Wow. Can you believe it? It’s December already which means 2012 is almost over!
Wait…what was that?
I’m sorry- that can’t be right.
There’s no way in hell 2013 can be over- it hasn’t even started yet.
WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO 2013???????????
OK. Calm down. Relax. Breathe. Remember what they taught you at Leadership Camp about overreacting. We don’t want a repeat of the American Girl Store incident although the fact that they didn’t have the Frosty Fair Isle Set & Puffy Jacket is GODDAMN FUCKING UNACCEPTABLE- what is this Russia?? It’s American Girl, not Siberian Girl- GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER PEOPLE MY NIECE DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS GARBAGE. But…still…learned my lesson- one night in Grove Jail is more than enough for me. That Rick Caruso is one sadistic mother fucker. There’s a dark place inside him that no trolley can reach. Still- great use for the old Barnes & Noble.
OK- so, yeah, 2013 is over. Might as well face it. And in an effort to figure out what the hell just happened, I’ve put together this gratuitous Best/Worst List:
Most Excruciatingly Boring Live Performance: Einstein on the Beach
The scene on stage transitions very slowly into a sterile courtroom. A woman dressed all in white lies in a bed stage center, like in most courtrooms . Without moving she speaks the following lines:
“I was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket and there were all these aisles and there were these bathing caps you could buy that had these kind of Fourth of July plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue and I wasn’t tempted to buy one but I was reminded of the fact that I had been
avoiding the beach.”
The first time she says it- you’re intrigued.
The fifth time she says it- you’re amused.
The eighth time she says it- you’re slightly less amused.
The twelfth time she says it- you’re not amused at all .
The fifteenth time she says it- you’re writhing in your seat in restless agony.
The twentieth time she says it- you confess to the heretofore unsolved murder of a transsexual hooker in Laredo with the hopes that it will please make her stop.
The twenty-third time she says it- you pray to whatever God you believe in to please take your life so that you can be spared further torment.
The twenty-ninth time she says it- you cease believing in God altogether because it is impossible to conceive of a universe created by a wise and compassionate God that would allow for a collaboration between Robert Wilson and Philip Glass.
The thirty-fourth time she says it- you’re asleep.
When you awaken- the courtroom scene is gone. Instead there is a bare stage and four dancers in white are leaping about in precise geometric patterns. You don’t know why, they don’t know why, no one knows why. The only thing to do is to fall asleep again and hope that when you wake up you might , oh I don’t know, ACTUALLY see Albert Einstein on the beach- maybe with Keanu Reeves and Gidget. But no, it’s another courtroom scene. A midget or possibly a young child or possibly a child midget is saying something about Trees and Mr Bojangles while they….move….very….slowwwwwwwly. You sleep again. Before this point, you never noticed just how wonderfully linear your dreams were in comparison. Late for school, on the subway, naked. Boom. Simple.
If this sounds like a rollicking night on the town to you then by all means, go see Einstein on the Beach the next time someone raises several million dollars and decides to use all that money to produce this incoherent jumble of pretentious nonsense- kind of as a big Fuck You to cancer patients and disaster victims and good theatre. If, however, you’re one of those CRAZY people out there who likes your entertainment to be oh, I don’t know, ENTERTAINING- or, you know, maybe it turns out that you’re not some Converse and corduroy Silverlake hipster douchebag who feels obligated to say he likes incomprehensible artsy crap just because he’s been told that he’s supposed to, even though he secretly yearns to watch Two Broke Girls in his underpants and unironically drink Coors Light- well, in that case, you should probably skip it.
Mind you, it’s not merely boring. You can’t say that Einstein on the Beach is “boring” unless you would also say that the Pacific Ocean is “damp”, the Duck Dynasty guy is “just a little old fashioned” and the NRA “has just the teensiest bit of blood on its hands.” Einstein on the Beach is a 5 hour long experience made up of repetitious movements and beautiful though incomprehensible vocals performed in a totally arbitrary yet highly precise sequence. While there is no formal intermission, you are free to come and go as you please. Hell, that’s not Opera- it’s Yom Kippur for the artsy-fartsy, right down to the dress code and overpriced tickets. The performers were even wearing sneakers- how Yom Kippur is that? This is boredom elevated to the level of holiness. A transcendent tedium so profound that one would normally only tolerate to appease an angry god or disappointed mother. Attending a grueling performance like this is an act of faith- faith not only in the creators but in art itself- and this faith imbues the work with meaning, beauty and purpose. After all, if we’re all gonna sit there like shmucks watching this fucking thing for five hours, we’d better damn well be able to imbue it with meaning, beauty and purpose- otherwise we just wasted a perfectly good Sunday.
Interestingly- the Sunday after I watched Einstein on the Beach– I sat through another highly choreographed, ritualistic four hour spectacle with a totally arbitrary structure that was followed rigorously and this one was even worse because at the end of it the Jets lost. Oh well, at least I got to watch this spectacle in sweatpants and the drinks were WAY cheaper than at LA Opera- so I guess Geno on his Ass trumps Einstein on the Beach. Plus, I’d much rather sleep on my couch than at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. My fellow opera goers didn’t really appreciate my musical contributions to the piece, though I think my repetitious and atonal snoring really complimented Phillip Glass’ keyboards. They just don’t understand my genius. If only someone would tell them they are supposed to think I’m a genius, I’d be able to charge a fortune for them to listen to me sleep. Til then, Eric Farting on the Couch will just be a pipe dream.
Best movie of the year- Nebraska
Great flick. Really amazing. You should totally see it. Could have used more flying sharks and perhaps Vin Diesel but otherwise, you know, really really good. Uhm, OK. Are we cool? If not, just read this. Josh is way better at this stuff than me. I even stole this picture from his post. (SHAMELESS BEEN & GOING PROMOTION #1).
Most Disgusting Miscarriage of Justice
As you probably know, wealthy white teenager Ethan Couch was sentenced by a Texas judge to 10 years probation and no jail time for killing four people while he was driving drunk. Psychologist Gary Miller claimed that the boy suffered from “Affluenza” and was unable to distinguish between right from wrong due to the privileged life he led. Now, a lot of people have come out since then and sharply criticized this defense- claiming that Affluenza does not exist. But I have to disagree- Affluenza is a very real and very serious condition- and the only known cure for it is 20 years to life of shower rape and weightlifting. I’m telling you – it’s a miracle treatment. Ass rape is the Abilify of Affluenza and the real tragedy here is that Ethan Crouch will never benefit from this treatment and cure the terrible mental illness resulting from his wealth and as a result he will grow up to be an emotionally stunted, borderline sociopathic Republican congressman.
I mean, come on, of course lots of money makes you an amoral asshole with no notion of consequences. That’s the whole point of the stuff. So while Affluenza, or “Mitt Romney’s Disease” as it’s commonly known, clearly exists- Dr. Miller did admit that he misused the term in this particular situation. Clearly, what he meant to say was not “Affluenza” but “Honkeyism”- cause, let’s keep it real, that kid could have been Jaden Smith or Theo Huxtable and they still would have thrown him in jails and Lethal Injected his ass in Texas. Money can buy you preferential treatment, baby, buy money can’t buy you white.
Song of the Year
No new music was released in 2013. Sorry. I guess that’s 22 years in a row. Head Like a Hole wins again!
Oh- no wait- hey, there was that “Thrift Store” song this year- that was pretty cool. It’s great to see rap so fully coopted by white hipsters that they can now feel comfortable singing ironically about how poverty is cool. Although, you don’t have to watch CNBC to know that when rappers are singing about shopping at Goodwill the economy’s NOT GETTING BETTER.
Suckiest Celebrity Death
Mick Jagger’s gonna die someday. So is Keith Richards, Roger Waters, Johnny Rotten and Adam Levine (Adam Levine’s death isn’t strictly relevant to the point I’m making here- I just wanted to cheer myself up. Tee Hee. Dead Adam Levine. Tee Hee.) And when they do die- the first question we ask won’t be “how’d it happen?” but rather “he was still alive??” And sure, that might be depressing for these dinosaurs of rock- but, on the bright side, after they die there will be a brief media surge of remembrance- and all the stock footage of these rock gods at their prime will allow them to emerge reborn in our memories as the singular artists they once were and not the indistinguishable old men they became.
This year, Lou Reed became one of the first rock giants of the 60’s to die old, which is fitting since he always was ahead of his time. I won’t pretend to have an encyclopedic knowledge of his music and I won’t discourse at length about the profound impact of the Velvet Underground on the landscape of rock n’ roll music (you don’t have to sound so relieved about it). I’ll just say that after I found out he was dead, I had the urge to listen to New York over and over again and rediscovered just how brilliant it was. That blend of wry irony, brutal poetry and unexpected grace wafting up like steam from a subway grate blowing through the filth- as fresh and alive as the day it was recorded:
“I’ll take Manhattan in a garbage bag
with Latin written on it that says
“it’s hard to give a shit these days”
Manhattan’s sinking like a rock
into the filthy Hudson what a shock
they wrote a book about it
they said it was like ancient Rome
The perfume burned his eyes
holding tightly to her thighs
And something flickered for a minute
and then it vanished and was gone
So long Lou. Thanks for everything.
And, oh yeah, Nelson Mandela’s died, too. That sucked. He was alright.
Best TV Show
While Dallas, Texas is a pretty loathsome place it has given birth to some great TV shows like Dallas and…uhm…the new Dallas and- oh yeah- the Keystone Kowboys starring Tony Romo. And this year, a new show joined the pantheon- Fast n’ Loud (actually started a couple of years ago on Discovery, but I just Discovered it this year- which is pretty good for me- hell I didn’t discover Quincy until 2012.)
Fast n’ Loud follows wheeler dealer Richard Rawlings and Master Mechanic Aaron Kaufman as they buy, restore & sell cars at Gas Monkey Garage along with a crew of misfits and their super-cool facial hair. I’m pleased to say that show has significantly expanded my utterly useless automotive knowledge to include classic American hot rods and muscle cars in addition to all the totally obscure and exotic European super cars I learned about on Top Gear. So if you want to know the top speed of a Pagani Zonda Tricolore (220 mph) or the auction value of a 32 Ford three window coupe (not nearly as much as Richard had hoped)- I’m your man! If you want to change a flat tire on your Honda Accord, though, good fucking luck- call Triple A. It’s cool- I’ll just get a ride with somebody else.
It’s a particularly refreshing reality show (if I may be permitted to use that phrase) because they feel no obligation to pretend as though the cameras aren’t there and that they’re just living their lives in a perfectly natural way. My only wish for the New Year is that Richard Rawlings can hold up for just a couple more seasons before revealing his racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views so I can go on enjoying the show as long as possible. Oh, that and, uhm, world peace I guess. That would be cool.
Best Vacation Destination with the Worst Science Museum
There’s nothing much to say about Palm Springs- which is probably the reason I like it so much. I mean- yes, it’s hot. Hot as balls only not as sticky. It’s not the elephant in a wet bathing suit sitting on your face heat of Florida or New York in the summer- just hot and bright and dry and relentless- like you’re a pineapple upside-down cake in God’s Easy-Bake Oven only he replaced the 60 Watt bulb with a crème brule torch. And then there are the “palms” in Palm Springs- all along the roads- impossibly long and exquisitely trimmed like drag queens’ legs in an endless kick line, with just a tiny bit of fluff on top- like they were trimmed by a beefy Ukrainian matron with hot wax and not an underpaid immigrant with a machete.
The heat is what makes Palm Springs such an ideal vacation destination. It melts away any ambition I might have or guilt about not Getting Things Done and leaves me free to simply drink Bloody Marys, swim in the pool, and quite literally chill out in the air conditioning – in that precise order (it’s OK, Mom. I’m being safe. I never eat the celery half an hour before I swim. Or at all. Stuff’ll kill ya.) But, this last time we visited to celebrate my birthday- I decided to explore one of the great attractions of the region- The World’s Biggest Dinosaurs in Cabazon which, like the song “Tequila”, public masturbation, and the expression “I know you are- but what am I?” were first made famous by Pee-Wee Herman. Aside from the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the International House of Pancakes, there are very few places as dedicated to spreading misinformation as the World’s Biggest Dinosaurs. Seriously- International House of Pancakes my ass- tell me what the fuck exactly is international about that place??? Absolutely nothing. It’s Rooty Tooty False and Fruity. And don’t give me any of that “International Crepe Passport” crap. Smearing a bunch of bullshit crepes with some lameass Ikea canned lingonberry crap does NOT a “House of Pancakes” International make- no, sir, it does not. I say good day.
See- most dinosaur exhibits are presented from the conventional, or “scientific” perspective – that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, long before human beings and other large mammals. This is substantiated by geological evidence, chemical testing, and decades of exhaustive research into the fauna and flora of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. The World’s Biggest Dinosaurs in Cabazon, though, takes the “Biblical”, or “dumbshit” view of the situation, that dinosaurs lived only a few thousands of years ago because it says so in their favorite book. Don’t get me wrong- the Bible is a beautiful and poetic book filled with rich ideas and valuable lessons but so is Yertel the Turtle and I wouldn’t use that as a science text book either. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and Darwin that which is Darwin’s.
Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot they have more proof. Some dude in Peru in the 60’s supposedly found a bunch of supposedly old rocks call the Ica Stones which feature images of dinosaurs interacting with humans and in some cases sodomizing them.
Crazy right?? Now, take that in combination with the mysterious drawings of Hanna-Barbera which show cavemen actually keeping dinosaurs as pets and eating giant Brontosaurus bones at drive thru restaurants not to mention operating a record player with a prehistoric bird as a needle. INCONTROVERTIBLE EVIDENCE. AM I BLOWING YOUR MIND???
So, despite the fact that it’s the Fox News of science museums I was drawn to visit the World’s Biggest Dinosaurs. I guess it just appealed to my passions for paleontology, kitschy roadside attractions and mocking the beliefs of morons. Here’s a brief (and I do mean brief- I’m a crappy photographer. I should be reading Images from the Id! (SHAMELESS BEEN & GOING PROMOTION #2)) photo essay of my trip:
The view from the parking lot. Now, it’s often the case that when you approach a big cross like this you know you’re in for trouble (just as Jesus) but, in this case, the cross has historic significance as it’s the exact same one that creationists on the Texas School Board just tried to use to crucify science education. Fortunately, they failed since Richard Rawlings proved that Gas Monkeys are people too.
Ah, yes. The knight in full jousting armor alongside a dinosaur being ridden by a monkey. Of course. It’s an iconic image familiar to any homeschooled student of medieval history. For surely no jousting tournament was complete without a Ye Olde Monkey-Jockey Dinosaur race for a Fair Maiden’s love. It is said, in fact, that when Charlemagne’s prize tyrannosaurus Monsieur Bitey broke his leg in a race and had to be destroyed that Charlemagne was so distraught not even the antics of his favorite monkey jockey Chi-Chi could raise his spirits, and so in despair he tweeted “Im out the game #nomoremonkeybusiness #aurevoirbitey #guessilltakeovereuropeinstead”, quit jousting, became the Father of Europe and successfully marketed the very first brand of toilet paper ( “Don’t squeeze the Charlemagne!” Classic.) This is the word of the Lord.
Uhm- yeah. Sparky the T-Rex in a collar and leash. Listen, even if you do happen to believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed, do you really think that a T-Rex would have put up with that crap?? Here’s a much more believable photo of human dinosaur interaction.
That’s more like it. The view from the inside of old Sparky’s mouth. If the Creationists are right than this would have been the most common Neanderthal selfie. (Does anyone else think Selfie is a euphemism for masturbation? As in “I’m so glad that we’ve all forgiven Pee Wee Herman for his selfie in the porno theater.” You know-the hardest part about telling that story to future generations is explaining what a “porno theater” was. They’re gonna think it’s where we went to see dinosaurs. And they won’t be far wrong.)
SHOCKING DISCOVERY! This picture taken INSIDE a T-Rex proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dinosaurs and Glade Reuzit Raspberry Air Freshener REALLY DID CO-EXIST. PRAISE THE LORD!!!!
So there you have it. I know I seem cynical, but it was pretty inspiring to watch all the kids visiting this attraction as their eyes lit up with wonder and amazement at the exhibits. Why bother fixing our public schools, when we’ve got faith based educational opportunities like this to fill the gap? Sure we may rank 52nd in Science Education globally- but we’re #1 in God’s heart and that’s all that counts …assuming of course that we don’t want to stay competitive in a world of constantly advancing technology and significant challenges to the very existence of our civilization that will require highly sophisticated engineering solutions and extremely creative scientific thinking. And who needs that when we’ve got India? We just need to get in a BIG circle and pray for an end to the hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes and tsunamis. After all- Global Warming is no more real than Evolution.
So, hey – look at that- I guess all sorts of stuff happened it 2013. And I didn’t get to all of my categories- like Worst Home Renovation Idea (Bathroom. WHY DEAR GOD, WHY?), Most Awesome Sports Injury (is it Kobe Bryant hurting his knee merely days after returning from last year’s season ending ACL injury or Mark Sanchez hurting his shoulder and putting Jets fans out of their misery in the process? I’m torn like Sanchez’s labrum) and Most Disturbing Fleshy Growth in My Dog’s Eye (it’s every bit as glamorous as it sounds.) Oh well, I’ll have to save these for my next post. That is, if I get to it before the end of 2014- at the rate time is passing me by these days, I wouldn’t count on it. Meanwhile- I hope you all have a great holiday and by holiday I mean Christmas, who am I kidding? Hanukkah ended like six months ago and…are any of you Muslims? Seriously? Cause I think there’s Eid or something but I’m pretty sure that’s done, too. So, yeah, have a great fucking Christmas and a Happy New Year and I’ll catch up with you on the other side of 2014. That is, of course, if I don’t get eaten by a dinosaur first. THERE’S ONE RIGHT NOW!!!