world's worst car names
prod test: pretzel m&ms
the dominican republic
titus andronicus @ maxwell's
miles kurosky @ mercury lounge
dinosaur jr. @ bowery ballroom
be your own dj
big apple circus
greatest actor of his gen.
why sirius/xm will fail
the 2nd worst block in nyc
prod. tes: dentyne blast
tokyo police club
the antichrist goes home
bubba's secret campaign
celeb sighting 8: steve schirripa
the police @ msg
celeb sighting 7: andrew mccarthy
puerto vallarta, mexico
kurt vonnegut: r.i.p.
worst boss ever
best purchase ever
montclair: hipster central
the cali roadtrip
celeb sighting 6: rupaul
product 1: diet coke w/ splenda
cell phone headsets
casualties of war
celeb sighting 5: max kellerman
deus ex: invisible war
the weakest fortune ever
celeb sighting 4: christina aguilera
the six flags guy
celeb sighting 3: len berman
celeb sighting 2: christena pyle
max payne 2
celeb sighting 1: amber valletta
st. thomas, usvi
mr. hipster goes domestic
the danger of googling
why i love whitney matheson
joe strummer tribute show
london part deux
new jersey state fair
lake george, ny
ford motor company
look kids, parliament
tuesdays with morrie
the blogger bash
the geniuses at fox
the blvd of porn & trinkets
the ugly bar
fat loss miracle
the free gift
I've been hearing about HDTV
since college. This was before the days of DVD, so they were telling
us that one day we'd have television with Laserdisc quality picture
on each station. Of course, I actually owned (and still own) a Laserdisc
player, so I knew what I was missing. Man, this was going to be
It has turned out to be less than great.
It turns out that the high definition commission, or whoever it
is who regulates high definition broadcast, has yet to settle on
a standard. I have my high
definition TV (in fact I'm sitting typing this in front of it
right now--thank god for Wi-Fi)
and I have my HDTV cable box, but I only receive three high definition
stations. As you'd expect, the stations are up in the 170's somewhere,
and completely inconvenient to access. I have a 16:9
widescreen TV, so the HDTV pictures are supposed to work well
with this aspect
ratio... of course they don't. Each station uses a different
format, and each show on each station seems to use a different format.
In fact, you could be watching a show, and the commercials in the
show will be in a different aspect ratio.
So, what does this mean to the viewer?
It means that one minute you could be watching a program that essentially
looks like a letterboxed
movie and the next minute you could be watching this thing that
takes up just the middle section of the screen, with blackness all
around it. The picture itself looks pretty nice, but the constantly
changing aspect ratio is horribly annoying.
So, I'm not sure what we've learned here other than
the fact that HDTV isn't quite ready for primetime. I just want
to warn you not to expect miracles is all. Assuming your local cable
provider carries HDTV and is touting it as the second coming of
the VCR, be aware that it's not all it's cracked up to be. When
you go to Circuit
City or Best
Buy or wherever and they tell you that you definitely need HDTV,
consider carefully if it's something you need right now. After all,
it's cool having HBO
in high-def (watching The
Time Machine right now) but I really don't need to see the
11:00 news anchor's hair in all its high definition glory.
is a weird state. Dangling precariously into Canada
and the frosty white caps of the North Atlantic, Maine somehow
drags millions of tourists
every year to the precipice of the United States to freeze their
asses off and eat lobster.
My only prior experience with our great
white neighbor to the North (and we mean white, as in caucasian)
was during a college visit to Colby
where it was so cold that the transmission fluid in our car froze
solid. That was the kind of cold I have yet to experience again--and
I went to school in Syracuse
for God's sake.
Kennebunkport itself is a little tourist/vacation
village in Southern Maine that essentially doubles the price of
seafood at all its restaurants in order to make itself seem exclusive.
In fact, I ate so much overpriced lobster, shrimp and scallops,
that I really have no desire to eat anything from the sea ever
again. I could still eat some rockin' clam strips from The Clam
Shack, but I'm not sure my arteries could take it.
While being surrounded by silver haired
folks in L.L.
Bean garb is a little strange in itself, the full creepiness
of this town didn't reveal itself to me until I walked into some
place called The Lobster Pot, or The Lobster Shack or Hut or something,
and they had these postcards on display...
Anyway, I knew the Bushes hung out in this town
(you can see their house right there in the postcard), but in
a laughable bit of irony, this is apparently the same house in
front of which Bush
Jr. got arrested for DUI back in 1976. His Alfred E. Newman
"what me worry?" smile in this postcard indicates that
he has no recollection of this event--the same way his dad had
no recollection of selling
arms to Iran to fund a revolution in Nicaragua. Maybe he's
just happy that he got a deal on socks at one of the outlet shops
in nearby Kittery.
Ah, nothing like a night of watching
small men ride around in carts being dragged behind trotting ponies.
Add to this the lovely backdrop of the famous Meadowlands
Racetrack in beautiful East Rutherford, NJ, and you have what
amounts to an evening in paradise.
In order to avoid hanging with the
general chain-smoking riff-raff that generally inhabit lowbrow
racetracks, we procured seats in the glass-enclosed dining room.
Not only did this allow us to avoid having our women ogled by
toothless geriatrics, but we were also divined the pleasure of
paying a good deal of our hard-earned money for rubber chicken
and general weddingish fare. In addition, we stayed out of the
drizzle and got to make fun of the faux fancy-pants, middle-aged
Jerseyites in their sequins and elastic waistbands. Outside of
the hardcore crowd downstairs, the track seems more like a night
out at a cheesy Italian restaurant than a night of seedy debauchery.
And then we descend into the seventh level of hell that is the
general betting public...
This is some scary shit. Made up of
almost 100% dudes (and couple flannel-clad heifers who might as
well have been sporting goatees), the place reeked of desperation
and alcoholism. Man yelled for horses they had never heard of
before throwing down cash at the window. They jumped up and down
like lunatics. They yelled like rednecks at a livestock auction.
They were OTB
junkies with bus passes. It was a weird sociology experiment gone
horribly awry. It made me want to cry for these broken men and
their addictions. Instead I made faces and rolled my eyes like
the snobby asshole that I am, and made sure to use a lot of soap
after washing my hands in the empty bathrooms.
As far as betting went, I originally
took a conservative approach, essentially reading the wonderfully
produced program and making my choices based on the snarky commentary
written (and not very well edited) by one David Brower.
Like most sports "experts,"
his suggestions amounted to nothing more than educated guesses.
After the third race, I switched gears and relied on the "close
my eyes and hope a name comes to me" method. And, like that,
I actually won! That one win, along with another small one later
in the night paid for my dinner and covered the rest of my expenditures.
I must say that harness
racing isn't the most exciting thing in the world, as the
horses aren't allowed to zoom past a trot at any point in the
race. It has that weird speed
walking quality about it, as the horses seem like they could
really break out if they were allowed to stretch their legs. Really
quite bush league.
Despite my somewhat lukewarm
response to the track, I'm certain I'll find myself back at some
point with the guys, drinking beers and blowing my cash. This
time, though, I'm going to stay out of the glass cage that is
the upper class and spend my time amongst the regulars. Hey, if
you're gonna talk the talk...
I've been searching for years, and I've finally
found my least favorite kind of music (and mind you, there's
death metal and German industrial music out there). It's that
melodic muzak that they call "slow jams." With more
"babies" and "ooh-oohs" than a cheap whorehouse,
this music just drips with cheese.
Generally perpetrated by groups of four or five
African-American young men dressed in the same outfit, slow
jams (or the popular form slow jamz) almost always involve men
pining after women, getting pissed about a woman cheating on
them or generally getting busy. The music videos often include
flowing white outfits with unbuttoned shirts on the men (aided
by wind machines), and scantily clad women often in some state
of undress and writhing ecstasy. Maybe it's all the cajoling,
all that calling her "baby," the sexual double-entendres,
and the slinky way they're always sticking in the word "love."
Here are some typical lyrics brought to you by the dreadful
group, Dru Hill:
Gimme some of that old love (oooh)
The love I used to get more of (aw baby)
Like when I first got to know ya (like back in the day)
Like the way we used to be (gimme some)
Gimme some of that old love (oh)
To make me feel like a soldier (I salute ya baby)
Better now that I'm older (oh)
Like the way we used to be
Can't you just feel the love (especially that
very subtle part about "saluting")? No wonder this
crap melts womens' hearts and makes them jump out of their panties
faster than Andy Dick dives into a pile of coke. This crap doesn't
make me want to please my woman; it makes me want to take a
nap and/or order myself a nice lobotomy. Amazingly, there are
entire channels dedicated to this drek, including VH1
Soul on the tube, and radio stations like WBLS
in NYC. Imagine, twenty-four hours of five-man groups all making
love to your radio (and all making love to the same woman in
five-part harmony). The stuff is creepy when you really think
I defy anybody to point out a more inane source
of entertainment out there. It's the music world's version of
the late-night Shannon
Tweed movie--but without the nudity and the sweaty gardener.
When did R&B sink to such lows? What happened to the great
Motown songs of yesteryear. What happened to subtlety and class?
Oh yeah, R-Kelly
happened to it?
Yeah, shut up. So, I went to the opera.
That doesn't make me a Sally. It doesn't mean I'm going to skip
town with my pilates
instructor or go out and buy a VW
Beetle. I don't all of a sudden have posters of Julie
Andrews on my wall or have an urge to drink white
wine spritzers and chow down toast points.
Fine, so I liked it. I liked the singing
and the pirates and the women in the bright skirts. I liked all
that shit. I was boogying in my seat. I was ready to chuck it
all, take voice lessons, balloon up to 350 pounds, grow a scraggly
beard and dedicate my life to bellowing in French to a bunch of
people holding those little binoculars.
Okay, let's not go overboard here.
I went to see Carmen
at the New
York City Opera. It's kind of the equivalent of ordering pad
Thai, buying a Honda
Accord, or rooting for Tiger Woods. It's the easiest opera
to swallow. It's the beginner's beginning. It's a sucker's bet.
How could I resist the theme from the
News Bears? You know, the one they play as the BNB start to
win--that rousing, soaring anthem?
Turns out it's actually about a toreador. Who knew? Then there's
that other song that has been bastardized by every commercial
on Earth. In fact, Pepsi is using it for their latest Beyonce
Honestly, I felt a little bit like
a fraud, as the translation scrolled above the stage. It felt
like opera for dummies, or the kid's religious services where
they played guitar and sung about the battle of Jericho, while
the adults were in a different chapel reading the real stuff.
Apparently the NYCO is the ghetto opera in NYC, while the Met
is the place where the true patrons take in their culture. In
fact, like the low-rent opera that it is (if there is really such
a thing), a fight broke out in the upper decks right in the middle
of act one. This guy stood up and started screaming at someone.
The whole house turned around to check it out. It was pretty weird,
really. It was as if we went for a night of culture and an Eagles
game broke out.
So, if you see me on the street, please
don't take my lunch money.