Category Archives: Self-Righteous Rants

Jay Leno and the Persistence of Mediocrity

There are times when I feel profoundly disconnected from humanity. Like, I operate on a completely different wavelength than the rest of the world. These moments tend to occur whenever I turn on the TV. Or read anything online. Or leave the house.

I realize this is an extremely childish and narcissistic POV. Everyone feels different–Free to Be You and Me taught me that. Well, that and the inherent creepiness of baby puppets.

But how am I supposed to feel, gentle reader, when I’m told that the entire world is all a-twitter at the news that Jay Leno will host a 10pm talk show, and I think to myself, Wow, Jay Leno still exists?

I mean, seriously, people are excited about this? No one has ever been excited by anything Jay Leno has ever done. I challenge you to convince me otherwise.

leno.jpgI still don’t understand how Jay Leno got to be Johnny Carson’s successor. Who let that happen? Shouldn’t that have been reviewed by the Council of Things That Make No Damn Sense?

Johnny Carson was witty and urbane, a gifted comedian and a master interviewer. No one has ever used any of those words to describe Jay Leno, except prefaced with the word “not”.

People still talk about sketches Johnny Carson used to do on The Tonight Show. You see clips of his most famous celebrity interviews on TV all the time. Jon Stewart imitates him at least once a night. He remains the gold standard by which all late night fare is judged.

You think they’ll sell “The Best of Jay Leno” DVDs some day? Nope, and you will never say this to your grandkids:

Back in my day, we all used to gather ’round the television and watch The Jay Leno Program. I still remember the time he found a midget version of himself! And the time Kevin Eubanks pretended to laugh at his monologue for the 8 millionth time! Oh, it was magic!

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Epic Fail: Lunch Edition

Today I ate the worst sandwich ever made. I am sure of it.

Sure, Turkish prison food is probably worse, if Midnight Express is any indication. I bet there’s some street food in Mumbai or Caracas that’ll make you doubt the existence of God. In a purely qualitatively way, this sandwich was not worse than these things, or any other filthy comparison you could conjure up.

This was the worst sandwich ever made in the way that Plan 9 from Outer Space and Manos: The Hands of Fate are the worst movies ever made. There are worse movies, but their failure is not compelling. Plan 9 and Manos fail in such grotesquely unique ways that you can’t help but watch the whole cinematic train wreck.

Ever head home really late after drinking too much, but by the time you get home you’re starting to sober up? So you decide wolf down some food before you go to bed so you won’t have too bad of a hangover the next morning? And while you’re waiting for a Hot Pocket to heat up in the microwave, you turn on HBO and they’re showing The Wicker Man? And you sit down and watch it, and you find out it’s even more insane in non-You Tube form?
So you stay up way, way too late, knowing you’re going to totally feel like shit at work the next day, because you just have to see how Nicolas Cage is gonna up the retard quotient in scene after scene?

If so, you will understand me when I say that this sandwich was so monstrously awful that I had to keep eating it.

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Three years ago, I used this space to rail against “The Little Drummer Boy.” It still ranks as my all-time most hated Christmas song, because it is an enormous steaming log of bullshit drenched in sticky-sweet sentimental syrup. It’s a holiday song for the same kind of people who believe in angels: they want something quasi-religious that doesn’t ask you to actually believe in anything (except kindly, poor drum-playing shepherds).

Two years ago, I took “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to task for being misguided, self-congratulatory, and ultimately mean spirited. “Thank god it’s them instead of you”?! Go fuck yourselves, British do-gooders.

Last year, I was too busy changing diapers to get too upset about Xmas music. This year, I don’t have any specific song to lambaste (although if you’re in that kinda mood, I recommend Patton Oswalt’s takedown of “Christmas Shoes”). [New site update 12.21.08: There used to be a video of this on YouTube, but it has sadly passed into the Intertubes Graveyard.] But there is a genre of Christmas songs I despise, one whose ranks have been swelling in recent years. If I could somehow give these songs to life, I would, just so I could give each of them a debilitating case of food poisoning.

I’m talking about the rocking and/or soulful Christmas song. I suppose there is no reason why a Christmas song can’t rock or have soul, although scientists have yet to confirm his hypothesis.

Continue reading Bah Humbug ’07! AND THERE WERE SQUIRRELS

The Quare Fellows

Hey, it’s time for my annual anti-St. Patrick’s Day rant!

I actually didn’t want to write anything on the subject this year. Having just returned from the Emerald Isle, I’ve had enough of pubs and shamrocks and whatnot for a while. And I really wanted to move forward with the recounting of my trip overseas. Then I heard this:

“In the Irish Times interview, [NY St. Patrick’s parade chairman John] Dunleavy said, ‘If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you allow Neo-Nazis into their parade? If African Americans are marching in Harlem, do they have to let the Ku Klux Klan into their parade?'”

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At Home He Feels Like a Tourist

I’m sorry Florida, I can’t front no more. I straight up hate you. I feel like I’ve been to enough of you, over a sufficiently long period of time, to be able to make that statement. Granted, I haven’t been to Miami, which I imagine has its own thing going on–a random person said to The Wife the other day, “I wasn’t born in America, I was born in Miami.” But me and Florida ain’t grabbing a beer together any time soon.

I had to go down to Boca Raton for bidness, which in itself was okay. The folks I dealt with were extremely nice, the working environment was pleasant, no complaints there. And even though I’m not a warm climate person, around this time of year I can appreciate the allure of 80-degree weather.

But here’s the thing: Florida has zero local culture of its own. None. Everything is a strip mall, everything is a chain store, everyone drives on horribly cluttered highways to get to and from work. Everyone lives in a pseudo-Caribbean-looking Miami Vice-colored faux terracotta condo. Everyone shops in places that look the same. It’s Everywhere, USA, except for palm trees, hurricanes, and highway snipers.

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