware kicks ass, as envinced by the Saturday, 9:00 pm premiere of C.J. Stunkard’s “Boys of Summer: Let’s Hear It For The Boys.”

UPDATE: Some confusion has arisen about by my use of the terms “Fuck” and “Marc Hogan.” I was joking. Marc’s a good guy and his is a good review. But I cannot resist a chance to plug Delaware or the “Boys of Summer” films.

WOLVERINES!

It’s a regular, irritating irony that the people most threatened by terrorist attacks – New Yorkers, Washingtonians – are the most critical of the Bush administration, while the people least threatened think Bush is Clark Kent. This may be the silliest exhibit of that phenomenon. It’s a letter from a Utah mom to the Salt Lake Tribune, protesting the city’s mayor, Democrat Rocky Anderson, for opposing Bush.

The fact that Mayor Anderson used a VFW event is outrageous enough. But our military is fighting a war on terrorism. They are fighting to keep the war somewhere other than the streets of Salt Lake City and the rest of America.

I literally can not think of a city more safe from terrorism than Salt Lake City, a Mormon burg 700 miles from the Pacific Ocean, 900 miles from Mexico, and 2200 miles from the Atlantic. Maybe Legoland. Maybe.

Song titles on my iPod that sound like porn

I had planned on running down my iPod artist-by-artist and finding every song title that sounded like a porno, but I only got through “B” and got all these.

“First Time” – The A-Boys
“Bonita Applebum” – A Tribe Called Quest
“The Day Before You Came” – ABBA
“On And On And On” – ABBA
“Make It” – Aerosmith
“Zulu Nation Throwdown” – Afrika Bambaataa
“Muscle Of Love” – Alice Cooper
“Big In Japan” – Alphaville
“Twin Peaks” – Angelo Badalamenti
“In the Back Seat” – The Arcade Fire
“Shine It On Me” – Art Garfunkel
“Follow Your Bliss” – The B-52’s
“Banned In D.C.” – Bad Brains
“Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?” – The Barbarians
“Do It Again” – The Beach Boys
“Hold It Now, Hit It” – Beastie Boys
“Rock Hard” – Beastie Boys
“She’s On It” – Beastie Boys
“A Hard Day’s Night” – The Beatles
“Sexx Laws” – Beck
“Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)” – The Bee Gees
“Don’t Leave the Light on Baby” – Belle & Sebastian
“Dirty Dream Number Two” – Belle & Sebastian
“Chickfactor” – Belle & Sebastian
“You Get What You Deserve” – Big Star
“Stroke It Noel” – Big Star
“Loose Nut” – Black Flag
“Badhead” – Blur
“Jamming” – Bob Marley
“Deep Karma Canyon” – Bob Mould
“Why Can’t I Touch It?” – Buzzcocks
“You Ain’t Going Nowhere” – The Byrds

Honorin’ thy father

Pat Robertson said something deranged and murderous, which is nothing new, but it prompted me to do a little research on him. And I was surprised. Did you know his father was a US Senator?

Absalom Willis Robertson (May 27, 1887 – November 1, 1971) was a Democratic politician from the state of Virginia.

Robertson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1932. He served from 1933 until he resigned in 1946 to enter the United States Senate. Robertson had a typically socially conservative Southern Democrat voting record and he was the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs from 1959 until 1966. Robertson served in the Senate from 1946 until 1967. In 1956, Robertson was one of the 19 senators who signed The Southern Manifesto, condemning the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education and the resulting public desegregation. He was defeated for renomination in 1966 and resigned on December 30, 1966.

I don’t know how I went along in life not knowing this.

As for Robertson’s quote … if we go by his recent record of predictions and pronouncements, Chavez will not be killed. But he might eat a bad turkey sandwich and spent 3-4 hours leaning over a toilet.

UPDATE: Quoth Tim Graham.

What’s this doing leading the “Today” show this morning? Since when have they considered either Pat Robertson or Hugo Chavez a global colossus?

We (America) have to suffer through the media’s reportage of shocking statements of dislike for President Bush by such global colossi as Harry Belafonte, Susan Sarandon, Natalie Maines, and Chevy Chase. This is practically hard news by comparison.

Corollary: I wonder if this incident will make it into Bernie Goldberg’s next book, “If You Liberals Kick That Ball Into My Yard Again, I’m Keeping It”.

Movie review

“The 40-Year Old Virgin” (Judd Apatow, 2005)

Karma is real. After a promising start at the classic “The Larry Sanders Show,” producer/writer Judd Apatow bounded from failed-but-classic TV show to failed-but-classic TV show, winning acolades from Entertainment Weekly reporters and getting the big thumbs-down from networks and viewers. It looked like he would never have another hit – and then comes “The 40-Year Old Virgin,” now the #1 movie in America. Good for Apatow. He should use his new fame to make better movies.

Not to say this isn’t a good movie. As 3 million or so Americans know by now, Andy Stitzer (Steve Carrell) is a 40-year old social retard who manages the stockroom at an electronics store and whittles away nights repainting his enormous action figure collection. On a whim, his co-workers decide to bring him in on a poker game, which devolves into a bull session on sex during which they discover Andy is a virgin. The three youngish co-workers – a sex fiend (Romany Malco), a slacker (Seth Rogen), and a heartsick stud who can’t get over his last girlfriend (Paul Rudd) – take it upon themselves to teach Andy how to flirt and score with girls. While going through their gauntlet, Andy meets a cute woman his own age, Trish (Catherine Keener), who spontaneously gives him her number. The rest of the movie concerns Andy’s struggle to find love with Trish while learning his friend’s lessons the hard way.

The good things: It’s very, very funny. At a conservative estimate, 90% of the jokes hit their marks. Some of the best jokes sound like ad-libs from the talented comic cast – the store’s manager is Jane Lynch from the Christopher Guest movies, Rudd and Rogen are experienced comic actors, and Malco, who I’ve never seen before, has a hilarious motormouth charm. Also, as professional malcontent/Matt Taibbi-basher Jeremy Lott observed, the movie is very conservative. It’s clear from the outset that Stitzer won’t, and shouldn’t, find happiness from finally having sex. He turns it down from a “drunk ho,” a prostitute, and a Kathleen-Turner-in-“Body Heat” psychopath. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s very important that Stitzer finds happiness in family and true love. Also (while not spoiling the ending), the last act is pitch-perfect – the misunderstandings between characters that can take up half-hours of other movies are packed into one short, funny section before resolution.

The bad things: Looooooooooooooong. It’s like a Special Edition DVD with all 20 minutes of deleted scenes jammed back in. Natch, most of the less vital, plot-moving scenes are funny. The drag isn’t as bad as in “Wedding Crashers,” which back-loaded all its lame scenes (Did we need 15 minutes of a despondent Owen Wilson? How about 5?). It comes in the second act, the stretch when Stitzer is getting schooled on the arts of dating and finding the girl he likes. Like I said above, the ending is pretty solid.