Friday, August 31, 2012

Devastation: My Cat Stella is Voting for Romney

I'm just beside myself. I knew that Stella was a fiscal conservative--she's always been a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of kittycat. (Sure, she's never worked a day in her life, but neither has Ann Romney!) And yeah, she did kind of have a soft spot for Sarah Palin back in '08 because, as she put it at the time, "that woman is a grade-A c*nt." (She was impressed!) But, really, I thought Stella and I both agreed that the Republican Party had gone absolutely bonkers in the past few years and in no way did they deserve to be in the White House again.

So when Jimmy told me that Stella had told him that she was a Feline for Romney, I was aghast. I went straight to the cupboard, took out the DentaBites, shook the packet, and into the kitchen she ran, at which point I scooped her up, took her into the living room, and sat her down to give her a talking to.

"Stella, what's this I hear about you planning to vote for Romney? You do know that he's a congenital liar, right? And that he's just going to bring back Bush-era policies that will screw the middle class? And that he's going to try to get rid of Obamacare? Stella, you do also remember that your daddy is a type 1 diabetic, which, in the parlance, is a preexisting condition?"


"Stella, Obama is not a socialist, Jesus."


"Stella, if Mittens wins you know what he wants to do? He wants there to be a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage, which means your two daddies would be forcibly divorced and I would lose my damn health insurance."

"Birth certificate."

"Stella, let's be clear: Obama was born in Hawaii, and Paul Ryan is in the tenth grade. Tenth graders can't be vice president!"

"You didn't build that."

"Argh. Okay, Stella, listen, if Romney is elected president, daddy's probably not going to be able to buy you Fancy Feast anymore. How does that sound?"

"Secret Muslim."

"Stella, do you spend all day on I'm going to have to start putting some parental controls on the Macbook."


"Girl, that poor dog is supposed to be a reason not to vote for Mittens."

"White is right."


"Liberal fascism."

"You're making less sense as this conversation goes on."

"Eh, tired, bye."

"Stella don't you dare walk away. Stella! If you go under that bed I swear to God I'll..."

"Can't hear you. Purring."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This Doll Is Gonna Eat Your Face While You Sleep

My one regular reader might remember that my mom loves dolls and Christmas things/figurines and giant terrifying Santas. She collects these things, snapping them up wherever and whenever she finds them, be it a terrifying year-round Christmas shoppe, a mail-order catalog, or a friend with extras she wants to get rid of.

Apparently that's how the above doll in a box came into mom's possession. My blood ran cold when I saw it in the garage on my recent visit down to North Carolina because it looked exactly like THE DOLL OF ALL HUMAN NIGHTMARES. Let's take a closer look.

Yep, that's the one.

"Isn't she precious?" Mom asked/told me.

"Yes," I whispered, lower lip quivering. "P-p-precious."

Then I moved in closer to see what message was printed on the front of the box in a cutesy scribble to convince me that this doll was not stolen from the devil's secret stash.

Once upon a time there was a doll created by a coven of witches with an agenda and it scratched your eyes out on your birthday, the end.

Sorry, Internet Meanies, Lana Del Rey's Album Is Actually Awesome

Okay, okay, I'm late to this Lana Del Rey party, I admit it. Or rather, I was all over the pre-party--drinking down all the tasty cocktails Ms. Del Rey served to us slobs at the open bar of the Internet last year. They were all lush drinks with hifalutin names like "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans" and "Born to Die," and each had an epic, dramatic, sugary sweep to it (and a mango-coconut aftertaste). After that hella good pre-party, I was ready for the main event, a full album.

In these early days, Ms. Del Rey, of course, had her critics--plenty of them, all over the interwebs. Folks who hated her because she was beautiful and she knew it, like that woman from Weird Science, or hated her because she was "inauthentic," having changed her name from Lizzie Grant to Lana Del Rey and allegedly gotten lip implants or some shit, or hated her because... oh, fuck it, just because. The tug of war between the lovers and the haters meant that by the time Our Lady of the Immaculate Lip Augmentations was ready to release an album and start pimping it, the Internet was ready to self-destruct and it would only take one measly little trip wire to make this happen.

My Lana's appearance on SNL the weekend before the release of her album Born to Die was that measly little trip wire. Things got mean and a little weird. Though the songs she sang, "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans," should have sold themselves with ease, her performance was wobbly and unsure. I figured she'd just been thrust too soon into the spotlight and hadn't honed her stage craft enough. And, like any human, she was probably nervous. It seemed the Internet, which predictably exploded with hatred and mockery in the wake of the appearance, came away with an altogether different impression about the quality of Lana's music. But the criticisms were already locked and loaded long before Del Rey was booked on the show: she's a fake, a cynical creation of managers and record labels, the Twitter trolls said. And, ha, look, she can't even sing live, so we were right all along.

Then, like clockwork, upon the album's release, the nation's critics came stampeding from their outhouses, clutching to their breasts their feverishly typed diatribes about how Born to Die was a barely alluring failure, a style-over-substance catastrophe, a big glitzy red carpet leading to a fancy porcelain toilet with a big golden turd in it. Pitchfork was first out of the gate with a dismissive grade of 5.4 out of 10 (this from a site that had hyped Del Rey from the very beginning). Bloggers shot their wads all over the place, engaging in Big Conversations about how Lana Del Rey was a fraud, an empty vessel, a talentless hack, as well as a bad role model and a terrible development for feminism, girl power and self esteem. The Village Voice even managed to compare the beats on the album to those of '90s trip-hop also-rans Sneaker Pimps. That's not at all a fair comparison, because if you've ever listened to the Sneaker Pimps you'll know that you always came away from their music feeling molested to within an inch of your life by their loud-ass beats, whereas Lana's are classy, clipped, and easily swept over by all the lush orchestrations. But anyway, congratulations, VV, on your Googling skills. Even the Onion's AV Club, usually a level-headed bunch, lost their damn minds, giving the album a D. A D! What? I got a C in high school chemistry and I was terrible in the lab. (And I had no lush string accompaniment.) Props to NPR and the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones for their thoughtful reviews of the album, but they were really alone in the wilderness on this.

And I'll admit: after reading so many headlines about how awful the music was, I shoved Ms. Del Rey into the back of my head and figured I'd revisit her at a later date, after the dust had cleared. That later date came just a few weeks ago and I'm now officially aghast--aghast, I say--at the treatment this album received upon its release. Because I'm just gonna say it: Born to Die is second only to Beach House's Bloom as my favorite album of the summer. It's true!

It begins with the title track, which is all glossy lament and breathy drama, enveloped in a thick swirl of strings. Then there's "Off to the Races," which has been criticized for the white-girl rapping, but I think it's just nifty. (Coincidentally, "Nifty" is my street name.) Then more drama on "Blue Jeans" and "Video Games" and "National Anthem." None of the songs sticks around for too long, which is an unusual choice for an album of, basically, torch songs. But there's also pop: "Lolita" and "The Lucky Ones" and "Diet Mountain Dew"--all smashing, with heavy doses of moxie and just enough Betty Boop squeak. Basically the album is a sumptuous mess of strings, coos, and hooks, hooks, hooks. "Radio" is the most effervescent pop tune I've heard all summer, accept for this one by The School, which just might make you smile for days.

Okay, yes, Lana Del Rey has a few hiccupy vocal ticks that will grate on some folks' nerves. And yes, she sometimes has a sad, irritating face in some of her videos. And okay, she might sing too much about loving up on hot boys and needing them to be her hero. But her reference points are just retro that way, and she's got an elegant way of matching her voice perfectly to the turns of phrase she's spouting--turns of phrase that are largely pretty sharp. (High-pitched squeal for "Gimme them gold coins, gimme them coins"; low, deadpan delivery on "Says it feels like heaven to 'im.") And if her videos of swimming pools and naked hotel room getaways and pet tigers are any indication, she's having a blast. So let her have her fun, because her fun is your fun, even though you're not hooking up with hot boys, you're just sitting there eating Chee-tos, listening to her sing songs about how she's doing it all the time, forever. It's still fun, though. She doesn't nail everything she attempts, but she shows she's got bigger balls than most pop starlet wannabes with the chances she takes, so I can forgive her her sometimes irritating face.

Finally, regarding the dumb debate about authenticity, I'll just say this: In the "Born to Die" video, we have a bombshell beauty with a lazy, languorous voice, singing a sultry torch song while sitting on a throne in a Sistine Chapel–like cathedral, wearing a crown of blue flowers, and flanked by two lounging, mirror-image tigers. How do you even begin a conversation about "realness" when faced with such a tableau? The answer is: you don't. You can't. It's not possible for a thinking person to do that.

So what you should do instead is say, "huh, this bitch is cranking the elegance and drama up to 11 in a hilariously rarefied way and so should be worshipped, probably."

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm Going to Need To See More Explicit Photos Before I'm Comfortable Saying That Anderson Cooper's Boyfriend Has Been Caught Cheating

Oh, Coop. See, this is why you should have been sitting on my lap at the gym during those weekend workouts instead of lifting, squatting, sweating, and etcetera, all over the place, with your hot boyfriend Ben Maisani, who has allegedly now been busted with his hands all up in the gay cookie jar by the queerballs over at the Daily Mail, even though these photos look incredibly staged, for whatever reason.

I, for one, refuse to believe that someone could do this to America's Silver Fox. And especially with such a dumb-looking meathead. There's a time and a place for dumb meatheads, and that time and place is not in Central Park, during the daylight, where any idjit with a camera phone can record your love. (The time for dumb meatheads is pretty much any other time besides the time I just mentioned.)

Poor Andy, he's in a tough place. I mean, his boyfriend clearly deserves a spanking, but at the same time, he doesn't deserve one from our Anderson, you know?

In conclusion, Kathy Griffin will step in to beat Ben with a standing rib roast, which Ben will never recover from because it will be televised on the 15th season of My Life on the D List.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Been and Gone: David Rakoff

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David Rakoff
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Ugh, this is just terrible. David Rakoff?! I knew he was fighting cancer but for some reason I thought he was in the clear. It just never made sense that he could actually die. What a sad, sad thing. I remember seeing him hanging out at the UCB Theater one time soon after I moved to NYC and felt like I should probably resist the urge to say hello and declare my devotion to him because, hey, it's New York, and folks are more sophisticated here. I've since realized that NYC is just as full of stone-cold starf*ckers as any other place and I should have totally just jumped in his lap and whispered my name over and over in his ear and it would have all been fine. I really wish I'd done that now because at least then I'd be able to say I once talked to one of the most hilarious writers of our time.

What a loss to the world. And guess what boneheads are still alive across this great nation. That's right: all of them, Katie.

I don't even know what to say, this is so sad. But, hey, let's take comfort in this quotation from the man's very own adorable mouth nozzle:

“There are many things in this world that are an outrage, to be sure, but death at our current life expectancy doesn’t strike me as one of them. Maybe I sound like some Victorian who felt that forty years ought to be enough for any man, but one of the marks of a life well lived has to be reaching a state of finally getting it, of not needing more, and of being able to sign off with something approaching peace of mind.”

Wow. Words to shoot for. RIP, Rakoff.

Where I'm At

Even though they haven't inquired or even betrayed any interest, I know that both of my readers are wondering where I've been and why I've interrupted my strict schedule of intermittent blogging. Well, the answer is in the above short film: I've been busy making funny videos of my momma going down a water slide in Atlantic Beach, NC. After we finished at the pool, of course, I explained to her all about the Ryan plan to change Medicare to a voucher system, but that video didn't turn out as well.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Fun Q and A with Yours Truly at the Brooklyn Eagle's Brooklyn Book Beat Blog (Blang Blong Blurgh)

It's Monday, and all y'all are probably on a desperate search for something to read, to fill up those long hours until your lunch break. So here's a little something for you to enjoy, an interview with me, an "author" that you've never heard of. Go on, live out loud.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Been and Gone: Gore Vidal

The great Gore Vidal, a spectacularly talented screenwriter, novelist, and hilariously bitchy critic of American politics and culture, has died, so See Tim Blog has a sad today. There'll never be another like him--he lived nine lives and was a pioneer in, as conservative icon William F. Buckley would put it, being an enthusiastic apologist for the homosexual "affliction."

Below is a snippet of an interview with him for the film The Celluloid Closet, in which he discusses how he got Charlton Heston to unwittingly play a big old gay homo in the movie Ben Hur. The whole movie (Celluloid) is a must-see, especially the exquisite few seconds where Vidal describes a Disney exec as "looking not unlike Mickey Mouse."

Also, read Myra Breckinridge. It's a hoot.