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Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Kern Still Hasn't Returned[Editor's State of The Blog Address]

[Editor's Note-Welcome back hopeful, yet misguided readers! If you hadn't already guessed by the lack of posts for what looks like, oh my, an entire year. To those reading this currently I am guessing you are either here because you are eternal optimists who hope that Kern will return from his childish meanderings and write some of that good 'ol fashioned cheap indignation that seem fleetingly charming with its flagrant and cheap use of c**kless sabre rattling and adolescent sprinklings of profane musings. Or you are here because you generally know that this is usually the time of year when I get my chance to give Kern a swift kick to his virtual nethers for abandoning his post and leaving me to look the fool.

Well, if you are of the former camp, please take your conical hats and sit in the corner with the rest of the empty headed children and wait for the adults to finish talking. As for the rest of you, you're in the right place! Please make yourselves comfortable, I have soooo much to tell you all.

First of all, shame on Kern for not even having the decency to refute any of the various and sundry rumors put forth last year at this time. While I knew he was a d**kless wonder and a lazy dilettante, I always thought he was nothing if not polite. Well, you just showed your ass, sir, and it's as flat and pale as I always imagined it would be. Not that I imagined your ass, obviously. I mean, you never got any sun so it just seemed a natural assumption that you know, it would be on the pasty side and...G*d Dammit, now...now it's all awkward. Thanks a metric f**kload, Kern!

Ahem, as I was saying, since Kern didn't have the wherewithal to bother catching up with me, his old partner in prose, I did a little checking to see what sorts of projects he's been attempting. Without me. As one would expect, without me, Kern is little more than a Garfunkel without a Simon, cast adrift , f**ing up all of his creative endeavors this year. Oh, sweet karma, where have you been the last year?

Ooh, I'll tell you where! Because I have a little sampling of several of Kern's post Listen! Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen!!! projects and I am going to share them with you right now. Let's all enjoy the humiliation shall we?

As those of us who have suffered under the sheer weight of Kern's voluminous mountains of derivative ideas and smarmy posturing well know, he seems utterly challenged when it comes to succinctly stating anything when he speaks or writes. It appears that this flighty titbrain of a man follows the philosophy that anything that could easily be said in five words would be better spent squatting out a spool of half baked declarative sentences to rival War and Peace. It is not a surprise to me, dear reader, that Kern came up with one of the most ridiculous and useless applications of modern technology yet after becoming enamored by and likely jealous of Twitter's success: Bloviator.

Yes, you read that correctly. The poor idiot is on the wrong side not only of history on this one, but common sense as well. Since he's so obviously in love with a special brand of thick verbosity that makes Tolstoy look like Hemingway in comparison, his brilliant new service was to do away with the slick 140 characters Twitter uses for lightning quick communication, and instead do the very opposite. On Bloviator one types in short sentences which are then as poorly and painfully inflated as a boob job from a local plastic surgeon found in an Entertainment coupon book. While this sounds utterly stupid, its full potential for ridicule is not complete until one sees an example, and luckily I have one for this very occasion!


Before(Click to Enlarge)

As you can see, we have a very simple statement from the man himself. Simple enough. But run it through the Bloviator and...


After(Click to Enlarge)

Voila! What was once simple and elegant has now become an insanely detailed diarrhea of text, painfully and slowly dribbling its way down your monitor. I would clap at the sheer audacity of the gentleman's attempts at foisting something so obviously moronic upon an unsuspecting public, but unfortunately he is so desperate for approval that he would likely miss the brilliance of my icy sarcasm. There hasn't been this little demand for a product since the disastrous debut of the Angela Lansbury Collection at Frederick's of Hollywood. (I can't for the life of me imagine the target market for edible panties that taste like the giant clump of rock candy at Grandmother's houses, but that's neither here nor there.)

Apparently there is one bright spot for this product, however: legions of high school and college students who would normally throw up their hands in despair and disgust when asked by callous educators to write essays totaling 1000 words or more are thrilled that they can now finish term papers without having to waste all of the precious hours they would rather spend on internet porn or beer pong to construct sentence after meaningless sentence in a ham-fisted and obvious way of padding their term papers to the required length. You just hastened the descent of our youth into a hazy nation of ill equipped dullards with one offensive product. Way to f**ing go, champ.

Moving along from that particular fiasco, I can recall a time when it actually seemed Kern had at least some semblance of writing ability, despite the fact that he later spent the time he should have been blogging drinking beer and taking long trips to the bathroom with the lingerie section of the Sunday K-Mart circular. Color me surprised then to see that he later tried his hand at the greeting card industry. Despite the obviously established knowledge that brevity is not his strong suit, greeting cards also usually involve the expression of, you know...feelings. During our all too brief partnership, it was apparent that Kern's limited range of humanesque emotions were limited to the id driven trifecta of horny, angry, or hungry. Unlike say, John Shaft, a complicated man Kern is not.

What I am about to show you are some of the rejected examples that Kern submitted to Hallmark. These telling results are nothing less than a grotesque picture of a man I thought I knew. See for yourselves:


Ugh.(Click To Enlarge)



Oh, Jesus...(Click to Enlarge)



You've got to be f**ing kidding me.(Click to Enlarge)

Really, Kern? Do you see what you've done here? You've taken one of the most enduring symbols of interpersonal communication and wiped your filthy t**nt with it. What was once a warm smile inscribed on a piece of cardstock would have become a vile, repugnant joke perpetrated upon an unsuspecting public. While anyone who ever read the misanthropic garbage you passed off as "intellectual" or "humor" or "intellectually styled humor" probably recalls, you came across as a peevish old d**k trapped in the body of a young-ish man. Well, if this doesn't illustrate the savage depths you will plumb to pass on your distaste with a society that enjoys itself even if you don't, I don't know what does. By the way, I think you should take down that offensive website called "Kern's Failed Hallmark Cards" down. I mean right now, Mister. For shame, Kern. For shame.

Speaking of shameful behavior, it only gets worse from there, I'm afraid. Not content with ruining the business of what used to be innocent sentimental exchanges, our friend Kern then descended into absolute whoredom. He began writing television scripts.

Not just any scripts mind you, but lurid scripts for those awful ill sex farces one might run across on the Cinemax channel during the later evening hours. Hours, I might add which could be used for far more intellectual pursuits. Perhaps the most egregious aspect of this sad squandering of "talent" is that he was not content to simply fill in the spots between the unseemly moans and groans of actors and actresses obviously bereft of craft like a juvenile game of pornographic mad libs, but he gave in to some obnoxious compulsion to drag perfectly good art into it. Below is an exhibit of an obviously cheap defilement of Louis Malle's masterful 1981 film, "My Dinner With Andre" for his own twisted amusement.



Title page of Kern's first script(Click to Enlarge)

A sample page of the script is no less discouraging to discerning cinephiles and anyone with a modicum of good taste or three brain cells to rub together.


Sample page from "Eating Out With Andre"(Click to Enlarge)

Ridiculous! You can obviously see what kind of pretentious pablum Kern pisses forth from that Jiffy Pop bag he calls a skull when he doesn't have an editor. This is just offensive and insulting all the way around. First of all, where did everyone in the restaurant disappear to? Would you have the viewer believe that all of the other diners would be content to quickly pay their bills and leave on a busy Friday evening simply because this inelegant boob with delusions of pantslessness implies(and very heavy handedly, I might add) that he wants to have intercourse with this busty pseudo intellectual numbskull on top of the dinner table?

It's all completely preposterous...and furthermore, Sartre? Gee Kern, why not just say to the world, "Hi, I didn't finish my bachelor's degree, but maybe people won't notice if I throw out enough pointless references by existentialist authors..."

Right, well, we noticed. The guy downtown who rolls around in his own poop and screams at buses about the Fire Department has read No Exit. Nice try, a**drip.

I, for one, am curious as to how one follows up a magnum opus like "Eating Out With Andre". How else will you besmirch the good name of intellectual entertainment? I am half expecting a whole raft of these abominations to slowly dog paddle their way up sewer, with titles such as, "Requiem For A Masturbate" or "Masterpiece of Ass Theatre". Actually, I had better stop as he could be out there right now nodding and scribbling these things down as honest to God suggestions.

Kern, Kern, Kern...my little Daedalus...in your arrogance you flew a little too close to the florescent lamps and your wings melted. Some creatures just weren't meant for bigger things. But I fear this angry punishment I dole out is not because I hate the man. In truth, it's because...I miss him. Checking for new columns everyday and finding the same post I wrote last year is empty and sad. Like watching a mailbox for a package that never comes. I'm staring at that box, hoping one day to find Kern's package crammed inside.

I admit there is a heaping amount of schadenfreude to be had here regaling the masses with Kern's follies and foibles, but the truth is that this space is too big and too vast to lie dormant year after year, even if his work is subpar at best. The world kind of needs an angry old man to stick his d**k in the mashed potatoes every once in a while, just to cheer people up when the world gets too cold and Listen! Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen!!! is your dinner plate. Get stirring, you lazy t**t.

But enough of the warm and fuzzy business. Kern, if you're out there, I'm hoping you read this and come home. Then again, if you'd rather stick with your dream job(see number three), I guess that's alright,too.]



[PS-Bring me an autograph?-ed.]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Editor's Corner: Will The Kern Return To Blogging?

[Welcome dear readers(if any of you are still there), you may remember me as giving the occasional helpful note here and there in some of Kern's past posts and sometimes filling in when he was away.

Well, as you can see, he's been rather lax, if I may use that term, in his postings this year. For reasons unknown, a couple of people(which is nearly a third of the regular readership, incidentally) have been inquiring as to where Kern has been for the past eight months or so and why he seems to have abdicated his blogging throne.

While I don't know, because God forbid the "talent" would ever give me a call and tell me where he is or what he's doing, I can say that there are some theories being bandied about on the internet. Of course, everyone knows that if it's on the internet it's true, so I'll share some of my favorites and the likelihood that they might be true.

1. Kern got himself "in trouble" and had to go visit some family out of state until the due date:
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Has been gone almost nine months. Chest seems to have extended over his beltline. Saw that other guy on TV get a lot of attention for doing it and thought it would make himself and the blog popular.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Has disappeared for odd lengths of time before; is probably just getting fat or needs to take a very long, painful s**t. Also, is very bad at following through on things. Sex would be involved, in which case Kern would not be.

2. Kern heard the call of the open road and decided to go "off the grid":
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Easily irritated by people. Would afford him the opportunity to gorge himself in local diners without the shame of friends and families watching his disgusting and gluttonous eating habits. No idiots talking on cell phones on public transit.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Does not have a driver's license. Afraid of bugs. And most animals. And nature as a whole. Gets lost in own 1 bedroom apartment without map. Also, is too much of an attention whore to vanish completely.

3. Kern ran away to join the Australian male strip revue "The Thunder From Down Under":
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Likes Vegas. Chance for male bonding in a fun, convivial atmosphere. Can shake moneymaker rhythmically if situation warrants.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Doughy physique. Isn't Australian. Not good at team building exercises. Fake Australian accent is rather unconvincing. Balled up argyle socks shoved in g-string also unconvincing.

4. Kern gave up on love and went through with seemingly idle threat to become a gigolo:
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Likes Masterpiece Theatre and Andy Rooney. Enjoys getting dressed up for social outings. Is hard up for money. Could get used to eating discounted meals around 4 PM every day. Big chance to live out childhood fantasy of being Patrick Dempsey in the film Loverboy.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Disapproving children and grandchildren. Doesn't like being ordered around. Hates changing diapers. Also creeped out by thought of sexing up old ladies.

5. Kern was eaten by his obnoxious cat Rama:
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Rama hates Kern. Has drawn first blood.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Rama would have no one to torment. Also, Kern not made of wool.

6. Kern is in rehab:
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Compulsive personality. Had been under a considerable amount of stress before absence. Possibility of writing half-true memoirs to sell millions of copies.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Doesn't think addiction to pornography and video games warrants rehab. No beer on premises. Isn't famous enough to reap any notable benefits. May run into Amy Winehouse. (Shudder)

7. Kern has become an eccentric recluse in the vein of Howard Hughes:
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Embarrassed due to pathetic book sales, may be ashamed to face the world. Lots of empty bottles around apartment to pee in. Spends most of his free time hanging around the house already. Plentiful opportunities for epic power napping.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Not known for fastidious cleanliness. Too far removed from local watering hole. Apartment is too cold for long bouts of nudity. Not rich enough to be eccentric. Would have to spend more time with Rama. (See item 5)

8. Kern finally made good on his joke to run away to join a monastery:
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Easy to keep up vow of chastity from years of practice. No troublesome wardrobe decisions. Quiet neighborhood. Free access to delicious beers.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Not Catholic. Too fidgety for church services. Cannot keep mouth shut for any considerable amount of time, making vow of silence near impossible.

9. Kern is involved in a scandalous love triangle:
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: Could possibly be charming enough to get two lovers. Has very little common sense.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: Love triangles between Kern, his left and right hand don't count.

10. Kern is actually a fictional persona, much like J.T. LeRoy, and the individual in question got bored keeping up the charade:
WHY IT'S POSSIBLE: "Kern" seems a bit too offbeat to be a real person. Person acting as "Kern" may have mistakenly thought that nebbish, Walter Mitty-esque dorks elicit laughs from public at large.
WHY IT PROBABLY ISN'T: No one's life is so sad that creating a fictional persona like "Kern" would be a step up.

Anyhow, the reality of the situation is that in the past eight months I have only gotten a sprinkling of e-mails from that snotty c**ktucker, one of which was a coupon for a free small coffee at Dunkin' Donuts. Good lookin' out, Diamond Jim. From what I could cobble together from his sporadic mewlings of butchered text, he said that he had a rather busy year which didn't allow him any extra time to work on the blog.

Well, folks, to that I call bulls**t. I know when I've seen a man past his prime, and dammit I think Kern has crossed that threshold. Not that he was that good in his heyday, but at least he tried. I, for one, believe that it's not like the Internet is a poorer place for his lack of constant griping. Having to edit his irritating word gruel day after day was a terrible injustice. I have good ideas, but I toiled behind the scenes, trying to make that silly bastard a success. Let's deal 'em up straight, Kern(wherever you are).

Your formulaic pablum is the literary equivalent of the hot buffet at Sizzler minus the sneeze guard. Oh, it may look appetizing on the first pass, but when you get down close to it, it's all the same snotty, warmed over crap rearranged on our plates in different colorful variations. If this is what you call food for thought, I'd rather f**king starve. It's all so predictable, Kern. It doesn't matter if you never blog again, because I have cracked the Kern Code allowing any half-witted nincompoop with a keyboard and a grudge to write their own Crotchety Bastard columns.

As you can see in the example below, I have discovered through the use of special algorithms and complex indifferent equations, that almost all of Kern's Crotchety Bastard columns can be broken down into a simple standard boilerplate form, with slight personal variations depending on whatever irrational minutiae he has chosen to misdirect his anger toward. It's like a very self-absorbed, whiny ass Build-A-Bear Workshop.


Exhibit A

There it is. The secret of Kern's "style" as it were. Go back and check this formula against any Crotchety Bastard and you'll see what I mean.

So there you have it dear readers. I don't know where Kern is, or when he'll be back, but if he's reading right now, let me be the first to say: we're onto you, buddy boy. Enjoy your endless summer, but know this: You aren't fooling anyone, twinkletw*t. -Ed.]

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Your Crotchety Tip Of The Day

As I get older, the thought has crossed my mind that being crotchety might just be bad for my health. That being the case, I've been making an earnest attempt of late not to get too worked up about any issue unless I see it repeated multiple times. Well, that's not working so I'm going to do what I normally do and bitch about some minutiae instead.

Crotchety Tip #339:

If you find yourself parking on the street in a residential neighborhood, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with your chosen spot. Are you:

a) the requisite number of feet from a fire hydrant?

b) away from painted curbs?

c) parking your shitbox of a van right in the path of a city bus?

If you answered a or b, give yourselves a pat on the back.

If you answered c, however, you can get bent you selfish, dickless fuck. Thanks to you, I very nearly had to stand around for another thirty minutes of testicle freezing frolic when my bus couldn't see the riders at my stop thanks to the undeniable opacity of your groovy rustbomb. I had to jump up and down flailing my arms like some kind of escaped mental patient to flag the driver down. There are a lot of things I would love to be doing on a Monday morning. Unexpected exercise/performance art is not one of them.

For the love of God, if you're going to leave the Mystery Machine coralled somewhere in the neighborhood, at least take that fucking hippie camping dome off the top. Is there some hidden benefit to having a tall car that myself or others might not be aware of? Hey, you know what? Go nuts! Why don't you tack a scale model depicting some of the world's greatest architectural acheivements to your roof? My vote is for Antonio Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, but you can go for something more recognizable if you like, such as the Eiffel Tower or a Big Boy statue. Either/or.

For your lack of consideration for others, and their potential transportation woes, I sincerely hope that a family of long footed pootoroo crawl into your nose while you sleep and make violent love to your sinus cavities until your head explodes.

You're welcome.

Love,

The Crotchety Bastard

Monday, March 17, 2008

RIP: Ola Brunkert


Ola Brunkert

I have a confession to make; deep down there is a part of me that doesn't hate ABBA. And by that I mean, I actually secretly like them quite a bit. Yeah, yeah...go ahead and laugh, despite the image they were all very stellar musicians in their own right and...well, we can debate this later.

Anyway, I was a little shocked and saddened to read today that drummer Ola Brunkert, who recorded and toured extensively with ABBA throughout the Seventies, was killed in a freak accident involving a glass door shattering and cutting his throat.

Sure, he wasn't someone I could have named right off when discussing the band, but the fact is that in the world of music some of the best musicians are the unsung legions of session players, who spend their lives making others sound their best without often garnering the acclaim they rightfully deserve.

That being said, my condolences to his friends, family, and fellow ABBA fans around the world.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Your Crotchety Tip Of The Day

If there's one thing that The Crotchety Bastard cares about, it's public service. I'm sometimes too exhausted[hungover-ed.] from charity work[drinking MD 20/20 with hobos beneath various Seattle overpasses] to write out the kinds of lengthy diatribes you might be craving. That's why I'm instituting The Crotchety Bastard's Crotchety Tip of The Day(Trademark Pending). When even the Bite Sized Bastard is too much to stuff down one's craw, I offer instead a succinct amuse bouche of snarling, patronizing goodness. Think of the delicious! Without further ado, the inaugural tip.

Crotchety Tip #574: If you find yourself at any point during the day using the phrase, "I drink your milkshake!" or "I drank his milkshake!" or "He just drank your milkshake, motherfucker!", please go to the mirror right now. Look closely and note your physical appearance.

If you are not:

a) Daniel Plainview





b) a waitress in a diner and/or soda fountain




c) fierce R & B singer Kelis


Immediately go to the nearest drawer to you, dangle your testicles in said drawer, and slam it shut with all of your might. Repeat as you say the phrase until you find that this is no longer clever to you in the least. If you don't have testicles, just go ahead and have someone kick you in the box and shove you.

You're welcome.

Love,

The Crotchety Bastard


PS-No, your version isn't any different.

PPS- Seriously, just fucking stop it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You Kids And Your Bands Named After Flying Rodents...

Dear Fans of Vampire Weekend:

Hi. I always thought of myself as the type of guy who's pretty open to new music. I know the "blogosphere" has been all abuzz lately about your "OMG! New Favorite Band or Whatevs" or whatever you kids are saying these days in regard to Vampire Weekend. I was wondering if you might be able to help an aging music geek understand something.

What the hell is the big damned deal here? Did I miss something? Why did every hipster under the age of thirty get an erection when they heard a band that sounds like the boring illegitimate lovechild of Paul Simon's Graceland and Spoon?

If someone could perhaps explain the fascination, I'd greatly appreciate it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat some Sunsweet Prunes and listen to some Sonic Youth records with the rest of the senior citizens.

Hugs and shit,

Kern

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Crotchety Bastard: Sour Gripes

Hello all. I realize it's been a while, and I may have to refire the old bile pump, but I caught a couple of things on television that were so tooth grindingly heinous, I felt I had to come out of semi-retirement. That said, let's get to bitchin'.

1. Nip/Fucked or Jumping The Scalpel

I was crestfallen when I read Matt Roush's Jeer in the Cheers and Jeers section of TV Guide this week, as his opening line was very close to my own clever thought about the state of the show as I went to bed Tuesday night, and I knew people would suspiciously eye me as some kind of half rate phrase scavenger. Well played,Mr. Roush. Well played.

On the other hand, it was comforting to know that I was not the only one whose disdain for the show has finally reached critical mass. Whitney Matheson of Pop Candy fame said:

"Let's just forget this season ever happened. Ugh."

I'm with Whitney in spirit, but like many other traumatic experiences I would love to repress[Oooh! Like the "Body Of Christ" fiasco. He hates talking about that one!-Ed.], I can't. Let's confront those Season Five demons head on, shall we?

For anyone who's ever seen Nip/Tuck, it is common knowledge that some latitude needs to be given in the suspension of disbelief department. It's a show that's made its bones by thwarting both convention and good taste at times. This is something I can deal with. I can take crazy to a point. Hell, sometimes I love me some crazy. But this season went beyond crazy; the concepts were so far out there they were dry humping the stratosphere. Characters were introduced or brought back only to be used as empty ciphers to carry out a litany of two dimensional depravities and gross out moments that would put the Farrelly Brothers squarely in Masterpiece Theatre territory by comparison. It used to be that the deformed and disenfranchised clients on the show were once the vehicle by which viewers examined their own fears and failings. Ah, but that's sooo 2004! Currently the revolving door of "freak of the week" patients would even make Tod Browning's corpse blush. In fact, it's not just the cases that have gone over the edge. Now there's something here for everyone who cares more about shock value than plot or theme.

If there was a theme this season that the gang at Nip/Tuck wanted to make clear(and I think this was almost the only one) it's that being caught up in the pursuit of fame is a dark and awful thing. This singular pursuit wouldn't have been so bad if a)that wasn't a subject that has been done to death since paparazzi chased Ug around on the first wheel trying to draw what kind of wooly mammoth was hiding under his loincloth on cave walls and b)there hadn't been a distinct lack of actual commentary on the subject. Their brilliant method was to set up some faux television series which would serve as a giant wink to everyone that, hey, we know we've gone off the rails, but we know it's all just fun trash anyhow! I see. Rather than fixing the show, or choosing to imbue it with substance, they chose to go meta. In my estimation, there are usually a couple of reasons writers go this route. Laziness or desperation. Flip a coin, boys. I think either answer would fit.

Speaking of lazy writing, it seems fitting, then, that the finale was a piss covered maraschino cherry on top of the bleached sphincter sundae that was Nip/Tuck's most recent outing. It seemed one of the few things Ryan Murphy and company were missing from Tuesday's ill fated finale was an odometer styled counter in the lower corner of the screen slowly rolling back number by number to tally up the plethora of oh so edgy, envelope pushing moments wantonly hurled in our direction like one of Christian Troy's used condoms.

-Take for instance, Emmy's mom. I can imagine the writer's meeting on this one:

Writer 1: So, we need something good for the end of the season. Something spicy...something taboo...

Writer 2: Christian could have a long lost daughter no one knew about.

Writer 1: Not spicy, dude.

Writer 2: Wait a minute, wait a minute...Matt, reeling from a breakup doesn't know she's Troy's daughter, right? So what if they do it?

Writer 3: Eh, that's a good start, but it's pretty tame. We almost did that storyline on Seventh Heaven once.

Writer 1: Ok, how about the mother comes to LA to enlist Christian in breaking them up?

Writer 2: Meh.

Writer 1: But she's a double amputee.

Writer 2: Keep talkin', I'm listening...

Writers 1,2,3(In Unison): ...and Christian fucks her! Gimme five!

As generally twisted as this sorry sequence is, they went the extra mile to stay classy and panned up showing her stumps during the sex scene. The disturbing part isn't seeing a disabled person having sex. It's watching her used as some fetishistic sideshow prop to get people riled up. It's a shame that a show that once seemed to offer genuine commentary on the shameful obsession our culture has with vanity has cast those themes aside to satiate a desire to appall for the sheer sake of it.

-Julia had amnesia after being shot. Hmm. Pardon me while I pour myself a huge glass of snore. They must have run out whatever they were on while writing the rest of this nutty morass of sex and whatever else they tried to pad the season with.

-Christian and Annie get into an accident because of paparazzi. Ooh, we'll show you, tabloid journalists! We're going to use the biggest finale cliche in the book and have one of the principal characters in a wreck. That'll teach you, you bastards!

-Then there's Colleen, the not-really-an-agent stalker. Famous people get stalked. Got it. With all the subtlety of a two by four covered in fists, she popped up several times in that final episode. Gee, I wonder if she might try to do something crazy in the last couple of minutes. That would be shocking. Oh, wait, she just burst into the OR and started stabbing him. Huh.

If you found yourself surprised by this, allow me to congratulate you. You've just watched your first television show. I'm sorry, but this "exciting twist" couldn't have been any more telegraphed if the cast of Riverdance had been doing a dance number in morse code in the McNamara/Troy lobby, tapping out, "Behind You, Dumbfuck!"

There you have it, a perfect end to a once great show that decided it would rather be The Young and The Restless on PCP than the thought provoking show it used to be.

On second thought, I like Whitney's idea better...

2. The Bland Leading The Bland

I'm not exactly sure who the intended audience was for American Idol when it first came out, but I imagine the focus groups were made up of a diverse mix of prepubescent lasses who keep notebooks full of puffy scratch n' sniff stickers, male divas, and drooling simpletons whose heads contain a slow, leisurely game of Pong where the brains they were so spitefully screwed out of should reside. This, of course isn't saying much considering the legions of wistful, doe eyed starfucking hacks who band together into frightening, untalented mobs in several major American metropoli year after year with a song in their heart and an unyielding desire to actually be a part of this imbicillic freakshow.

You may be wondering why I didn't follow the sage advice I've leveled at others on countless occassions, to turn the channel to something, anything with more merit. Simply put, my remote failed. I've been a part of some inopportune technical failings in my time. Being stuck in elevators, the power going out with a freezer full of ice cream in August, loss of internet po...well, you get the picture. This however, was far more desperate. I sweet talked, pled, cursed, banged and cursed some more. Nothing. I was stuck halfway in some sort of digital cable purgatory, trapped between hell and day nine of the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament. Finally, reason began to overtake panic and I calmed down. Maybe, I thought, I've been too hard on these guys. I decided to open my heart and my ears during a medley of Sixties favorites. It seemed as though it would be harmless enough, a sweet well meaning nod to the sunny idylls of yesteryear. It wasn't.


Why No, I Wouldn't Like To Buy Any Amway Products

I was instead treated to the vanilla stylings of well scrubbed, well intentioned warbling by a group of clueless boobs whose most notable feature was their lack of notable features. I can't really remember what songs were unfortunately singled out for this round robin sonic abortion, but I doubt it really matters that much. To begin with, all of the male contestants seemed to have been gangfucked by Wink Martindale's wardrobe closet. Awash in the dull rusty glow of their Botany 500 knockoffs, this embalmed cast of Tiger Beat automatons mugged shamelessly to viewers, panhandling for the votes and sympathies of America's bored and witless, whose lack of discernible personalities made The Stepford Wives look like they were from Girls Gone Wild: I Hate My Daddy Here Kind Drunk Stranger Give Me A Free T-Shirt And Ogle My Fake Breasts Ooh I Showed Him! Edition. And they might have succeeded, too, if not for one minute detail: these dolts couldn't charm their way out of a wet paper bag.

The ladies were a little bit better. Kind of the same way having your balls nibbled on by an hooker with a mouthful of broken glass is better than, say, getting a vasectomy with a rusty Spaghetti-o's lid. I could detect one voice that seemed natural, while the rest screeched, bleated, and growled their way through. I'm also unsure as to why there seems to be a girl in these things who must gargle Jack Daniels like Listerine in order to channel some godawful strain of Janis Joplin, growling all of her parts with a raspy faux-soul patina, but there she was in all her eardrum grinding glory. While Janis Joplin may have made it work in her day, this came off as horribly fake. I'm talking Dirk Diggler prosthetic penis fake. On the upside, they were all wearing different outfits, though it looked as though they'd been scraped from the floor of the local goodwill. Free Advice: just because it's vintage doesn't preclude it from being hideous.

As much as I hate to admit it, it may not have been completely these poor bastards fault. I wonder if any of this sad tasteless stew of sanitized music-esque product could have been salvaged if the arrangements weren't aural Nyquil. Jesus Christ, these are supposedly upbeat tunes we're talking about here! Poppy tunes with full toe-tapping potential were being castrated by a drowsy band whose sheet music probably consisted of staffs with eighth notes drawn as tiny Ambien with stems and flags. Any trace of emotion or honest to God soul was excised leaving behind a withered, generic husk of the songs they once were. And that was with oldies. Oldies, dammit! Can you imagine what sort of wet blanket they might throw on far cockier, sexed up fare? I wish I couldn't, but these sell out Lite-FM refugees wouldn't know.38 Special from the Early Bird Special. These butchers make Lawrence Welk and his Musical Family look like The Ramones in comparison. With this kind of lazy somnambulistic backdrop, can I really blame these wistful youngsters with their Cristal hopes and dreams of someday making sweet flavorless karaoke love to the ears of a mostly indifferent public for last night's shockingly dull performance? I just don't know. If nothing else, the whole experience taught me an valuable and special life lesson.

Batteries don't last forever. The shrill, haunting braying of nincompoops, however, endures.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

29 Things I Hate About Kern/Birthday Roast '07

[Editor's Note: We here at Listen! Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen!!! have a certain soft spot for tradition. Because of this, we decided to look at Kern's birthday post from last year which I wrote compared to the treacly, chin quavering, "would you like an extra vagina to go with all that estrogen?", It's A Wonderful Life horses**t he wrote the year prior. And guess what? Of hundreds(ok, ten) people polled, people were absolutely riveted by my tasteful, yet blisteringly humorous send-up of Kern's faults and foibles. Which doesn't honestly surprise me, because despite that enormous a** ego of his, his "comedy" is really more about performing loud, spastic movements which make people so nervous they laugh as they plot to find the nearest exit, which, and I'm looking at Kern here, doesn't make you funny.

So because it's Kern's birthday and the public has long been denied my brand of hilarity for far too long, I thought I would take this opportunity to fire up the spit and roast this smarmy,
lackadaisical talentless malcontent. I love it, let's start...have you ever noticed that Kern...um...]

Hello, dear editor of Listen! Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen!!! Were you about to roast me when I had my back turned again?

[...]

That's what I thought you'd say. You know, a proper roast would involve guests, and a party. Otherwise it's just talking shit behind my back.

[Mmmm...yes. Yes, it is. Look, I didn't want to have to be the one to tell you this, but let's just be honest, you've gone soft. Your output is spotty and best, and somehow you think people are going to be all excited when they wake up one morning and see that you've come out of hiding to grace them with a luscious new barrage of acidic witticisms. Who the f**k do you think you are, funnyman, J.D Salinger? Yes, it's a surprise to us all in much the same way a cat leaving a coiled present on your carpet is a surprise. You've lost your edge. Your simpering prose is nothing more than a futile attempt to stroke your flaccid ego when you feel down on yourself. Incidentally, that's the only thing on you getting stroked. I'd make a rimshot noise, but it would look godd**n ridiculous in print.]

Apparently you've forgotten the Crotchety Bastard columns.

[Well, there have been so few of them, I think everyone else has, too. Snap!]

This is pathetic. But in the spirit of things, I'd like to roast myself a little.

"You know you've arrived when things are being named after you such as Trump Tower, Flutie Flakes, Rockefeller Center, etc. I am pleased to announce that I, too, have been achieved such an honor. Is it a building? No. Is it a cereal? Not quite. But I did find out that my name and likeness will be used for a new pharmaceutical that will help millions. It's called Kernbutal, and while it's not something glamorous like a cure for cancer, diabetes, or asshole lesions, it is a surefire cure for rampant insomnia. I dispense it orally and people begin to nod off in no time at all. However, Kernbutal does have side effects which include irratibility, nausea, impotence, and slow absortion in general."

"Some have expressed the thought that I'm an old man trapped in the body of a young man. Let me say this about that: if this were true would I have had a hot, sexy time at Halcyon Hills Retirement Community last Saturday where I did wicked hits in an oxygen tent, drank body shots of Metamucil off of a woman named Beulah, and was offered the gum job of my life. It wasn't."

"Not to brag, but my smash hit book Listen! Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen!!! is soon to be translated into French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Tagalog. Now people of all cultures and walks of life will have equal opportunity to not buy my book."

[Are you quite serious? Is...is that all? Thanks for wasting everyone's valuable time. That was about as funny as epilepsy of the penis.]

Hmm. Sadly, I think he's right. I'm just not into it this year. Perhaps the audience might help.

Dear loyal readers, if you've got a funny roast style insult for my birthday, please leave it in the comments.

Other than that, let me just say thanks to everyone who did put up with the sporadic and generally unfunny posts this past year, and I hope to bring some more crotchety joy to you in '08.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Proust's Madelines and Kern's Omelette

As my father pulled the final link of its band, I watched him look at it one more time before handing it over to me. The silver Invicta had initially been a birthday present he'd given to my uncle Clay during one of the routine family reunions we had been embarking on since moving up North.

"If you'd think about him everyday when you look at the time," my father said quietly, "you know, that'd be real good."

I nodded wordlessly, sliding the now comparatively dimunitive timepiece down my wrist. Though my uncle passed away almost exactly two years ago, I do find myself thinking about Clay often when I put it on and take it off. It was no surprise then, that this past September he was at the forefront of a nostalgic mind and an empty stomach as I sat down at the quasi-(in)famous greasy Seattle institution we locals know as Beth's Cafe. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

One of the cornerstones of my relationship with my uncle was my fanatical attempts at performing stomach stretching feats of gastric daredevilry. The memory of his amused, proud and slightly skeptical countenance as I shoveled a three pound piece of Lawry's prime rib down my gullet and asked for his baked potato after eating mine never fails to bring a smile to my face. As I recall the last morning I saw him alive, he urged me to eat a giant stack of pancakes followed by eggs, bacon, and God knows what else. As I swirled the soft syrupy detritus around the plate a few times before finishing, the man shook his head and told me with a smile that this was half the reason he showed up for the family reunions was to watch me eat. One of the last things I remember him saying at the table was, "Look out, y'all. My man Al is puttin' on a show!"

There was a large checklist of Everest sized culinary acheivements I wish I could have tackled for Clay's amusement, one of which was his challenge for me to eat a couple of the double sized offerings from Fatburger. I never did get that chance, but one day this past September, I was telling my friend Sarah stories about Clay, and it dawned on me that as a tribute I would tackle one of the most intense and gastronomically taxing food gauntlets ever thrown down by a restaurant. By god, I was going to eat the famous Beth's twelve egg omelette.

That's right, dammit. I said twelve. A dozen eggs. Six of one and the half dozen of the other griddled together with my choice of heartstopping meats and cheeses and romantically posed on a crispy carbohydrate mattress of steaming hash browns. If there is such a thing as food porn, this canary colored monolith of yolky goodness is like serving Sunny Side Sluts IV on a pizza pan. A daunting dragon of the comestible variety, I sat in that rickety booth with two thoughts. One, I hoped wherever he is, Clay was watching. Number two: I was going to slay this motherfucker without hesitation or mercy.

omlette0
Fig. 1: Twelve Egg Omelette Pre-Kern

After it arrived, I stared at it. Blurry cell phone pictures do not do this thing justice at all. And just to make sure that this was truly a Clayworthy feat, I had them load the behemoth with cheddar cheese, sausage, and ham. Yes sir, this thing was going to take balls of steel and arteries of teflon to master. I was strapped to a runaway train barrelling toward fate, and that day fate happened to be smothered in Tabasco sauce.

To say that I fully decimated the platter would be overstating the case a little bit, but as you can see from the photographic evidence below, I ate the ass out of that omelette, and took about a third of the hash browns with me. Also, contrary to the picture, I did actually end up eating the toast as well, because Sarah informed me that the Knott's Berry Farms Apple Cinnamon jelly was delightful. As is usually the case, she was not wrong.

Omlette3
Fig. 2: Twelve Egg Omelette Post-Kern

With the spoils of war slowly expanding in depths of my gut, I thought about what this whole production was really about. To most people it was little more than a childish stunt based on the mortified looks and gasps of horror that I later received when regaling people with a chew by chew account of the mealtime mayhem, but like many other things in life there was far more to it. I find one of the most curious and heartwrenching aspects of the human condition is our innate ability to participate in this life's multi-tiered buffet with its myriad possibilities for joy and heartbreak when all we have at the end of the meal is a doggie bag full of faded experiences we hope to enjoy later.

Memories on their own mean little. If left to merely cursory and periodic enjoyment, they will stagnate and lose their potency. My repast at Beth's was my small but earnest attempt at engaging my recollection of Clay the same way I would have if he had been right there, and at the end of the day this kind of experience is how I want to hold any memory, living vicariously through myself in the present while keeping a reverent eye toward the past. It's very difficult, growing into the realization that we can never really hold on to anything for good. Those times when one finds themselves alone with these memories can be the most morose and solitary times of all. But they aren't, not really. I'll watch people leave me enough for ten lifetimes but when I refuse to only passively remember the world that made me, I know there is something to make things bearable again.

I will stand up surrounded and buoyed by thousands of secret smiles past, say "fuck it", and put on a show.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wait Until The CDC Hears About This...


Meet your new (least)favorite rapper: Flava Les

My worst fears have finally been confirmed by answering a series of well thought out questions from leading experts on social backwardness and shameful indulgences in intellectual pursuits. I just found out that I've tested Nerd Positive.

Though a cure for Nerdiness is rare and elusive, this affliction isn't fatal, and is at least a treatable condition with proper maintenance. If you're one of hundreds of thousands of people with this terrible malady, please know that you're not alone. Well, actually you probably are. But not in spirit, and that's probably close enough. For more information please contact:

Study of Human Unwillingness To Interact Normally or simply dial 1-900-SHUTIN*. Our trained counselors are here to help assure you that you may still be able to live a normal life despite the fact that you speak Klingon, have hooked up a catheter tube underneath your computer desk so that you don't have to leave your seat to urinate during three day sessions of World of Warcraft, or perhaps have a wank while looking at a two hundred dollar Wonder Woman statue every night.

So come on, let's let the healing begin...

Hugs and shit,

Kern

*[$7.24 for the first minute, $4.00 for each additional minute. All calls will be monitored for quality assurance and laughs at your expense by people far cooler than you. 100% of the proceeds will go to eradicating the threat of Nerdiness in our lifetime.

Ok, actually, you know what? That's a lie. It's actually going straight into Kern's pockets so he can stuff himself with expensive beer and rich Belgian carbonnade and frites before going home and walking around with his pants unbuttoned doing a poor imitation of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" simply because he can.

You know Kern, you're a selfish t**t. It's all about you, isn't it? Kern, Kern, Kern. That's all we ever talk about around here anymore. I have hopes and dreams, too, other than editing your sloppy, sporadic prose. Do you even write anything longer than a snide self-referencing paragraph anymore? Right, that's just what I thought you smug, bleached anus. I hope that you develop an embarrassing penile rash shaped like Don Rickles right before a big date, you sniveling pencil neck twirp. Oh wait, you'd actually have to get a date first.

Oh yes, Kern. I did indeed go "there". -Ed.]