Monday, August 27, 2007

What I’ve come to understand about Einstein

He thought reality existed, not probabilities of how things might behave but actual, strict reality. The observer changed nothing. He also thought that everything was already determined, which is a fancy way of saying that we don’t really have free will. Things happen as the universe wills.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Walter Benjamin was Wrong!

Three-quarters of a century ago, Walter Benjamin meditated on the changes that took place when art as a ritual function was supplanted by “the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction." It never occurred to Benjamin that movies could become ritual.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Is Mary J Blige a Scientologist?

Watching a closed-captioned version of the Tyra Banks show at the gym today, I made a startling discovery. I discovered that I think Mary J. Blige is a Scientologist.

My evidence?

1.She was on the show with Jada Pinkett Smith, who is either a Scientologist or just happens to be a good friend of Tom Cruise.

2. They were talking some crazy nonsense about how you have to leave some people behind. They weren't meant to go on the "next journey" with you, which the women in the audience applauded like someone was saying Genocide is bad.

My extensive research
hasn't yet yielded any firm confirmation or denial.

As Xenu as my witness, I will get to the bottom of this!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Question for Mitt Romney

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Dirty (and Fat) Underbelly of Suburban American Life in the 80s

My parents were sick of polite people who didn’t tell the truth about anything.They were sick of how people were fat and disgusting and crude but still said “please” and “thank you” and “pardon me” all while doing nothing honest except contaminating everything around them with their cheesy thighs and their sickening halitosis and their ugly Oldsmobiles.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who Lies More About Sex? Men Rounding Up? Or Women Rounding Down?

It’s pretty common knowledge that the three things that women tend to, er, round downwards are their age, their weight and their number of sexual partners. Here, then, is a radical act: Janet W. Hardy is 52. She weighs around 200 lbs., and has had sex with somewhere between a couple of dozen and a couple of hundred people depending on your definition of sex.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Destination: Manhood

VH1’s The Pick-up Artist introduces you to eight grown men who redefine the term The Biggest Loser. Half of them are virgins and the other half probably thinks that sex with a fully inflated blow-up doll counts.

Now what happens when you take these sad sacks and introduce them to the one of the greatest pick-up artists on earth? The same thing that always happens to guys like that: They embarrass themselves.

But, hopefully, that’s all going to change. And according to the montage of what happens to our lucky eight on this first season of The Pick-up Artist, it looks pretty promising.

The Pick-up Artist attempts to capitalize on a newer phenomenon in pop culture: The semi-underground world of pick-up artists, or PUAs. These guys aren’t Fonzies or even Robert Downey Jr., who picked up Molly Ringwald in the 1980s movie. They’re generally nerdy geeks who decided they’ve had enough of not getting enough. So, they’ve united on the Internet to share tips and adventures through a slightly coded language that is barely less embarrassing than using the real terms.

For instance, they call hot babes HBs. Pretty cool, right? Looking for women is called “sarging,” after pick-up guru and nerd-poster-child Ross Jefferies’ cat Sarge.

Very hip stuff.

But the most interesting thing is that this stuff seems to work. With a few magic tricks, a fake tan and a couple hundred sincere attempts, almost any guy can get laid or F-close, as they say. That’s what former New York Times reporter Neil Strauss found out when he infiltrated the PUA world. Strauss detailed his exploits in the new men’s classic The Game.

Strauss’ closest ally and mentor in the book was a PUA who went by the name Mystery. (All PUAs have to have an infantile nickname, which along with the constant use of the word “wingman,” forces anyone to think of the movie Top Gun.)

Mystery is also the star of VH1’s The Pick-up Artist.

The show’s voiceover explains that Mystery is the world’s most successful pickup artist. The VO also points out that Mystery wasn’t born Mystery. He was born Erik Von Markovik and he was rejected by hundreds of beautiful women (I want proof they were beautiful) until he decided he wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Mystery discovered what turned women on and went on a tear, which, according to Strauss, included long-term relationships with multiple attractive women that led to Mystery occasionally plunging into a manic-depressive state.

But Mystery looks like he’s at a hundred percent for his new show. He’s dressed like a mix between a model in the International Male catalog (look it up) and a New Romantic-era Adam Ant. Somehow that somehow combines into a late 80s Vince Neal. But looking out of place is part of the game for PUAs. It’s called “peacocking” and the ladies love it. Plus, it helps compensate for the obvious weaknesses that each man has. For instance, Mystery’s voice is extremely high and somewhat effeminate.

In the first episode, Mystery and his two wingmen J-dub and Matador meet the eight men who they must mold into master poonhounds. They are an eclectic, multicultural group who would make an excellent core for a remake of Revenge of the Nerds, which what this show basically is. They are a prime flock of what the PUA community calls AFCs, average frustrated chumps.

We have the Asian reject guy (who bears an uncomfortable resemblance to MadTV’s Bobby Lee causing me to question if the whole thing is just a huge sketch). There is the “seems gay” reject. The forty-five year-old virgin reject. The vaguely Middle Eastern reject. The fat reject. You get it.

None of them have any game, style or much self-awareness at all. And this first episode basically reinforces those facts again and again. Each guy is forced into a nightclub where we see—through intricate hidden cameras and painful subtitling—them fail with women or even fail to attempt to engage women. After each nerd has struck out, Mystery and his male companions hit the club and peacock their way into the ladies hearts while the nerds watch the cameras. We didn’t see any actual F-closing, but you got the sense that Mystery could’ve at least banged the Asian woman the plain-white reject tried to make a move on.

When Mystery returns to his pupils he explains that he’s going to teach them what he knows. He stresses that being a PUA is not just about meeting women— it’s about making a life. To the nerds’ relief, Mystery announces that no one will be eliminated yet (one person will be eliminated each successive show, Apprentice-style).

At that point, I think Mystery could’ve F-closed with any of those AFCs. But he’s not there to hump them; he’s there to remake them.

“Who you are now dies today,” he explains. And they all smiled like they were attending the happiest funeral on earth—the funeral for their own painful virginity and a Sisyphus-like commitment to masturbation.

It was a slight let down that no one was sent home the first night. But it would have been cruel to eliminate anyone without endowing them with PUA wisdom like that two women standing together is called a “two-set.”

With the secret information and the proper peacocking, one of these guys will impress Mystery, win $50,000 and travel the world teaching other men how to seduce women. That’s what being a PUA is all about.

Now, on another note, you’d have to be a fool or someone with a social life to not realize that VH1 is producing a wealth of amazing reality TV right now. Their Celebreality angle has even succeeded in interesting me in the life of the most boring person in the northern hemisphere: Scott Baio, TV’s Chachi (which is also the Korean word for penis).

I actually had to explain to another adult that Hogan Knows Best was my third favorite VH1 reality show the other day. And that’s just the kind of thing my mother feared when she found out it was bad that she did tons of nitrous while she was pregnant with me.

So, basically Celebreality is great.

However, where VH1 really succeeds in taking the art of the reality show to new level is in their exploration of subcultures. I didn’t think there was anything new to find out about crack hoes. VH1’s Charm School proved that I was just wrong.

I think The Pick-up Artist will also succeed by airing out the subculture of PUAs. And that may be a good thing.

For years women’s magazines have dished about “How to Get the Man You Want, Keep Him and Satisfy Him in Bed in 43 Ways,” but where were men supposed to turn for advice on attracting women? PUAs often say they are teaching men things that their fathers couldn’t. It’s a nice mission that, at it’s best, is more about empowering guys than exploiting women.

And if this show is successful, hopefully Mystery will stay in high spirits long enough to teach his Mystery Method to some women.

Is San Franco! for Reals?

The first Carbon-Neutral Gated-Community has been making waves with their “Stop Making It Worse and Start Making A Difference" sloganeering. But is World Federalism really the secret agenda behind San Franco!? Would you give up your national identity to spend your time studying Rolfing, Calligraphy, Mulching and Tai Chi for Beginners/Handicapped?

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

What We Can Learn About Ecstasy From a Woman Who Teaches Tantra & Spanking

Human beings need ecstasy (Webster’s defines it as “a state of being beyond reason and self-control,” and I’d have a hard time improving on that). Our brains aren’t meant to be rational and intellectual all the time, and ecstasy-deficient brains get stupid and sad. Most people only know one way to experience ecstasy – sex – and that sucks.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

New Term: John Mayered on Best Week Ever

If you watch this clip, I think you'll understand my point without reading a word.

But to explain: You know the term "Jumped the Shark," which has come to signify the point when a popular piece of entertainment stops being good.

Well, we need a new term to describe when a piece of Internet culture has reached the point of maximum saturation and is no longer funny or weird. You can define that point when you see anything from Internet on national TV, when your mom or anyone on AOL links you to something that was cool to you a few minutes/days/weeks ago or when John Mayer references it on VH1's Best Week Ever.

The combination of John Mayer, whose music defines the genre of Deucherock, and Best Week Ever, which is the most consistently unfunny basic cable show since You Can't Do That On Television, which, at least, had the excuse of being Canadian and targeted towards nine-year olds, is too much for any viral piece of content.

So, you've all heard "Chocolate Rain" by now.

It's officially been "John Mayered on Best Week Ever." Let's move on; the whole thing seemed vaguely racist to me, anyway.

Monday, August 06, 2007

There Will Not Be a Clinton/Obama Ticket

You would think Newt Gingrich would understand the Clintons better after tussling with them for most of the 1990s. But when Newt-- in the middle of his "I Know Everything Tour '07"-- predicted a Clinton/Obama ticket for the Democrats, I realized that Newt don't know jack about Bill and Hillary.

Hillary's reference to Barack Obama's statement that he would meet with our enemies in the first year of his administration as "irresponsible and, frankly, naive" revealed her true feelings about the junior Senator from Illinois. Obama is not a Clinton Democrat.

Frankly, I don't think the Clintons do not like people who oppose them directly as Obama is doing every day on the campaign trail. Remember this: Gore ran in 88 but not 92. He had no record of disagreeing with Bill on anything specific.

And yes, I think this rules both Obama and Bill Richardson off a Clinton ticket. Though, Richardson stands a slight chance if he can avoid any major disagreements.

If Hillary wins the nod, look for her to chose someone like General Wesley Clark, someone whom she knows well from her days in the White House. He's strong on defense and, more importantly, someone who never dared to run against her.

That's this Jew's opinion.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Breaking News: Lenders Think We are Very Stupid

Friday, August 03, 2007

Why Recommendations Take Ratings to the Next Level

Not everyone is capable or willing to share his or her own tastes.

However some people are driven to share their views.

Some of those people are excellent curators.

Some like fart jokes.

Why Rating is a huge innovation in the enjoying of digital media.

As content becomes time-shifted and on-demand the strength of a schedule will no longer be the determining factor in the success of television networks and channels.

Slowly, at first, but surely, always, the unlimited delivery of content will be maximized and streamlined. (Of course, there will be both ad-supported and sponsored models.)

There will certainly be studios and labels that produce content and there will be networks that deliver them.

Netflix has proven that a rewarding delivery system is the most important determining factor in the success of a content delivery system.

When all the content libraries that any DVD rental company offers are virtually the same, the most important factor becomes the ability to provide entertainment seamlessly.

However, the ability to predict what type of media a customer wants to enjoy next is a very difficult process relying on focus groups, limited tests and sponsor response.

Now the brand of a Network is not tied to the media they chose to produce, but rather it is tied to the ability to read their customers minds. The HBO experience of the early 00s will have to be represented in a constant series of satisfying media delivery options on a daily basis.

What rating of media has done has changed the game and made predicting the customer’s next choice possible.