Louis C.K. is the Radiohead of Comedy.

Okay, bear with me for a bit with this one. I know you’re saying, ‘Louis C.K. and Radiohead are nothing alike, what the hell are you talking about?’ Well, if you’d shut up for a second and let me explain, I’ll tell you what they have in common.  (Besides people who’ve never been in Cliff Claven’s kitchen.)

CAREERS:

Radiohead has arguably been the best band in the world for many moons now, and some sunsets, hurricanes, and late night awkward love-making sessions.

But people forget that they perfected their art over time. Although Radiohead was popular with Pablo Honey and the Bends, it wasn’t until their third album, OK Computer, that they reached the ‘holy shit, these guys must be aliens from the Planet of Melancholy Rock and although they’re depressing the shit out of me, I really like it’ realm of music-making and heart-tugging.

In the last few years, and especially since his totally original, totally amazing FX show Louie, Louis C.K. has been considered the top comedian in the game.

He’s climbed the mountain of jokes and stabbed his funny flag into the frozen carcasses of comedians who were mean to their Sherpas, so said Sherpas said, Let them die of a lack of audience laughter,’ and so they did, just abandoned them in the cold, and then Louis stabbed his funny flag into them. But it took him a couple of years (or, like, twenty) to get to the mountaintop.

I know, it’s a pretty tenuous connection. They both improved over time. Many artists share that similarity. Like, all of them. Anyway, I had to start somewhere.

Let’s just keep going…

SOULS:

Yes. Louis C.K. and Radiohead have the same soul. They share it, like a Brotherhood of Traveling Pants sort of thing.

It’s just when Louis is wearing it, it looks completely different then when Radiohead puts it on. But it’s the same pair of soul-pants.

If you’ll allow me…

From Creep

You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You’re so fucking special
But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

Now take those last two lines: What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here. Now picture Louis C.K. saying those two sentences. Picture his voice. His mannerisms. That look of confusion and disbelief he adopts when delivering a joke.

If you think about it, (but not too hard) it’s pretty much the punchline of 50% of his material. How awkward and out-of-place having a body in this crazy modern world feels. It’s confusing fucking shit being alive. Having desires. Emotions. All that. That’s the essence of Radiohead’s lyrics and Louis C.K’s humor.

The ending of the very first episode of Louie.

For those of you who don’t know how to use a link, Louie is on a date with a younger girl. It’s not going well. She’s not picking up anything he’s putting down — as we used to say in the 90’s. (I’m old)

They’re sitting out by the river and he finally snaps and tells her that he’s just not good on dates, but he’s a good father and that counts for something.  “Why am I trying to impress you? Why don’t you tell me about your goddamn life and try to impress me? Why aren’t you nervous to be with me?”

Louie then goes in for an uncoordinated, clumsy, cringe-inducing, super-caucasoidal (yes, I made that word up) attempt for a kiss only for the young girl to bolt suddenly for a helicopter that is waiting on the banks of the river, with its blades going, ready to lift the poor damsel away from the hideous monster that is Louie.

Of course, Louie (the character and comedian) is not a monster, but that’s how  he sees and portrays himself. For our laughter and enjoyment, of course. Thank you for that — for the record, Louis, if you’re wondering (I know you’re not), I bought your 5$ standup special on the Internet. I also paid $5 Internet bucks to Radiohead for In Rainbows. But that all comes later…

Dissatisfaction. Unease. Eternal Questioning. Modern Malaise. White Guilt. Loneliness. Nervousness. Despair. Vulnerability. Unleashed and Leashed Anger. Longing. Frustration. Confusion.

Louis C.K. and Radiohead specialize in the same themes, but in very different ways. Think about it (just slightly). Thom Yorke’s lyrics are an impressionistic collage of angst. Louie is a series of disconnected/sometimes connected vignettes about a neurotic divorcee who just can’t seem to find any comfort.

What I like about Radiohead, and what I noticed in Louie, is the ability for these artists to make a statement without words, by operating in empty space. The slight nervous ticks and silence that Louie often employs instead of dialogue. Just his looks and letting the awkwardness of a situation play out. Aaron Sorkin he is not. Sometimes a look is more than enough. And Radiohead has the ability to let the music speak when Thom Yorke isn’t. Kid A was a beautiful, fairly minimalist album.  Sometimes saying nothing is saying a lot.

And when it comes to love, they both come up empty.

Louie is constantly encountering situations where lonely people are emotionally intruding upon his personal space, or else he’s chasing women and they’re rejecting him. Either way, Louie never does find love. His universe just doesn’t allow it.

In the two-part episode ‘Louie’s Girlfriend,’ the first episode he’s in a bookstore and falls for a stunning, helpful young worker whom agrees to a date after a brazenly honest speech by Louie.

In the second episode we come to learn she’s a possible alcoholic/mental case who’s possibly pathological/suicidal.

It’s like the opposite of Yin and Yang — where nothing ever works out.

Shit and Slop.

But it’s not any sunnier on Radiohead’s island either. (Ah! That’s another one. They both live on islands. England and Manhattan… Okay, I know. I know. That’s stretching it. )

But think about it, name me a Radiohead song you would put on at a party.

Right. None. Unless it’s a heroin party.

Both Radiohead and Louie are total bummers. Entertaining bummers, but still brilliantly morbid and depressing.

For the life of me, I tried to recall one Radiohead love song and came up short. In fact, I googled RADIOHEAD LOVE SONG (in caps like that because I like to scream at the little hamster that works the Google wheel) to see what comes up and this was one of the top offerings: a good song, but certainly not one I’d play to get laid…

All I need from In Rainbows.

I am a moth
Who just wants to share your light
I’m just an insect
Trying to get out of the night

I only stick with you
Because there are no others

You are all I need.
I’m in the middle of your picture
Lying in the leaves

It’s all wrong
It’s all right
It’s all wrong

Blue Ball City with that one…

My point, however wandering, is that their creative leanings lean the same way, except their different crafts allow them to express the same things in vastly different ways. The frustration and loneliness of the modern world. Not connecting with the culture, other people. Being lost. Hopeless. Struggling with being human and afraid all the time.

And that’s pretty cool. Well, not all that sad stuff, but that you can see how a band and a comedian can ride the same train of thought, but on remarkably different tracks.

And that brings me to my last point.

INTERNET DISTRIBUTION:

Radiohead did it first. In 2007 they put their album In Rainbows on the Internet and said, ‘Pay us what you want. We don’t give a shit. We’re rich.’ (I’m paraphrasing) And guess what? They made plenty of money.

Like I said before, I paid five bucks for it. When you think about it, five bucks is the perfect price for an album… and a Subway 12-inch.

Then last year Louis C.K. filmed a standup special that he sold over the Internet for the magic price of five dolla’ also, and he, too, made plenty of cash.

They’re both sincere artists who care more about their art than the lucre. And completely respect their audience. And are trying to use their success to make their industries better. And have never been in my kitchen.

They do this by opening their souls and finding all the awkward, difficult parts and pulling them out for us to laugh at or be moved by. Both tender and crude.

Shit and Slop.

 

So yeah, if you look at Radiohead and you look at Louis C.K. and you look back at Radiohead, and you do this quickly a few times, back and forth, back and forth, and you squint a little bit, sniff some glue, stand on your head, and really use your imagination, you can see how Louis C.K is the Radiohead of Comedy.

I think so, at least.

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Holiday Parties And Why I Love My Job

Last night was my company Christmas party. It was held at the event deck at the brand-spanking new L.A Live. The event deck is basically a room in a tarp on top of the parking garage. Still, it was big and the music was loud and the spirits were grand.  I got festive for the occasion with a new belt and new slacks I bought earlier in the day. 

Considering it was for E Entertainment this wasn’t your typical egg nog-schmooze with the boss-photocopy your butt affair. There was  a huge dance floor, video games set up, the ladies were dressed to the nines, and the booze was freely flowing. My friend was gracious enough to drive,  so I could get appropriately sloshed, and afterwards we nightcapped at Pink’s – just down the street from my new place. It was a good night. A much needed bit of levity.

L.A Live is across from the Staples Center and the smoker’s patio looks across at the house where the Lakers have been smacking teams around this season. Strobelights flared around the sky, flashing off the tall glass buildings surrounding us and I have to admit that I dug the downtown vibe.

I know thanksgiving was last week but the party reminded me that I love working in this business. I’ve been to other Holiday parties which are stuffy, corporate affairs. One such borefest in previous years took place at the Ronald Reagan library. Gawd that was sleep-inducing. This party was like a giant club; but filled with everyone you know, and some you don’t but wouldn’t mind getting to know.

And the other day at work there was a debate about the exact cadence the Kool Aid Man delivers his “oh yeah”. We youtubed it to solve the argument.

Half the time I don’t even consider what I do work, it’s more like: trying to come up with jokes, watching a lot of sports, and ragging on each other in between. Reminds me a lot of being 22 and hanging out with my friends. But now I get paid to do it.

Life is good…

Now let me get back to it.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

I just finished reading Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death.

It’s a terrific and quick read. (Its brevity is actually quite ironic given the book is about how television has cheapened and maniplated public discourse – resulting in the political soundbite and the paper USA Today)

The book is over twenty years old but its theme is even more relevant today; basically, that we’re becoming a culture of individuals, molded by television’s mode of communication, that expect our Education, Religion, and Politics to be delivered quick and entertainingly, bite-sized and easily digestible; and without any need for exposition or context, causing a harmful deterioration in our modern public discourse.

It confirms many of my suspicions about the role television plays in how we process our lives.

And I couldn’t put it into words but I knew that T.V took away something deeply human in us.

Especially the news.

I’ve always found it odd that following a horrific report full of mayhem, murder, and death, the newscaster can seamlessly switch over to sports, or the weather, or a fuzzy piece about a cat stuck in a tree. This kind of juxtaposition of serious/alarming and trivial/amusing has to have some kind of consequence on the viewing public. It must lead to some kind of a desensitized populace, an audience that doesn’t ever truly grasp the images they are seeing — that’s the reason people are so fucked up.

Along comes Neil Postman to break it down.

We have become so accustomed to its discontinuities that we are no longer struck dumb, as any sane person would be, by a newscaster who having just reported that a nuclear war is inevitable goes on to say that he will be right back after this word from Burger King.

This kind of emotional pinball was really getting to me during Hurricane Katrina. I remember vividly the rage I felt when they went to a commercial for Brawny — seeing a housewife crying over a spilled cup of coffee, how her paper towels dissolved before her eyes trying to clean it up, then the Brawny man showing up to rescue her — meanwhile the residents of New Orleans were waiting out the commercial break on their rooftops with signs that said ‘help us’, as toxic, inflamed floodwater crept higher and higher.

Where the hell is the Brawny man when you really need him?

(By the way, I prefer 1970’s Brawny man to his modern day incarnation)

The news returned and the anchorman continued to a lighter story, with the same stolid countenance on his plastic, powdered face. I never did find out what happen to the people on the roof. I remember wondering at the time, does this guy ever have nightmares?

It is also of considerable help in maintaining a high level of unreality that the newscasters do not pause to grimace or shiver when they speak their prefaces or epilogs to their film clips. Indeed, many newscasters do not appear to grasp the meaning of what they are saying, and some hold to a fixed and ingratiating enthusiasm as they report on earthquakes, mass killings, and other disasters.

Is it even biologically possible for a newscaster to cry? Or were they born without tear ducts and thus fell into that line of work?

I ask these questions — knowing that the answer is irrelevant, that even should a newscaster be moved emotionally by a story, it’s his or her job to remain detachedly calm when delivering the details of said news story. My only point is to point out that the ‘news’ is not about supplying the populace with information, but with entertainment.

Think of the opening music to ABC’s Nightly News.

That dramatic score is meant to prepare you for the “seriousness” of what is to follow, however nothing is too serious to not take time out to sell paper towels.

When the half hour is over, we move on to Jeopardy, where information and knowledge as entertainment is never more obvious. The transition is subtle, but when you think about it Jeopardy proves that what you have just seen is rather unimportant to you, unless you happen to be one of the few unfortunate souls the news was about that night, otherwise, it’s merely the answer to a question in a game show one day.

There is no final essay, or oral exam, at the end of Jeopardy. No back and forth discussion of knowledge. It is knowledge merely for the sake of entertainment. No offense to Ken Jennings, who is brilliant and a fine writer, but Jeopardy is not a sign of genius, but of having a brain that’s a vessel for facts and trivia and the ability to recall them quickly.

But that’s fine, you might say, people are learning trivia and enjoying themselves at the end of the long day, what’s wrong with that?

Well, I would reply, it’s not Jeopardy that is the problem so much as it’s Jeopardy combined with the News and Sesame Street and Televangelism and the way our political campaigns are run that has a detrimental effect on us as a populace. It’s the whole chain of events that happens, starting with Saturday morning cartoons when we’re four and continuing on with each September sweeps. We’ve lost the ability to truly analyze the issues, to research policy differences, to spend more than two minutes on a subject before getting bored and moving on.

Neil Postman wrote this eye-opening book long before the emergence of ADD, but I wonder if he wouldn’t suppose that its correlation to the rise of television is no coincidence.

Television has certainly changed our behavior and our habits, perhaps it’s literaly changing our DNA too.

It’s something to think about, long and hard and quietly.

I notice its effect all the time when writing this blog. When I complete a lengthy paragraph, that should be one whole paragraph, I often try to find a way to break it up into two smaller paragraphs because I know a reader might take one look at it and flip to the next blog – perhaps Perez’s.

So yes, I’m a child of the 80’s and have the attention span of a rat; and I also know that my readers are children of the 80’s and 90’s and some have the attention span of a gnat, so I keep it reaaaal short. I’m sure many readers have already bailed on me by this point, so to those that have made it this far, I thank you and salute you.

It’s tough. There is always some distraction from reality, so much so that reality, now, is a distraction. It’s easier to go online and search for images of a mountain stream than to go camping. Techonology has replaced experience. We are a nation where the dad or the mom IMs the children to come to dinner, and where the children text their friends while watching Idol during it, and afterwards they all go to seperate rooms to watch their seperate LCD TVs.

We are our own jail keepers and get to chose the layout and furniture of our cages so we don’t really notice the bars.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

Amusing Ourselves to Death argues that our fascist state more closely mirrors A Brave New World than 1984. It’s hard to refute that premise.

Look around and all you see are Americans indulging in their ignorance, unable to pay attention to any one thing for any great period of time. (and yes, I’m speaking in the general, not for everybody)

Techonology is the soma in this story, as long as we have our fix we’re too busy using it to address any of the problems in Washington. We’re not going to cause any trouble when there’s the Web to surf, Wiis to play. We’re a culture that is so fast paced that we’re already on a different news cycle than when I started this essay an hour ago, how could any one ever expect us to address the more complex issues of the day? It’s much easier, and more entertaining, to show a car chase on the local news than which corporation is dumping what into the creek.

What is the solution?

I don’t know.

You can’t take the cheese out of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Kill your T.V?

Then you still have Youtube to deal with, which might even be worse than Television. Youtube doesn’t try to sell you paper towels; but on the other hand, Youtube is even more frivolous than T.V, and dangerously more immediate. And if you really wanted to, you could go and find a commercial for Brawny. In fact, here is a really creepy one.

What happens to us when we feel that amusement is always at our fingertips, only a click away? The Internet is an endless string of ‘what should we do next?’. The half hour sitcom is now just a 4 minute clip of Filipino prisoners dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. There’s always something else to look up, look at, or read.

If Neil Postman was around today, he would probably say something like: what we have to fear is not the rule of a Big Brother type government, but the corrosive, internal effect of the television show Big Brother.

Ironically, a show named after the book 1984 (although denied in the disclaimer) has more to do with A Brave New World than 1984.

We choose a form of mental self-imprisonment — preferring passive entertainment over deep, critical thought — so the government needn’t bother with any sinister mind control.

There are no minds left to control.

We need a giant awakening in this country, a splash of cold water thrown in the face of every American.

We can’t avoid the problems of the day just by turning the channel, in many ways that is the problem of the day. We need to turn off the T.V, the Internet, this blog… and go outside, read a book, sit and talk with a friend. We need to learn what it means to be human again, without the aid of simple distractions, flashing doo-hickeys. We must slow down and open our eyes more.

The world is going on around us and you don’t need HD to see it.

Now, carry on…

Moment Of Rehab: Jeff Conway’s Truth

I’ve been watching some T.V lately and I’m pretty deflated by what I’ve seen.

It makes me feel that — despite what Obama says — hope is futile. I want to give up. I feel like a sunbird trapped on the shadowside of the moon.

Maybe it’s the writer’s strike that got me in this prime time malaise.

Or maybe I’m an elitist snob, but it seems like our culture has slid from the crapper, further into a deep, underground sceptic abyss. We are spiralling downwards with flashy, quick MTV-style editing, becoming a culture of pop entertainment and segmented information — where your reality and interaction with the world can be tailored to fit your viewpoints and mind state. Fox News, anyone? Paradoxically, the more knowledge there is in the world and the easier it is to attain; the less of it we seem to seek, preferring a mode of ignorance that is uniquely American.

We use our brains only as a last resort, only at work. At home, we sit back on our Swedish couches and watch Bear Grills tear into a cold, raw trout with his teeth. Laugh at how disgusting it looks and hope to hell we never have to eat fish like that.

It might be possible that we’re getting dumber by the minute.

Anyone else think that The Moment of Truth is a cross between Maury Povich’s paternity test episodes and Deal or No Deal? The moral equivalent of mixing dog poo and leprosy, and about as entertaining and appealing. Maybe I’m overdoing it and the show is not as pestiferous as I paint it, but it is some kind of a sign that our culture is completely off its rocker.



America, in 2008, is in a weird state… at least T.V is.

We applaud people that destroy their families for money.

We pay the audience 65 dollars to sit and clap.

We watch at home because we’re too lazy to turn the channel.

You see, it follows American Idol, a juggernaut watched by millions of Americans that tune in for the inspirational journeys, those lovable contestants and their Hollywood dreams; but also for the sick, voyeuristic insight we plow from their tears — when they fail — that initial look of complete rejection when Simon tells them “I’m sorry, you’re just plain awful.” It teaches us a little something about the human spirit, the strength of dreams, and the will to persevere. Blah. Blah. Blah.

It makes me sick. So…

I change the channel. Because dammit! someone has to watch something besides Idol.

And there’s poor Jeff Conway. Rolling around rehab hollering at anyone who comes near him. I’m not sure if I feel bad for the guy or not — he’s obviously suffering — but there’s lots of drug addicts out there… not all of them act like complete dicks. Which brings up the question: is it an act? He seems to be getting some serious mileage out of the angry, unpredictable routine. First Celebrity Fit Club and now Celebrity Rehab. If Dr. Drew can’t work his Loveline magic, is he going to be the first corpse contestant on Celebrity Afterlife?

“This week on Celebrity Afterlife: We follow Jeff Conway to the third rung of hell where he bathes in an acid bath for one thousand years all the while bees sting his eyeball for every lie he ever told and his skin is ripped off in little strands for each time he yelled at the woman he loved. Don’t miss it!”

I don’t mean to step on the guy when he’s down but some things need to be said, plus, I’m sure he could care less what I write. But Jeff Conway is not a tragedy, it’s the millions of other addicts out there who aren’t getting paid for their misery. The ones that don’t have the cameras and the fame there with them, glorifying it. The ones that aren’t receiving royalties at the end of the struggle. The ones that aren’t putting on a show.

But forget T.V for a second.

I was at a party on Saturday and we were sharing stories, just silly stories, the kind you tell at parties, and I couldn’t help but notice that everyone had a lot of stories to tell. Tons. And they were all interesting. All of them better than 95% percent of the plots on sitcoms or dramas or anything on T.V. The absolute trick, and miracle, is getting people to share them.

We’ve lost the ability to tell our own stories — that’s why we watch Jeff’s.

Or perhaps, it was the other way around, who knows?

I’ve heard social commentators say that one day everyone will have a reality show about them.

We may be missing the cameras and editors and commercial breaks; but I say, if you really think about it… we already do.

Deconstructing Reality

I’ve been sunk in work up to my neck but I reached the end of back to back shows and for the first time in two weeks I’ve been able to indulge in some crappy television.

Reality TV.

The epitome of modern America culture.

The Idiocracy in effect.

I was sleep-deprived, overworked, eyes numbed by staring at scripts for 15 hours straight. My thoughts drifted in and out, and my hand was too tired to press the buttons on the remote.

Hogan Knows Best was on.

The whole family was disguised as white trash. Surely they must have grasped the irony of this.

Hulk was riding a Hoveround and had a scraggly fake beard and crappy fisherman hat. Brooke had her hair in an ugly wig with bulky glasses and fake zits. The mom likewise. Nick, ah, who cares?

They seemed to be conducting a social experiment of sorts, ala Tyra, and it looked to be going bad for them. Brooke complained of nobody gawking at her and taking pictures. The wife whined of not being allowed to cut in line at the hot dog counter. Hulk pretended to be a drunk and fall out of his handicap moving wheelchair do-hickey. It was like a moving M.C Escher painting.

This is America: White Trash watching White Trash acting White Trash.

Over on The Pickup Artist:

Mystery was putting it down.

His Zen-like approach to predatory dating is pure compelevision in action.

Forget his ridiculously tall, fuzzy hat, the fact that he wears goggles on his forehead and paints his nails black. The guy is a master, makes the ‘get the bunny’ philosophy from Swingers look like Kindergarten hour.

(This is why I love Wikipedia; while researching Mystery, I came to find out there are notable members of the ‘seduction community‘ — such as Neil Straus and Juggler — and one of the most famous techiniques being the ‘cocky and funny’. Real deep!)

Mystery’s sage advice has turned former nerds into Casanovas, apparently… they tell us. He deconstructs the art of macking to girls in clubs, it’s all in the mind… apparently. Mystery teaches us that confidence is appealing and supposedly women are easily guiled by psycho-babble.

Still, it’s better than watching Hulk’s stupid ass and his soul-sucking family act better than his fellow Americans, most of them probably his fans, mocking them for the cameras, the ratings, and the cash.

At the end of the show the Hulkster gave his family permission to whip off the wigs and peel off the makeup and strut around the park like imbecilic royalty. Brooke had her bleach blond hair flowing and teenage boys drooled because she’s on MTV and oiled down and the moral of the story was if you’re going to be vapid and spoiled it’s best to be famous.

The best part was when Brooke-in-disguise asked a boy if he thought Brooke Hogan-from-the-boob tube was fat, and the boy replied to her, “not really.” She grimaced, because even though she’s a touch daft, she gets that that means he thinks she’s kinda fat.

  • The Internet is chaos theory at work.

That was unexpected.

A Quick Trip to The Kwik-E-Mart in Burbank

Folks, it’s a strange sign of the times, and proof that capitalism is a whore that can blow itself, when a company that is mocked weekly by a television show agrees to transform their stores into the fictionalized one depicted by said television show.

Thus is the case this month of twelve 7-11 stores that have become Kwik-E-Marts.

Burbank, California. 3:30am. July 2nd.

There were three other customers inside, all of them with cameras snapping pictures. The workers were busy hauling in boxes from a truck into the store while talking about how busy, busy, busy, crazy, crazy tomorrow will be.

I saw Marge walking in.

From a business standpoint I admire their decision to have a little fun with it, and believe me, it will attract attention and business. One of the men was telling his co-workers that all the cameras are coming tomorrow, all day long, he said. I’m sure it will be on all the local newscasts. It’s right down the street from NBC and Extra. Can’t get anymore convenient than that. And the Simpsons fans will certainly flock.This and the Transformers in the same week. Nerds are squirting ectoplasma in their pants.

It really didn’t look like they went through much effort.

A new sign, a couple of plastic figures of the cast, renamed their slushee machine Squishee.

Still, it’s a nice example of two corporations coming together and saying ‘we have nothing to lose. You work with us and we’ll work with you and we’ll all make money. Money is good. People will literally eat it up.’

Plus the joke is old.

  • The fact that junk food is making America fat and slowly killing us.
  • That night clerks often get robbed at gunpoint by hardened criminals named Snake.
  • That immigrants have to deal with easily prejudiced populations and have to work hard at shit jobs to provide for their families, and in the process, often, love and appreciate America more than those born here sucking at the teet of the slurpee machine, excuse me, Squishee.

Everybody knows these obvious facts about 7-11, but we’re not going to change our habits. Where else will we go at 4 in the morning for a calling card, Superglue, and a gallon of milk when we’re in a hurry? How can we pass up that excellent savings of the Big Gulp? And nachos are gooood. That’s the real joke, and 7-11 gets it.

Oh look, there’s Homer double-fisting some hot dogs.

I tried to talk to the the man behind the counter, nametag read Golam. Another photographer in there told him he should sell his shirt on E-Bay. He kinda shrugged off the suggestion. I don’t think he realizes the potential, if I were him I would request a dozen more.

I noticed a security guard and asked Golam about it. He told me that they were expecting 600 people at a time tomorrow. I shook my head in disbelief then bought some milk that I needed and wondered if there was anything else to it.

The relabeling of a few products. A couple of rows of merchandise ready to be swooped up. A fancy new TV screen set up with Simpson trivia.

I really had to wonder what Golam thought of the whole enterprise. He seemed cheerful enough, hopefully he’s going to make a few extra bucks from the deal somehow. At the very least I hope he sells his shirt as memorabilia. Still, I wonder if he feels like he is being made into a human cartoon, like a Native-American in the old days paid to stand out front of businesses so tourists could take their picture.

Reminds me of a time I was catering weddings. The regular DJ had a routine at the end of the night. Some funny clips he would play. It was a pleasant wedding filled with very nice folks. I’m sure it didn’t cross his mind, and he certainly wasn’t intending any offense for he was one of the nicest persons I’ve ever met, but after all the music stopped right when the room grew quiet after hours of dancing and music and laughing, he played a sound clip of Apu saying ‘thank you, come again’.

Normally I wouldn’t have thought about it, but considering the wedding was 90% Indian I held my breath. I heard some chuckles but mostly it was silent. I’m not even sure the DJ caught what transpired as he does 2 or 3 weddings a weekend and the responses are always different. But I caught it, and it was a different ‘different’.

Thank you, come again.

Oh Apu, this just feels so wrong.

Two Videos for the Price of None

If you missed it, Jimmy Kimmel filmed his show from a bus this week. I don’t know why, it’s kinda corny, but I like seeing how you can make an enjoyable hour of television anywhere.

Here’s a great performance by Feist on one of those buses.

The Santa Monica Big Blue line, by the way.

If you didn’t enjoy that and you want something completely random and insulting, check out this talking lizard voiced by electro-pop weirdo Dad Deacon.

It’s video day at artofstarving. Yay!

Seahorses forever!