Us = geniuses?

Summit: I think I need to be a painter. I think that should be my next career.

Viking: Yeah, you do. It's a bold move.

Summit: And unexpected, but that's how I'll take the art world by storm.

Viking: Can I be one of your patrons?

Summit: Of course.

Viking: Nice. Someday I'll commission you to do a work with me somewhere in it as a major religious figure. That is so old skool.

Summit: That's solid. I'll make you extremely pained and suffering, just like Christ.

Viking: Proper.

Summit: Maybe in the style of El Greco or something.

Viking: I've always wanted to be an art patron. What's your first painting going to be? And what movement will you align yourself with?

Summit: I'm thinking landscape, probably aligning myself with the illuminists.

Viking: You'll have to work up a good euro-trash fan base.

Summit: Yeah, good call. And snobby New Yorkers.

Viking: Absolutely.

Summit: Sweet, I can't wait for my artistic fame.

Viking: It'll be tough to develop a drug problem later on, but that's something you can work on.

Summit: Yeah, I think I can take care of that. It'll start with hittin' the phan [tryptophan], but move to harder stuff pretty quick. I'm thinkin' horse'll be the way to go.

Viking: Yeah, good call with the 'phan. You could be the artist that brings a steroid scandal to the art community. It's all the rage.

Summit: Oooooh, I hadn't thought of that. That will help explain why my paintings are so awesome, and are completed in such short order. It'll be the first doping allegation of the art world.

Viking: They'll have to put an asterisk next to your name in all the art record books. You can deny it and they can launch a grand jury to dig up the dirt. You'll be HUGE.

Summit: Man, what a great way to get press!!! This is perfect, we have officially concocted the best PR blitz one can think of.

Viking: First step, hit the juice. Then, start painting. You'll need to make some friends at the Walker.

Summit: Yeah, the more arrogant the better.

Viking: The only real obstacle is getting that first show. Once that's done it's all downhill from there.

Summit: Well, I'd say you have to have a brief moment of great press, like maybe a year or so of really great reception. Then it starts going downhill.

Viking: Ok, yeah that's true.

Summit: The poster-child for the revitalization of art is found to be a doping fraud.

Viking: But on the juice you should be crankin' out the hits.

Summit: Yeah, for sure. I'll be in Newsweek and the New Yorker and stuff.

Viking: Yeah the more good press you get before the scandal, the better.

Summit: And then when my press starts to go the other way I'll be in people and grocery store rags. It has to be a heartbreaking fall from fame.

Viking: Wow. Us = geniuses?

Summit: Definitely. Without question.

Viking: This one is the best idea yet, and i thought we'd never top the 'phan craze.

Summit: I know, and this actually incorporates the 'phan craze, which is really the genius of it if you ask me.

Viking: Yeah, when the sordid details come out and people hear you've been abusing tryptophan, I mean that's hardcore. And it'll start the craze in high schools. And if we're really smart we'll be standing by with our own brand of the 'phan to peddle on the streets.

Summit: This goes way beyond just my life, this will change the cultural fabric of America. My art career might be in ruin, but we'll both be filthy rich.

Viking: Not to mention we get to disillusion people on art in general to a substantial degree. There's nothing about this plan that I don't love.

Summit: Good call, ruin art in the eyes of the general public, drag countless teenagers into 'phan addiction and make millions in the process. What's not to love?!

Viking: How come every one of our conversations turns into a brilliant yet extravagant way to make money?

Summit: Haha, because we're geniuses, and that's the inevitable outcome of two brilliant thinkers coming together.

Viking: Ah yes.


Je suis une ecole.

Proper French? Unsensical? It's art man, I don't have to explain it to you.

Best b-movie ever.

There's a lot of hubbub about Snakes on a Plane lately, how it is reviving the b-movie and ushering in a new era of moviemaking. Whatever. I may have just made that up. But last night I saw a movie that I had known about but never watched before. It was made by Tim Burton in 1996 and in my opinion is the prototypical b-movie: Mars Attacks!

I was stunned by many things about this movie. First thing, the cast. It's the ultimate six degrees film. Marcia asked me who was in it and I said, "Everybody. Everybody's in it." And that's not far off. Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Natalie Portman, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jack Black, Pam Grier, Jim Brown, Tom Jones, Danny DeVito, Michael J. Fox, just to name a few. The acting is superb. And by that, I don't mean good, I mean hilariously over-the-top. Such nuance and dedication, it's amazing to me that these good actors are so good that they pull off being bad actors so perfectly. Especially Pierce Brosnan. Wow.

The special effects are heralded on the back of the DVD as being state-of-the-art but they just look fake by today's standards. And this totally works. It makes the movie even more convincing. I just loved the fake aliens, the fake irridescent skeletons, all that. It was great. The plot is nearly non-existant. In keeping with b-movies, the title sums it up: Mars attacks. There are so many comedic scenes, it's hard to keep up. When the aliens show up at a Tom Jones concert and start blasting everyone, I laughed so hard I almost woke up Marcia.

I can't say enough good about this movie. Rent it, buy it, enjoy every cheesy second of it. I know I'm going to.


Matt Talbott.

Matt Talbott is the greatest lyricist of all time. Billy Corgan, Bob Dylan, Conor Oberst, they got nothin'. For those not in the know (in this case, just about everybody), Matt Talbott was the guitarist/singer of Hum, one of my top five bands of all time and certainly the most underrated band ever. The fact that "Downward is Heavenward" only sold 30,000 copies before Hum was dropped from their label is astounding. It's top three albums ever, easy. Anyway, I'm going to learn to write more cryptic, poetic lyrics to my songs in the hope that I can be awesome too. I even designed an album cover that unapologetically rips off Hum.

If you haven't listened to Hum, do it. Please. I beseech you. It's not often I beseech, but there it is.


Everyone's Hero.

This movie makes me more than a little sick. Nothing like some more east-coast sports indoctrination. Get 'em while they're young, that's the Yankees new motto apparently. I wonder if this rated G movie is going to mention how George Steinbrenner is ruining baseball. Probably not though. Pity.

I couldn't even finish watching the trailer. This whole thing stinks to high heaven.


Things I'm up on.

1. Highway message boards.
Ah, CDOT is up to its old tricks again, providing us with hip new phrases to add to our lexicon of coolness. They've had "click it or ticket" and the ever-popular "the heat is on". Now they've got a new one that they're posting on what I like to think is there own little blog, those light up highway message boards:


It's a perfect slogan, to be sure. Over what limit? The speed limit? Are they done with speeding tickets and they just throw you in the slammer now? What's going on? Ambiguity like this is what makes the message great. Plus the whole over/under thing. It's marvelous. My hat is off to you, CDOT copy writer. Once again you have proven your worth, by selecting the perfect five words. Kudos.

2. Koren Robinson
You are the man. Given twenty-four hours between Monday night's game and Tuesday night's return to Vikings training camp, you manage to get yourself arrested. In St. Peter. Now, I've also been pulled over in St. Peter, so I know the cops there are jerks. They really are. But didn't anyone warn you of this? It's kind of notorious.

Big ups for trying to outrun the police all the way to Mankato. If I were on the hook for a misdemeanor or two, I'd certainly try to up that to a felony as well. And choosing to run on highway 169, that was a stroke of genius. It's flat with no curves, that's the perfect place to make your daring escape.

Extra special big ups for falling off the wagon. You only have a lucrative football career to think about, and it's not like substance abuse has ever threatened to ruin that before. Besides, your contract is so laden with roster bonuses that being cut or suspended will only cost you most of your money, not all. You rule.

3. Rick Moranis
What's your favorite Rick Moranis movie? He's done a lot of classics. Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Little Shop of Horrors, Ghostbusters, My Blue Heaven, the Flintstones. But for my money, it's Spaceballs. Hands down. How can you pass up a movie where he says such unforgettable lines like

F@&#! Even in the future nothing works.

I knew it, I'm surrounded by a$$#(&#s. Keep firing a$$#(&#s!

1-2-3-4-5? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! It's the kind of combination an idiot would have on his luggage!

Here's my Ultimate Question of the Week (a new recurring feature hopefully): Who would win in a fistfight? Rick Moranis or Steve Gutenburg?


A bad night.

1. Killer bees.
Last night I'm walking through the park with my girl and my dog, and my dog gets stung on the nose by a bee. And while I'm standing there feeling sorry for her, I get stung on the back of the leg. The first sting I ever got (and the only other one in my life) was when I was seven and it didn't hurt all that much. This one, however, was very painful. And what's worse, it was completely unprovoked. So as a warning to all, I'm alerting you to the presence of a swarm of hyper-agressive killer bees in Palmer Park. Watch yourself, and be ready to run. Sasha picked up a second sting on her right rear leg. She was limping the rest of the night. It was very sad.

2. Migraines.
As if my sore, stung leg wasn't enough, I got a migraine. I can remember watching Terrell Davis carry the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory over the Packers in 1998 while suffering from a migraine, and sitting in my parents' family room I thought to myself, "Ok, dude's got a headache. Big deal." Then I got a migraine in February 2004, but I didn't know it was one when it was happening. It started as a big blind spot, which freaked me out because if I go blind there goes my career. Then I started forgetting things and not being able to understand words, which freaked me out because if I go stupid there goes my personality. Then I got a really really bad headache and had to go to bed, which freaked me out because if I can't watch CSI there goes my Thursday night. I had another one about six months ago, it was so bad I had to go home from work and couldn't be upright or open my eyes for a good three to four hours. This one last night was pretty bad, but I made it through. FYI, watching two episodes of "House" about incurable, unknown diseases while you're fighting off a migraine really doesn't do much for your self-image.

3. Sports radio.
This morning I turned on the radio and to my surprise Sports 1240 had changed formats to a bland, news-oriented talk show station. I'm furious now. Why the heck? There's already more of those than I can count. Heaven forbid we should have a national sports radio station in town. Angry angry angry.

So, in order to cheer both myself and yourself up on this gloomy day, let's watch some Japanese (at least I think so) contraptions.


Ok, ok. Calm down.

Read this first.

J.T. O'Sullivan should never play another snap in the NFL, preseason or otherwise. He is the worst Vikings backup I've ever seen. Worse than Bubby Brister, worse than Shaun Hill, worse than Sean Salisbury. It seemed appropriate that he wears number 9, as an homage to another terrible Vikings quarterback, Tommy Kramer.

But man can that defense play. I know we lost the game 16-13, but take back one play and the Raiders got almost nothing going on offense all night. The first string defense didn't give up a single first down. For the whole first quarter. The Vikes forces three turnovers in the game. I'm a happy camper.

The draft went ok. I think I did too much gambling in the early rounds, but made some quality steals in the later rounds. My roster, because you care so much:

QB Carson Palmer, CIN
RB Ronnie Brown, MIA
RB Reggie Bush, NO
WR Chris Chambers, MIA
WR Keenan McCardell, SD
TE Tony Gonzalez, KC
D/ST Steelers, PIT
K Neil Rackers, ARI

BN Chester Taylor, RB MIN
BN Andre Johnson, WR HOU
BN Philip Rivers, QB SD
BN Vernon Davis, TE SF
BN Eddie Kennison, WR KC
BN Redskins, D/ST WAS
BN LenDale White, RB TEN
BN Brandon Lloyd, WR WAS

In an unrelated sports note, I declare that Kansas City is the self-pity capital of the sports world. Name a city whose fans feel sorry for themselves. Kansas City is worse.


The machine starts up again.

The Crusade Against White Space has begun its second campaign. I've posted two new songs in the last week. One, entitled "Jimmy D's Got the Plan" is about everybody's favorite right-wing kook, James Dobson. The second is called "Indiscrete Flavored Candy" because it is a blatant and disappointing ripoff of Ratatat's awesome song "Cherry". I was playing around with that one. Anyway, enjoy if you choose.

Draft night tonight! I'm pumped for my fantasy football draft. It's at B-Dubs and there's a Vikings preseason game on ESPN at the same time. Highly loverly.


The new buzzword.

At the risk of this turning into a commercial-critiquing blog, I've got another doozy. It's important to note, though, that this is not a political commercial. Also, Jeff Crank lost the primary. I won't be mentioning him again.

So I'm watching the finale of Last Comic Standing last night (Josh Blue REALLY didn't impress me, surprisingly) when this commercial comes on for the local news. Come to think of it, there were dozens of commercials for the news, maybe their sales department is slacking too much. Anyhow, in the middle of the ad they used a word that blew my mind. They both said it and put it in print up on the screen.


As in "our coverage is hyper-local". I firmly believe that they need to fire their word guy. I can just see him sitting in his office, holding the memo from the higher-ups asking for a new word to depict just how amazingly local their coverage is. He's brainstorming out loud, going through a list like,

"Superlocal? No, too obvious. Uber-local? Too German. Local to tha maxx? Too hip. I've got it! Hyper-local!!!"

What exactly does this term mean? Am I going to see a report on the news something along the lines of, "The super fixed the hot tub for the fourth time this year at the XYZ apartment complex. Management says electric prices are to blame. And another domestic disturbance broke out between Billy Stationwagon and his live-in girlfriend Cindi Missingtooth. Police were on the scene and were able to resolve the conflict, but neighbors predict the tenuous peace won't last two weeks." Now THAT'S hyper-local. But as this is a big city, how long are they going to make the newscasts?

In the same commercial, they were harping on how when news happens, they react, not overreact. Baloney. The whole news industry is built on overreacting to scare people into continuing to watch the news. And they're saying, "that's everyone else, not us." Okay. But I think it would be refreshing to see a station embrace their overreaction. Sending reporters out on location to just run around like maniacs in front of the camera and eventually fall over. It would be great. Honesty and commitment like that would definitely garner my attention.

In other unrelated news, it's a great day to be a Twins fan. Paul, there's still plenty of room on the bandwagon. It's World Series or bust.


Things I'm down on.

1. Hand Sanitizer
How did we ever get along before this? You know why we're so afraid of germs today? Because of antibacterial stuff like this. I don't use hand sanitizer. It only makes the germs stronger. Eventually our hands are going to fall off. Stop it everyone.

2. Jeff Crank
He's at it again. Another campaign commercial, this one about the deficit. First off, no president of any party should have the line item veto. Second, and the thing that really flips my lid, is this quote at the end of the commercial: "Don't our children deserve better? Jeff Crank thinks so." Again, there's no hope for his opponents, who apparently hate children. Jeff Crank, anti-terrorism, pro-children. That's quite a stance to be making.

3. The Youth of America
Last night's Jeopardy was another episode of the college tournament. A category was, I kid you not, entitled "MC Trebek in the Hizzouse". Apparently the writers at Jeopardy are hip to the Ken Jennings satire vibe. Anyway, the point of the category was to name the artist from the lyric. There was Eminem, Nelly, Snoop Dogg. But the last two questions made me a little depressed. A paraphrased transcript:

Contestant: I'll take 'MC Trebek in the Hizzouse' for 1600.

Trebek: "Your mother busts in and says, 'What's that noise?' Momma's just jealous, it's..."


[buzzer sound]

Trebek: We were looking for The Beastie Boys.

Contestant: 'MC Trebek' for 2000.

Trebek: "Momma said knock you out..."


[buzzer sound]

Trebek: An old hit for LL Cool J.

The youth of America suck. Put up any lyric from any crappy song from the last five years and they'd all be clamoring to answer. But when did "Fight For Your Right to Party" stop being a timeless teenage classic? Who the heck doesn't know that one?!

I'm too angry. I gotta go.


My morning.

Normally I don't post twice in a day, but today's different.

Kids, make sure you read the label of your drugs before you take them. For instance, you need to know if knockoff Benadryl makes you drowsy. This is vital information. Yesterday I took one and it made me insanely tired for the afternoon. This morning I took one again, but knowing it made me drowsy I downed a couple cups of coffee to counteract it. This had some wonderful consequences.

My focus is outstanding. I zone in on something I'm doing, and huge chunks of time just fly by before I even realize it. I find myself listening to the Velvet Underground and yes, it's true, they are the only band you ever need to listen to. I feel lightheaded, but in a good way. When I pass someone in a hallway and they say, "How are you?" I just want to yell back, "I'm high as a kite, b!%*@ mutha#&@$a!!!" and run away screaming. It's the same kind of irrationality that makes me want to drop an f-bomb in front of my mother-in-law.

So to sum up: Benadryl good, especially with coffee, extra-specially if you haven't had any chemicals in your body in years.

The French. Dumb?

Tour de France
So Floyd Landis was busted for doping. Well that's perfect. No really, it's a perfect story. I'm not making any opinion on whether or not he's actually guilty, but let's run down the narrative:

The Tour de France is the biggest cycling race in the world. Cycling, a sport America couldn't give two hooping funts about, but France takes almost as seriously as soccer. So for seven years the race is dominated by an American, the almighty Lance. He doesn't race in any other races in Europe, just the biggest one, and he dominates it for a record seven straight years. Finally, Lance retires. France, and probably Europe as a collective, breathe a sigh of relief, believing they have their race back. Then another American comes in and wins, Floyd Landis. Mon dieu! Let's keep in mind that when Lance Armstrong was dominating, the French brought ludicrous doping allegations against him. Is it any surprise that Landis is being attacked in the same way? Maybe they wised up and found a way to tamper with the samples. Maybe Landis was a doper and they were just waiting like vultures to swoop in. Even waiting until after he won to bring up the doping allegations. All I'm saying is that something smells VERY bad over in France. And for once it's not the lack of hygiene.

Politicians and Signage
On the drive in to work this morning, there was a group of about eight people standing on the corner of a busy intersection holding signs to vote for so-and-so. Some of these were children of no more than ten. This struck me as being another thing that's wrong with campaigning. If you can look past the fact that people essentially buy candidates (and in turn whatever office they get elected to), and you can look past the fact that you need millions of dollars in advertising to be taken seriously as a candidate, and you can look past the fact that posting signs every twenty feet for a half mile on a highway does more for being elected than any stance on any issue you take, then how can you look past the fact that children are brought into the stumping process?

I'm of the opinion that anyone who uses a child to pull out votes is automatically someone I'm voting against. (Unless the child is especially bright and can actually give me good reasons to vote for their candidate.) It's like trusting someone without a driver's license to help you buy a new car. And as I'm sitting at this intersection watching these kids wave their signs at every car that goes by, I think to myself, "Well, maybe that's the candidate right there, and these are his kids." But I still have to be appalled. "Vote for my dad, because he's my dad." That doesn't fly. Every candidate is likely to be somebody's dad. I bite my thumb at the whole thing.

School Year Starting
I'm torn. My wife's school started the year today. August 7th. That's almost a month earlier than what it was when I was in elementary school. On the one hand, we're working our kids too hard. They get only two months of summer break? I don't have any numbers, but I'm sure kids are in school more days than they used to be. On the other hand, August sucks. It really does. I remember my summer breaks, and I was always ready to be done with it by mid-August. Maybe we're doing these kids a favor.

Paul Lukas writes a regular column for ESPN's Page 2 called UniWatch. It's a meticulous critique of any and all sports uniforms. You wouldn't believe how detailed it gets. Well, he's got a blog. I'm addicted.


Talkin' 'bout movies.

I saw Pirates of the Caribbean 2 last night at the drive-in theater in Pueblo. It's only the second good thing I've ever seen in Pueblo, the other being a surprisingly well-appointed library. The movie was OK. The first one set the bar pretty high, and though this one kept me entertained for the most part, it did seem to go over the top at points. Orlando Bloom still can't act his way out of a wet paper bag. I'd see it again, but I wouldn't pay for it. Being at the drive-in was great though. I don't go nearly enough. It's where real blue collar Americans come. I have this wonderful nostalgic vision in my head from forgotten ages past of a small town at dusk on a hot summer night. Cracked pavement, rusting cars, ugly neon lights. I got pretty close to that vision last night. I enjoyed it immensely.

One more unrelated movie note, about going to see The Break-Up last week. I absolutely hate those E! slides they have before the movie. They serve absolutely no point but to make me irate. There was one slide that was a quote from Cameron Diaz saying, "I love older men. Oh, my God. Totally." ... I wish I had just been kicked in the nuts instead. There was less than no redeeming quality about putting up a slide like that. Not only does E! make me sick (mostly because celebrity culture makes me sick), but it's like they choose the absolute dumbest quotes to put on these slides. It's like they're doing everything in their power to take away Americans' ability to think. Don't think, just buy. I personally don't care if Halle Berry always has to be different when it comes to fashion. I really don't. I think it's actually pretty sad to have that kind of restraint on your self-identity. But it's even sadder that by seeing that quote, many people have their own self-identity called into question. Am I different enough? Am I properly expressing who I am through the clothes I wear? Do I have anything in my wardrobe that somebody else has? I NEED NEW CLOTHES! Call me a cynical crank if you must, but you know I'm right.

You know I'm right.


Be healthy this month.

Three and a half years ago, some roommates of mine and I participated in a self-proclaimed Bowel Health Week. We committed to eat more fiber and keep track of our, um, movements. I didn't do so well but one of my roommates-- let's call him RM-- was so regular you could set your watch to him. I was jealous.

Flash forward to present day, and one of my coworkers-- let's call him PB-- has a habit up giving up something every month. (Could he give up giving up stuff for a month?) And for August, I'm giving up being unaware of my bowel health. So it's time for a self-proclaimed Bowel Health Month.

I'll be keeping track of things. Date, time, and a rating. The rating system will be from 1 to 5, 5 being the best. This subjective system will take into consideration size, odor, solidity, etc. And the beauty part is, at the end of the month I'll have lots of data to disect and analyze.

I urge you to also be healthy this month. See where you're at, and eat more fiber. Doctors say once a day is optimum. I'll update ustedes come the beginning of September.