Monday, March 26, 2007

'member when Carlos Mencia used to be funny?

I can't remember exactly when it was I fell on the floor, but I remember it was Carlos Mencia's fault. He was a funny bastard, and I loved his first HBO stand-up special. I laughed so hard, I nearly browned out. I was thrilled to see that he was the host of "Loco Slam" on HBO, and I was bummed out that it fizzled. Carlos Mencia got a second HBO stand-up special, and I loved that one too.

Somewhere between then and now, Comedy Central changed from a showcase for a broad range of comedians to a clearing house for recycled sitcoms, crap movies, and the occasional bit of gasp some actual funny shit. Carlos Mencia's raw and vicious series "Mind of Mencia" was one of these bright moments, but I'm only counting the first season. At this point, I picked up his album "Take a Joke, America," which, after some thought, seemed like a recycling of his half hour Comedy Central special. I picked up one of his concert DVDs, "Not for the Easily Offended," and I felt he was riding high. Hell, I even wanted to see him live in concert.

Until I saw the episode in the second season of "Mind of Mencia" during which Robin Williams was a stunningly unfunny guest. Carlos Mencia plugged Robin Williams' movie "RV" so many times that I felt nauseous. After that, I would watch "Mind of Mencia," but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it. There had to be something more compelling on - like public access cable or The Weather Channel. It was obvious that Carlos Mencia was a sellout.

Then I saw this little nugget.

I really wanted Carlos to be a funny bastard. I sincerely did. But after seeing this and reading about it on Joe Rogan's website I really lost respect for the little hack. Joe, thank you for saving me the money I would have spent on more Carlos Mencia crap.

I wouldn't say that Carlos Mencia was one of my heroes, but he was someone I respected. He did this bit about white racists not making any real distinctions between racial stereotypes. His routines usually had something more than just cheap gags. Is Carlos Mencia a hack thief? More than likely, but thievery amongst comedians isn't new. What Carlos Mencia doesn't seem to understand is that when you start lifting from other comedians, the worst thing isn't the ire of your fellow comedians; it's losing fans who are gonna start following FUNNIER comedians like Robert Schimmel, George Lopez, Louis C.K., Jim Norton, and Judy Gold. It's a buyer's market, buddy, and Carlos Mencia lost another customer.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's Best You Don't Ask Too Many Questions

I've been trying to think about how to give my blog a better sense of definition aside from whatever I wanted to talk about, and the best I can think of right now is that every Friday or so I'll try and post something particularly quirky. One week it could be William Shatner's rationalization about why he may not think that he is bald when even Stevie Wonder could see that he's wearing a wig. Another week, it could be stunning examples of stupidity that you may have missed, and this week it's gonna be about one of my favorite movies,"Enter The Dragon."

Evil crimelord Han was a Shaolin disciple and aside from his martial arts tournament of "truly epic proportions" and a really heinous haircut, he is noteworthy of having lost a hand in an accident. It's possible that this was a really cool plot device and a tip of the hat to "Doctor No," but then it's also possible that it has its roots in Shaolin history and out of respect to Shin Huang, a former general who after killing many in battle, became a buddhist monk who cut off his left arm to show his devotion to the teachings of Da Mo (Bodhidarma).

Then again, I'm probably reaching a bit with this part of Shaolin history, but it is interesting nonetheless. In any event, Han had at least three spare hands, one of metal, a claw hand, and a hand made of blades.

So here's the thing. Those fingers on the metal hand were pretty close together. How did he pick his nose? Sometimes you need to go in with a left-hand finger, and sometimes you go mining with a right-hand finger. This had to be frustrating for the bastard.

And then what would happen when Han felt like, well, "rubbing one out?" It's gonna suck if Han's happy hand was his left. Did he have to have a left hand curled like it was gonna grip his bits & pieces? Could he have a lotion dispenser put into it? What if he was a freak? Could he have a hand made to reach those special places?

And let's say Han was a little forgetful. Can you imagine how embarassing it would have been for him if he went out and forgot he had his "backdoor buddy probe" hand on?

Still, on the plus side, Han would have been a really effective pimp. None of his bitches would step out ouf line for fear of a pimp slap from "Lefty" Han.

This is the kind of stuff I think about. Like I said, it's best y'all don't ask too many questions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Frank Albrecht is an Insensitive Bastard

Last December, two polar bear cubs were born to Tosca, a retired circus performer, currently at the Berlin Zoo.  Unfortunately the mother rejected them, and to make matters worse, one of them died shortly thereafter.  The surviving cub was named Knut, and here's am early picture of the little bugger from the Berlin Zoo's website:

The Berlin Zoo's website has lots of adorable pics of Knut and there's a video clip that's sure to melt any heart.

Wel except one or two.

On Monday, March 19th, animal rights activist Frank Albrecht commented to "mass circulation" newspaper (I guess that's a nice way of saying "tabloid rag") Bild, "Raising him by hand is not appropriate to the species but rather a blatant violation of animal welfare laws. In actual fact, the zoo needs to kill the bear cub."

Holy Fuck.

It's tragic that Tosca rejected Knut, and yes, this sort of thing does happen with polar bear mothers & cubs in zoos, but what was the Zoo supposed to do? Put him down? Release him to the wild? The Berlin Zoo has shown a great deal of care for Knut as evidenced by his keeper, Thomas Dorflein. In Knut's first days, Mr. Dorflein has slept at the zoo to give constant attention for Knut. Mr. Dorflein is a paragon of compassion.

Of course, it would have been best if Knut were rasied by his mother, but as that isn't possible anymore, the Berlin Zoo has made sure that Knut have the best possible upbringing. The key word there is "POSSIBLE." As Knut grows up, he will be a wonderful ambassador for threatened species. He has already drawn a great amount of attention to the Zoo. The Berlin Eisbaren (Polar Bears) hockey team has asked zoo officials if they could adopt him as their mascot. Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz has taken shots of Knut as part of a wildlife conservation campaign.

As far as Frank Albrecht is concerned, I hope he suffers a fate of pain, anonymity, and apathy. That and backing into a woodchipper. Feet first.

So You Think Your Boss Sucks?

We've all worked for some reall dumb sumbitches, and I've had the misfortune of working for some of the absolute worst bosses in existence (You simple bitches know who you are).  A friend of mine had sent me this internal memo a while ago.  At the time, they worked for a really musty reference publisher that would have to be dragged into the 21st Century by its withered appendages.  After reading the original memo, I would dearly like to see the simple bitch who wrote this memo suffer such a criminally pornographic death that only Salvador Dali could draw the crime scene chalk outline of his corpse.  

Now, this may look innocent, but if you highlight over this whole posting, you'll see my edits.  I don't give two squirts of piss about the well being of the asshole who wrote the original memo, but out of respect to my pal, I have omitted any names in order 
to make sure that nothing gets back to anyone.  This pains me, 
because as I've said, I'd love to see the asshole who wrote this suffer the kind of fate that befits a child rapist in prison.

Subject: Kitchen Table Press

From time to time, I'll be leaving on our kitchen table a book I've found particularly interesting on the chance that someone else might also enjoy it.

Of course, this does not necessarily mean I've read the book.  the state of having my head well up my ass past my grossly distended anus makes it rather difficult to read. 

The first title in this series (that--unlike everything else--comes without obligations or a schedule) is W.G. Sebald's The Emigrants (New Directions), a book that I've found works its magic on the reader slowly but steadily.

As does Syphilis.

If you have titles you want to contribute, please do so. If there's a lot of interest in this, perhaps we'll dedicate a shelf in the library to OMITTED staff picks.

Yes, let's dedicate time and effort on other books instead of what we're publishing.  After all, it is of utmost urgency that I add to the magnitude of my stunning levels of ignorance and insensitivity, while stroking my ego as a trendsetter. 

Here's to literacy,
And here's to having you kiss my perpetually erupting boil crusted ass. 

Publisher and Festering Wart on the Yam Bag of Literacy

Monday, March 19, 2007

MMA - It's What's for Breakfast

Good lord knows I love a good fight, and I remember the first time I saw a really scary one. It was the first time Riddick Bowe squared off against Andrew Golota in 1996 at Madison Square Garden. I was not physically there (THANK GOD), and it changed from a comedy of errors and hits below the belt into a full blown riot. I was laughing my ass off watching this on HBO. I sincerely wish I could get a tape or a DVD of this fight. The normally stoic ring commentators were crying and about as confused as headless chickens.

Coincidentally in the same year, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was born out of a desire of the Gracie family to show the world its dominance over martial arts with its Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In the first UFC fights, there were lots of blood, brutal hits, and on occasion a flying tooth. Eleven years later, Boxing is still seen as a viable and highly promotable sport, while there are still states in the US that won't legalize Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). I honestly believe that I will see a Van Damme movie that doesn't suck before I see an MMA fight in NYC. And I like Van Damme.

The UFC has been resurrected in recent years, and foreign promoters like Pride and K-1 are enjoying a growing market in the US. In the past couple of years, the International Fight Leauge (the IFL) has put MMA in the context of team sports - and it has enjoyed growing success. And yet the sad thing is that even though MMA has become increasingly regulated and rules have been enforced globally to protect the fighters long-term careers, it's still perceived as an underground bloodthirsty sport. Kind of like the highlights of a good Hockey game.

Watch a good fight, and instead of seeing a bare-knuckle throwdown, you'll see a couple of tacticians quickly size up their opponents, look for their "tells" or weaknesses, and exploit them. Shit, if Poker can be considered a sport, how long is it gonna take for the New York Times to do have a regular MMA section? I know it will take a while, but there's even another more cynical way to look at MMA. Marketing.

The mats of any fight are loaded with sponsorships from products ranging from beer, tires, major motion pictures, and even Microsoft and other computer/video game hardware/software companies are getting in on a very lucrative market. Watch the highlights of a UFC fight and pay attention to the audience. On top of that, take a look at the size of arenas in Japan that have been host to fights like Pride F/C or K-1 Hero's. Not since the heydays of Queen, Bruce Springsteen, or Kiss has an arena been so filled with energy.

Even if it's going to take a while for MMA to become as viable a sport as boxing in the US, I can wait it out. And let's look at boxing for a moment. Sure boxing is on pay-per-view cable, and sure it makes a lot of money, but can you name more than one current Heavyweight Champion?

Don't worry, I'll wait.

And no fair using the 'net.

The sad reality is that the precious few people give a wet slap off a donkey's ass about boxing anymore. It seems like the one thing that everybody remembers is Mike Tyson making an hors d'oeuvre of Evander Holyfield's ear. Don't get me wrong - I would like to see a good boxing fight, but with the sheer amount of different ways to punish your oppponent, MMA offers a lot more for the viewer than boxing.

As for me, I'm looking forward to watching Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell and Quentin "Rampage" Jackson square off again. And who would have thought that Randy "The Natural" Couture could have given such a resounding ass- whooping in his comeback?

The Fall of Rome

Aside from propelling Russell Crowe to megastar status, Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" continues to have a profound impact on pop culture. There have been lots of attempts to do something similar to varying degrees of success, but one standout has been HBO's short lived series, "Rome."

As of this writing, there is only one episode left. That's right, ONE. Never mind that whie the series started off with the rise of Gaius Julius Caesar, and that the Roman Empire extended well past his reign to Constantine (not the movie, you jackass), the series looks to end very prematurely with the rise of Octavian, who history shows will become Emperor Augustus. This is troubling on for a number of reasons.

"Rome" has presented a great number of compelling characters and fleshed-out storylines through no small part of its incredibly talented cast. To try and pick a favorite actor would be like picking out a favorite Single Malt Whisky. It's shows like "Rome" that blur the lines between Leading and Supporting Actors because every single role is played out well. For the record, I'm partial to Kevin McKidd's Lucius Vorenus and Ray Stevenson's Titus Pullo.

But, with ONE FRIGGIN' EPISODE LEFT, there are a great number of storylines to wrap up. It would be a huge testament towards the scriptwriters if they could pull this off within a 1-hour or a 2-hour season finale, but I fear it is hubris to think that everything is going to be finished with the respect that befits such grandeur crafted over a meager span of only 22 episodes.

I have my theories about this. A staggering operating budget split between HBO, Cinecitta, and the BBC is still a staggering operating budget. For this to have succeeded past even another season would have meant that this would have had to have the ratings of virtually every other stellar HBO series combined. As odd as it sounds, it does not look like HBO, Cinecitta, and the BBC could see that "Rome" is a critical and resounding hit deserving of far more than two seasons. I would have liked to have seen something past the impending conflict between Octavian (err.... I mean Augustus) and Mark Antony. I would have liked to have seen Pullo settle down, but perhaps the greatness of "Rome" is in the fact that it never even came close to jumping the shark. There hasn't been one weak moment. NOT ONE. The cynic in me believes that there is a very good chance that even if this was milked out for another season or so, it would have lost some of it's luster. To paraphrase Joe Turkel's character Eldon Tyrell in "Blade Runner," "The star that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Rome has burned so very, very brightly."

The fanboy in me cries out for more, remembering the short-lived brilliance of the HBO Series, "Carnivale." I can only hope that future series like HBO's upcoming "Preacher" (based on the critically acclaimed DC Vertigo series created by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon) get more support than "Rome."

Welcome to the Clubhouse

I know that I'm supposed to say something witty, and perhaps not just a little grandiose here, but I'm at a friggin' loss. Maybe it's because it's almost 6:30AM, or maybe it's because I haven't had my first double espresso yet. I suppose I should go into the name of my humble little blog for a wee bit.

I wanted this space to be open ground for meaningless ramblings. There's too much stuff going on, and if I wanted to keep track of all the things I want to get off my chest, I'd never get any sleep. On the odd chance that something I ramble on about has some degree of resonance with you, I want it to have the same degree of impact that a hollow point bullet has.

Of course, this isn't gonna make too much sense, but like I said - it's somewhere around 6:30AM, and I have to get started on the day.