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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wednesday Morning Music: The Walkmen - "In the New Year"

What better antidote to a week at the doomsayer's ball than The Walkmen's tremendous new open letter to all who've lost hope, "In the New Year." Feeling a little down in the mouth? Try this fucker out:



They lyrics are desperate but hopeful, foolishly naive, a little pathetic, and they're relentlessly compelled to the revelation that life is defined by your response to a seemingly endless string of disappointments--the revelation that hopefully caps off adolescence--by the driving, dissonant guitar strum, the gigantic drums, and the warbling, confident vocal performance. God, this is a good song. Damn right, I'm still alive.

Favorite lyrics:

"I know that its true--its gonna be a good year
Out of the darkness and into the fire" Read the rest of this article.

Talkin' Politics: Volume 2

We checked in with GEP political correspondent Jordan Beall and asked him about the first debate, the state of our economy, and Paris Hilton's BFF.

Matt: So, who won the debate?

Jordan: Some people thought McCain won. Others thought Obama won. But the real winner was the American people :)

Actually it was a tie. Browsing both liberal and conservative sites they would say their guy won, but both added "needs to do better next time." Both candidates played it safe for the most part. The consensus is that Obama was at his best during the first half of the debate when the topic was the economy and McCain won the second half of the debate when it was about national security.

Since neither one trounced the other, fake outrage has been drawn up. Republicans cite that Obama said he agreed with McCain 11 times during the debate and that he always referred to McCain as just John and never Senator. Meanwhile, Democrats are mad that McCain rarely ever looked at Obama while speaking and body language experts are trying to read his facial expressions to see if he was snubbing Obama.

M: I actually didn't get to watch all of the debate. The wife and I were out with some friends at a local eatery. It was on, but the only thing I could hear was McCain whistling. What was up with that? Did he not put his dentures in correctly? Did he possibly break a tooth on a candy apple?

J: Midway through the debate McCain started whistling a song he once heard his great-great granddaughter singing back in 1932. Obama's rebuttal consisted of a improv rap called "Bush is a Gangsta." The moderator, Jim Leeher, sounded the bell and started the next round of questioning about Iraqi national security.

M: OK, pretend for a moment that I am a simpleton, an idiot, a drooling manchild with a questionable IQ and poor dental hygiene--not quite Simple Jack, not full on Forrest Gump, but, like, kind of dopey. Explain this whole economic crisis to me.

J: Well it's very complicated. It's no surprise that Americans live in debt. Instead of cash many of us live off credit. The average American household carrys about $8,000 in credit card debt. About 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year, and personal bankruptcies have doubled in the past decade.

So for a long time now banks and other financial institutions have been giving out loans to people who couldn't afford to pay them back, particularly loans to buy houses.

The most common problem has been with banks giving home loans to low income people who really couldn't afford to pay them back. And eventually all these bad loans came to the surface at the same time creating trillions of dollars of more bad debt. Banks lose the money, they get the deed to the house, but the country is also in a housing crisis - there are more houses on the market for sale than people willing to buy them, so the value of the homes nationwide are dropping as are mortgage-backed securities. So the banks are stuck with lots of worthless paper they can't unload.

On top of that we have a process called securitization, where a bank or lender can sell the rights of the mortgage payments and risk to a private investor. But so many bad loans with high risk were traded around that the market as a whole is getting hurt, not just big banks and mortgage companies.

Also we have seen a rise in the country's unemployment rate and a rise worldwide in oil prices which caused the prices of everything else to go up.

Some people blame the gov't oversight agencies for not keeping their eye on these loans happening or at the government for not giving them the authority to regulate these loans. Some point to laws passed in the 90s that made it easier for low income people to get loans...

M: Whoa, whoa, whoa--sum it up in three words.

J: Bad-Loans-Suck (Hard)

M: If the economic crisis was a sound, what would that sound be?

J: The sound would be like a huge tornado swirling around.

M: So, whoosh, maybe? Like, a continuous whoosh-whoosh-whoosh?

J: Yeah, like a whirlwind of crashing and banging with some light crying in the background and an elderly woman yelling "Skeetor! The tornada' knocked over my trailer!"

M: The premiere of Paris Hilton Is My New BFF is tonight and I wondered if all the candidates-presidential and vice presidential--appeared on this show, who'd go away claiming Ms. Hilton as their BFF?

J: I think that Paris would probably pick Barack Obama as her BFF. Her parents are McCain supporters, but after his campaign ran a TV ad that mocked Obama as a celebrity and featured Paris in it, her mom was very upset and asked for their contribution back. Paris may still hold some disdain for McCain for that reason. Also he and Biden are like crazy old. And Biden's had two brain aneurysms so she may think he's going to die on her.

Sarah Palin is probably too old fashioned for Paris. Probably too much like one of her mom's friends. So in the end she'd pick Obama although I don't know how much he'd like to be associated with her.

(Check out Jordan's personal blog for more political coverage, including this shocking-yet-not-shocking interview with rapping-dumbass DMX.)

Read the rest of this article.

From the Editor's Desk

October is nigh and Giant Electric Penguin has a treat in store for all of our loyal readers. Wednesday afternoon we will debut an October feature so frightening it will scare you out of your pants and then make you shit the new pair of pants you've put on following jumping out of the original pair of pants. Starting October 1st, GEP presents

31 Days of Horror

Every day in the month of October we will showcase a different horror film guaranteed to turn you into a quivering mass of human jelly, sucking your thumb and begging for your mommy. Beware, friends, some of these films have pushed our staff to the very brink of insanity and, in a few cases, to the cusp (there's a difference!).

Tomorrow we begin, so make peace with your God now because once we start down this dark path of evil there's no turning back. There will, however, be bathroom breaks and the occasional snack.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Read the rest of this article.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What the WTF?!

It's finally Autumn and you know what that means: outdoor family actitvities! And what better Fall activity is there then bundling up the kids and driving them out to a good ole fashioned corn maze? Yeeee-doggies! Good times! Parents, toddlers, and horny teens in Utah are especially lucky because Utah has a corn maze in the shape of American Idol runner-up David Archuleta!
Corn Maze Archuleta looks kind of like Corey Haim or a creepy old man trying to pass himself off as a hip young dude--which I guess is the same thing. And sorry, Utah, but you can't pull the whole Not My Idol thing. David Cook is every American's idol and the sooner you get that in your tiny Mormon brains the better. You don't see me going around calling Clay Aiken my American Idol just because I live in Raleigh, do you? It's a lie and an affront to that fat, sweaty guy who actually won, what's his name, Ruben something. Read the rest of this article.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ghost Town

What do you get when you mix The Sixth Sense with any light-hearted romantic comedy? You get the 1993 Robert Downey Jr. film Heart and Souls, of course. Now, change the title to Ghost Town and put The Office's Ricky Gervais in the role of "guy who can see ghosts and helps them with unfinished business." Now make the character a crabby, misanthropic dentist and what do you have now? Right. Ghost Town.

Of course, as we all know, Ricky Gervais is a comic genius. His performance, along with the fantastic performances of his fellow leads Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear, elevate this haunted romcom to acceptable levels, making it almost worth the $9.50 you spent on a ticket and the $15.00 you spent on a small children's popcorn and a seniors Mr. Pibb.

Ghost Town is the unoriginal story of Bertram Pincus, a dentist who not only hates crowds, but hates each individual in a crowd. He's dismissive with his co-workers, rude to his fellow tenants, and openly insulting to the doctor who is about to perform his colonoscopy. I think Aasif Mandvi's character puts it best describing Pincus as simply a "fucking prick."

During the aforementioned medical procedure, Pincus dies for seven minutes, which the hospital fails to inform him about until after he begins having conversations with ghosts, ghosts who are ecstatic that they've found a mortal who can see them and help them go about finishing up the business that is keeping them tied to the living world. Of course, Pincus has no interest in helping them. Turns out he hates the dead just as much as the living.

Among the gaggle of spirits vying for Bertram's attention are the ghost of a Mafia hitman, three dead construction workers, a ghost best described as Naked Gay Ghost, and Frank Herlihy, a tuxedo-wearing ghost we watch get splattered by a bus before the opening credits. Herlihy wants Pincus to break up the upcoming wedding between his widow and a global do-gooder he thinks is out for her money. It is decided that the best way to disrupt these nuptials is to make Gwen, the wife, fall in love with Pincus, the prick.

If you've seen a romantic comedy you know what happens next, so I won't insult your intelligence. What I will tell you is that Ghost Town is funny and sweet, a cut above the usual date night tripe Hollywood clogs the local multiplex with, films that make boyfriends shiver with fear and loathing. The film is far from original, but Ricky Gervais keeps it hilarious and interesting.

GEP's Grade: B+
Read the rest of this article.

Wednesday Music Bonus: Ryan Adams Playing with Stuffed Animals

No, that's not the title of a song; it's a description of what ol' bed head's doing in his latest video on vimeo. See for yourself here. (password = classic)

Ostensibly some of Ryan's dolls are secretly uploading a new song ("Crossed-out Name") that Ryan had performed earlier but wasn't confident enough to share. I'm not sure what's actually going on, but I'm pretty sure stuffed animals can't talk. The song itself isn't bad, but it doesn't really make me want to run out and buy the upcoming Cardinology album.

After logging in, you can also see a video of Ryan performing a song called "Writin' the Hits" that will remind you of that guy who lived down the hall in your dorm who was constantly making up songs he thought were hilarious but were really only slightly amusing at first and then became extremely annoying until finally you had to throw a Jones Soda bottle at him to make him stop and it ended up breaking his guitar which you had to pay for and that really sucked--except this time it's on video. You got to check it out if only to see his facial expressions, which do nothing to dispel the notion that he's got his hands on some reverse aging pills. The man acts like a 15 year old.

Long live Ryan Adams. Read the rest of this article.

Wednesday Morning Music: Shakira Featuring Danzig - "Hips Don't Lie"

Ok, this is silly--profoundly, ridiculously, obscenely silly, but I'm kind of in love with it. Danzig's lyrics are dumb, but not much dumber than the original lyrics, the editing is inspired, and then there's the hips. Heck, it's even closed captioned for the Danzig impaired! Shit! Watch it!




Favorite Lyrics:

Shakira - Mira en Barranquilla se baila así, say it!

Danzig - I have no idea what she said!!!!



No fighting. Read the rest of this article.

Breaking Non-News

Following Clay Aiken's brave choice to announce that he is a homosexual--a fact everyone on Earth has been aware of since he first graced the American Idol stage way back in Season 2--several other celebrities have decided to come out and share their own secrets with the unsuspecting public. Here's a look at some People cover stories we'll be seeing in the near future:

*Hollywood Tough Guy Samuel L. Jackson: Yes, I'm Black.

*Socialite Jizz Jar Paris Hilton: Yes, I'm Stupid.

*Silver Screen Icon Marlon Brando: Yes, I'm Dead.

*King of Pop Michael Jackson: Yes, I Have a Weird Looking Face.

*Presidential Hopeful John McCain: Yes, I'm Extremely Old.

*Freshly Cut Front Lawn Grass: Yes, I'm Green. Read the rest of this article.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What the WTF?!: Two for Tuesday

According to an article on CNN.com, things are getting so bad in the Arctic, some polar bears have resorted to cannibalism to survive.  It's all because of a lack of sea ice.  When the sea ice disappears, the polar bears habitat goes with it, resulting in starvation, drowning, and the polar bears turning on their own kind for food.  Lack of sea ice also means bad things on the horizon for mankind, but I guess until we start eating one another there's really no reason to give a shit. God, I hate us sometimes.

WE GOTTA STOP THESE BEARS FROM EATING EACH OTHER, PEOPLE!  My wife loves polar bears.  Do you know how devastated she'd be if they all ate each other and ceased to be? I'll tell you: pretty fucking devastated!  I don't know what we can do, but as soon as scientists clue me in, I'll let you know on this very blog.

In other news, David Blaine is hanging upside down in Central Park. He plans to stay this way for 60 hours, risking blindness and death for the amusement of a nation.  One question though: is anyone actually amused?  Does anybody out there actually give a shit about David Blaine anymore?  I mean, he's not doing anything magical.  He's hanging upside down like a sleeping fruit bat.  He is risking his precious eyesight for a live television special tomorrow night on ABC (be there...or don't..I don't care).  The whole "magic trick" ends in something called "the dive of death" which will probably prove to be extremely dull. Remember when he held his breath underwater for three days or whatever it was?  He was supposed to stay underwater for an extended period of time and then free himself from shackles, a straight jacket, and a rope made of rusty barbed wire and used hypodermic needles.  He failed and had to be rescued by paramedics who used a their own special brand of magic to revive him.  What will be the next amazing feat you perform that I will completely ignore, Mr. Blaine?  I can hardly wait to not find out.

Now here's a real magic trick...sorta: 
Read the rest of this article.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What the WTF?!

Good news, kids, Michelle Rodriguez is writing a movie for ya! Rodriguez describes the film as "Jumanji meets The Goonies" and apparently it's got an environmental twist.

"It's a 2012 story about purity and animals and children. The premise behind it is all the animals on earth freak out and start attacking anything that's not pure because of a seance that occurred in the rainforest after it's depletion in 2012. It becomes cataclysmic."

Wait. That doesn't sound like a cross between Jumanji and The Goonies. That just sounds terrible! How do the animals know what is pure and what isn't? And what does "pure" even mean in this movie? Is every animal on Earth pure? If there's an impure animal, can he just kill himself or must he wait until a band of other crazed animals attack him? And who performed this seance in the rainforest? Animals? Children? The rainforest itself? And why 2012? Why not 3000? 2013? Will there be a group of likable poor kids exploring underground caverns, searching for pirate treasure, and befriending a hideously deformed, profoundly-retarded man?

Here are some ideas Ms. Rodriquez abandoned in the brainstorming stages:

*Ghostbusters meets Driving Miss Daisy with an anti-fur message.

*I Am Sam meets You Got Served set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

*Norbit meets Taxi Driver with a snowboarding race at the end.

Read the rest of this article.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Morning Music: Ben Folds (featuring Regina Spektor) - "You Don't Know Me"

Maybe it's just the fact that Tim and Eric directed the video, but this is the most interesting song I've heard form Ben Folds in quite a while (since "Annie Waits" at the very least). Does this mean Way Too Normal (out 9/30) will be a return to form? I DON'T KNOW. Does it make me want to see the reunited BFF play The The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner live all the way through begining to end? Yes. But I can't. And neither can you (probably). It sold out. In 3 hours.

You Dont Know Me (featuring Regina Spektor)



Favorite Lyrics:

"Why the fuck would you want me back?
Baby, it's because...
You don't know me at all." Read the rest of this article.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stop Already presents Try Harder!

Entourage is like a worn-in pair of Old Navy jeans that may be fraying at the bottom and have holes in the knees, but provide the wearer with comfort and familiarity. And that's nice. That's what I want from my jeans. And that's what I've come to expect from Entourage. They're not breaking any new ground over there, but it still elicits a chuckle now and again. Do I want more from the show? Yes, I do, but I'll accept what they're giving me for now because it's familiar.

But...

I do have a problem with Turtle. I mean, he's a pervert, but he's a likable one. He's pudgy and cute, I guess, but what do we really know about him other than he smokes lots of pot, watches a lot of hardcore pornography (sometimes in the car), and only gets laid because he's a childhood friend of Vincent Chase? What else does he do? OK, he drives the titular entourage around town, but wasn't he also managing an up and coming rap artist at some point? What happened to that? He's back to being fat, lazy, and greedy, and that's not the Turtle for me. No thank you, sir.

To be fair, Eric is really the only character who has made any progression since the show started. I'd argue that he's the most interesting character for that reason. He's not the funniest, I mean, I doubt you find many people quoting their favorite Eric zingers around the water cooler on Monday morning (if people actually trade zingers they hear on TV around a water cooler anyway--we don't even have a water cooler in our office), but he's the only character to experience any development, unless you count Vince's decision in the last episode to actively sell-out.

Apart from Eric, who do we got? Johnny Drama? He's always been stupid, but he must have hit his head on the set of Five Points because he's damn near retarded this season. His schtick is growing tired. Unfortunately I read an article recently that said the current season will focus a lot on Drama and his climb back to the top. Ugh.

Who else? There's Ari Gold, played by the great Jeremy Piven. He's funny, but I get it now.

Then there's Vince, who may have made a turn last episode, so I won't lay into him too hard. I still can't imagine him playing a superhero though. I also can't imagine a world in which Aquaman is the highest grossing film of all time, but that's a personal problem.

But while I have my qualms about everyone on the show, it's Turtle who sits there like a tubby lump, a soul-less, sex-crazed, foul-mouthed, pot-smoking cardboard cut-out of a frat reject. Give Turtle a purpose, Doug Ellin. Help the little guy progress to manhood, strive for something better than just following Vince around and spending all his money on hand-painted shoes and weed. Please, Mr. Ellin, for Turtle's sake

TRY HARDER!
Read the rest of this article.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad News

David Foster Wallace was found dead last Friday of apparent suicide. That pretty much sucks.
Read the rest of this article.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stabler-Watch: Gym Teacher: The Movie

When someone asks my choice for best actor of all time, I don't go the obvious route. It's easy to throw out names like De Niro or Pacino or Keanu. But I've never liked easy (unless we're talking about mathematics or video games), I don't subscribe to the hackneyed choices of my forefathers. I go with a man so versatile, he has mastered both the worlds of drama and comedy, giving flawless, memorable performances in both genres for almost two decades. On NBC's hit series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit he plays Detective Elliot Stabler, a no-nonsense tough guy with a soft spot in his heart for children and absolutely no qualms about doing whatever it takes to bust a perp. In the movie Wet Hot American Summer he played Gene, the Vietnam burn-out and head cook at Camp Towanda, a man who fondles his sweaters, humps fridges, and learns life lessons from a talking can of mixed vegetables. He also played a psychotic bi-sexual on Oz where I've been told he introduced America to his penis.

I'm talking, of course, about the great Christopher Meloni, a man I admire so much, I've given him his own GEP feature, simply titled STABLER-WATCH. Whenever the need arises, STABLER-WATCH will inform you, our loyal readers, what Christopher Meloni is up to and why you should drop everything you are doing and take heed.

Last night, Gym Teacher: The Movie premiered on Nickelodeon (it plays again tonight at 8 PM). The film stars Meloni as failed Olympic gymnast, Dave Stewie, who has become a gym teacher at Hamm Lake Middle School (home of the Fighting Hams--their mascot is a giant ham wearing a pineapple ring halo) and is given a second chance at glory when he enters his eighth grade gym class into the first annual Gym Teacher of the Year Competition. Unfortunately, Roland Waffle, a new student whose mother forces him to wear a helmet at all times, has just joined the class, and Stewie fears his participation will lead to another embarrassing defeat and another missed opportunity to appear on a box of Wheaties.

Initially, the desperate PE instructor attempts to get Waffle expelled by planting pirated DVD's in his locker. When Stewie realizes Waffle is the son of the school's new English teacher and the object of his awkward desires, he decides instead to privately train Roland in the delicate art of rope climbing after school, keeping it a secret from Waffle's overprotective mother. In the end, the Hams make it to the national finals, Roland's mother discovers her son's deception and takes him home, Stewie shoves club sandwiches in his pockets and gets comically drunk on protein shakes, Roland returns, lessons are learned, Stewie faces his fears, Bruce Jenner shows up, etc.

The premise of Gym Teacher is ridiculous, but what else would you expect from the studio that brought you Good Burger and Snow Day? It isn't the premise that makes Gym Teacher so enjoyable, it's the characters. In a sense, it's a kid-friendly version of the classic Strangers With Candy, which isn't much of surprise seeing that Gym Teacher was directed by Paul Dinello and co-stars Amy Sedaris as Principal Abby Hofmann and Dinello as an inept shop teacher. And don't take my use of the phrase kid-friendly the wrong way--this is a family comedy with an edge. The kids are funny, especially Nathan Kress as Roland Waffle, a character that could have easily been your typical helmeted spazz without Kress' charm and wit. He holds his own in his scenes with Meloni, who is at his most delightfully silly. Dave Stewie is a conflicted man. He wants to win no matter what, wants to redeem himself for his Olympic-sized screw up, a blooper we see on a cable sports program (hosted by a coked up Chris Kattan) at the beginning of the film. But, like Elliot Stabler, he loves children and wants nothing more than to see them succeed and learn to work as a team. He's a lovable oddball who learns a valuable lesson about facing your fears and being proud of who you are, be it an Olympic champion or a man who wears fitted shorts to work everyday.

Read the rest of this article.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Steve Wilkos is willing to help, but you're going to have to do some yelling

This evening as I was changing from my work clothes into something a little more casual, I happened to catch a commercial for the new season of the Steve Wilkos Show. If you are not familiar with Steve Wilkos, he's the large bald gentleman who used to keep overweight redneck women from killing each other on the Jerry Springer Show. Whenever things got heated--like when a toothless guy wearing nothing but overalls and a mullet jumped off the stage to beat down a snarky audience member or a midget transsexual dashed across the stage to bitch-slap the meth-addicted former call girl she just found was providing oral sex for the Amish boyfriend she hadn't yet informed about the balls in her underpants--Steve was there to cool shit down.

Now he's got his own show. Finally, Steve can tackle the issues he holds close to his heart. He doesn't have to play second fiddle to that Springer guy anymore. Steve can finally make a difference all by himself.

One scene in the commercial really struck me though, gave me a taste of tender loving care Steve Wilkos style. Wilkos and a woman are in a dingy hotel room together. The woman is probably in her mid-thirties, but looks fifty plus. She is thin and haggard, her eyes empty as if her spirit has been broken and spat upon so many times she's finally given up and come to terms with her imminent demise. She is seated on the cum-spattered bedspread, her mascara running down her face making her look like a sad strung out raccoon. Steve stands over her like a golden god of strength, a bulky bald refuge of peace and love. They exchange the following words:

Wilkos: (a little too forceful) Do you want me to help you?
Woman: Yes.
Wilkos (furiously, red-faced) DO YOU WANT ME TO HELP YOU!!!!!
Woman: (equally gruff, a little confused) YEEEEESSSSSS!!!

As soon as she was ready to join Steve on his level (overly dramatic, comically angry, clearly insane), Steve was ready to lend a hand. God, I wish I knew what he was helping her do.

When Steve isn't yelling at elderly drug addicts, he's threatening child abusers:


Now, granted, child abuse is never funny (even when it's Robin Williams committing the abuse), but this television spot is a riot. Why? Because it is so obviously bullshit. I've seen better acting in community theater and I've got front row tickets to the Goldsboro Playhouse's fall season, so I know what I'm talking about. Steve is not an actor (clearly) and the guy who twisted his baby's legs? Take a look at 0:06. What's he doing? What did the director say, "Ok, guy, act like a five year old whose just been caught stealing cookies before dinner." Ridiculous, unless by "special kind of monster" they mean a retarded monster.

Also, Steve, you are no Elliot Stabler, so stop trying:


I had the pleasure of seeing an episode of the Steve Wilkos Show sometime last year. In the episode he got so annoyed with his guest he decided to take the guest's chair. Told the guy to stand up, said "You know what, you don't get a chair," and continued the interview (i.e. relentless verbal assault). One thing is for damn sure, when Steve Wilkos is mad, for the love of God, keep him away from chairs.

Read the rest of this article.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Martyr

Coming soon to a theater in this guy's dreams.

Is it too early to start making Oscar predictions? Read the rest of this article.

Stop Already: Oprah, Oprah, Oprah

You know what? I'm tired of hearing about what Oprah's doing. Oprah won't have Sarah Palin on her show! Oprah is endorsing Obama! Oprah cried her eyelashes off at the Democratic National Convention! A young lady was physically abused at Oprah's all-girl's school in Africa! Oprah took a dump the size of the Hindenburg! Oprah! Oprah! Futhermucking Oprah!

Now, I'm not one of those Oprah haters. A lot of people (i.e. stand up comedians, Conserative talk show hosts, that clearly psychotic administrative assistant who keeps to himself in the break room) think Oprah is evil and should be stopped at all costs. They want nothing more than to declare open war on Oprah Winfrey and everything she stands for. To those people, I say, Oprah gives away cars. Evil? I think not.

Without a doubt, Oprah has done a lot of good in her time on this planet so far:

1. She got people interested in books again. I've read several of Oprah's personal choices (Middlesex, The Road, She's Come Undone) and enjoyed them very much. To be fair though, it really wasn't Oprah's name on the cover that piqued my interest, but it probably worked on other people (your mom).

2. She gave the world Dr. Phil. Love him or hate him,
Dr. Phil exists, so you better get used to it. Forget the fact that he's not technically licensed to practice psychology anywhere and in 1989 was sanctioned for unethical behavior: he tells it like it is, man. You don't need no fancy license to tell the truth, do you? If life was fair, everyone on the planet would be given the chance to host their own Dr. Phil-style program on TV. The man simply imparts common sense life lessons to his supremely fucked-up guests and then offers to get them professional help and pay for it. Dr. Phil was friends with Oprah, so he has a show, now in its sixth season. I am not currently tight with Oprah, so I do whatever it is I do everyday not on TV.

3. She made it possible for
250 students from around the country to complete their college education. That's totally nice, c'mon!

4. She gives away free shit. Have you ever seen one of those Oprah's Favorite Things shows? Those bitches go nuts!

5. She exposed Tom Cruise's insanity to the world. For that she should win a Medal of Freedom.

So, Oprah, the person, is not so bad. What's crisping my hashbrowns is having to hear about what she's doing every second of every day over the last few weeks. She's not having Sarah Palin on her show? Who gives a shit? She's not having any of the political candidates on her show until the election is over. I know the media so desperately wants to turn this story into a Republicans versus Democrats Pay-Per-View Smackdown, but it's not one, so shut up! And I'm glad Oprah got emotional at the DNC, but a lot of people did. Why do I, Matt Lawson, office drone and amateur blogger, know that Oprah cried her eyelashes off during Barack Obama's DNC speech? This isn't knowledge that should be cluttering up my brain.

Tell you what, if Oprah Winfrey discovers a cure for cancer, let me know. If Oprah Winfrey single-handedly defeats an extraterrestrial race bent on the destruction of Earth and the enslavement of its people, alert me. Other than that, I don't mind being left in the dark as to Ms. Winfrey's daily routine.

In fact, if the next time I hear Oprah's name mentioned on the news and it isn't followed by the phrase "...gave Matt Lawson millions of dollars yesterday" you can just assume I don't care. All this Oprah talk. Ugh. Just

STOP ALREADY
Read the rest of this article.

Wednesday Morning Music - Depressing-as-Hell Lil' Markie Twofer

Get a load of this bullshit. First video is some weirdo animating a bit by another weirdo by the name of Mark Fox. Fox does this religious bit where he adopts this nutty voice and pretends he's a little kid named Lil' Markie. Some weirdo made a video for a song where he pretends to be an aborted fetus questioning his mother's decision-making abilities. "Shut yer underdeveloped piehole, Markie," I imagine his momma would say. "Get Momma some of that Jesus wine, sweety, and maybe momma'll send you a Lil' Martha to play with. Would you like that, my sweet darling...self-righteous asshole not-quite baby? Who are you to question me, you little squeaky-voiced...uh...uh...oh, God. Mommy's so sorry. I'm so ashamed. The end."



But this is no laughing matter, and here's living proof:



Mark Fox is honest-to-god real. And he's smarmy as shit. And he's possessed by a real life honest-to-god baby from hell. I haven't seen anything this scary since Cake TV. Read the rest of this article.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Brand New Stupid: Hole in the Wall

It's finally arrived--the stupidest show in the history of television: Hole in the Wall. Apparently it's already a phenomenon around the world, but it is so mind-blowingly retarded I find it hard to believe it is not an American original. You can blame this idiotic affront to intelligence on the Japanese.

Hole in the Wall proceeds as follows: teams of three dressed in tight-fitting, silver jumpsuits stand near a small pool and jump through differently shaped holes in a wall that is flying at them at top speeds. If a contestant can contort his or her body in a way that makes passage through the hole an inevitability, the team is awarded points. If a contestant cannot bend him or herself into the proper abnormal shape that is hurtling at them, he or she is knocked into the aforementioned pool. All the while a screaming audience of tourists surrounds the hapless contestants and a mysterious host-figure watches from his perch, offering snarky remarks and the repeated warning "it's time for the hole." The nightmare is completed by co-host Brooke Burns.

Is it just me or do you kind of feel nauseous every time host Mark Thompson says, "it's time for the hole" too? It's creepy!

I'd be more interested in a show called Glory Hole in the Wall in which contestants are expected to stick their respective wieners, willies, and pee-pees into various holes with no knowledge of what lies behind. Will it be a soothing bowl of pineapple JELL-O or a paper bag full of broken glass? A fresh cannoli or a hobo's toothless maw? I'm sure there's a game show like that in Japan already. Grow some balls and put that on during prime-time, Fox!

Here's hoping Hole in the Wall's demise is swift and without incident.

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Talkin' Politics: Volume 1

A lot of readers thought I was sending a message by ignoring the Republican National Convention last week. I was. I'm only one man. I have obligations that make it impossible to get in my preferred ten hours of television a day. Sometimes things fall by the wayside. Those things usually have to do with politics or televised golf.

No more! As my dad said last weekend while showing me a clip of an uncomfortable looking John McCain he'd recorded off Fox News, if you're not excited about this year's presidential race you can go sodomize yourself (I'm kidding--my dad didn't say that). These are exciting times, my fellow Americans, but unlike you I'm not that well-versed in the whole politics thing. So, I've turned to my good friend, Jordan Beall, with some questions about just what the hell is going on right now. This man eats, sleeps, and farts politics, so I've deemed him more than worthy to be GEP's very own political correspondent for a new feature I'm calling Talkin' Politics! So, let's start talkin'.

Matt: First off, what the heck was John McCain thinking?

Jordan: According to the Washington Post, McCain first wanted Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman or former PA Governor Tom Ridge to be his VP. But they are both liberal on social issues and the McCain team advised strongly against choosing either of them, believing it would lead to a protest on the convention floor. Sarah Palin's name had been floating around for a while, even The Weekly Standard had been pushing for her. McCain meet her last February at a governor's convention and was really taken by her intelligence and personality.

M: I've read that McCain is a big 30 Rock fan. Did he somehow get confused and think he was picking Tina Fey for VP? I mean, he's a 92 year old man, for God's sake.

J: I doubt he confused the two, but her resemblance to Tina Fey may have been the deciding factor that sealed the deal for him. McCain did host SNL back in 2001 and has fond memories of the show. I heard Lorne Michaels hired Tina Fey because of her resemblance to Sarah Palin, whom he met on a hunting trip to Alaska many years ago.

M: Is McCain telling the truth? Did he really know about all the shenanigans going on in the Palin family when he chose Sarah as his running mate?

J: Yes, when McCain's team first met with Palin in Alaska about possibly being the VP pick, Palin disclosed to them upfront that her 17 year old daughter was pregnant. McCain's team did some more investigating of her background before giving her their seal of approval. As for the Troopergate story with allegations that Palin pressured the state to fire her ex-brother-in-law, that has been in the news for a long time and McCain's team knew about that before visiting her.

But the process to select her was very quick. Obama's team spent months investigating all his possible VP picks, whereas McCain's team only spent a week or less investigating Palin. So there is a possibility something else could blow up.

M: And something else did, right? The whole affair with her husband's friend thing. And doesn't she advocate the hunting of wolves from airplanes?

J: The National Enquirer is claiming Palin had an affair with a business partner of her husband's. But the Enquirer is also claiming Laura Bush is going to divorce President Bush when they leave office (har har). The Enquirer has been challenged to support its Palin claims, but their only defense of the article was essentially "take our word for it."

M: I'll take your unwillingness to talk about shooting wolves from a commercial jetliner as support for the practice. So, was Sarah Palin the best choice?

J: Sarah Palin's nomination has electrified the party more than anyone else could. For three reasons:

1) She's one of them. She and the conservative base of the party share the same positions on all the major issues and they are very happy about that. McCain has been known to shun them over the years and that has caused a rift between him and a large section of the party. While they would mostly still vote for him, they wouldn't work the phones, volunteer, or push their friends to go out and vote. Now with Palin on the ticket they will be happy to do the legwork.

2) She's a woman and that would be a real feather in the cap for the Republicans to be the ones to make history by electing the first woman to national office - the party that is suppose to be full of the bigots and sexists - the anti-social progress party.

3) All the aesthetic things about her - she's beautiful, she knows who to fire a rifle and drive a snowmobile. She eats moose burgers and has five children. Her son is going to Iraq soon and even the fact her daughter is pregnant has generated much symphony among the social conservatives, boosting her appeal as a regular person with all the same problems anyone else has (FYI, the Bible Belt has the largest number of unwed pregnancies in the country).

M: Joe Biden vs. Sarah Palin in a debate: What does that look like?

J: Joe Biden has lots of experience as a six-term US senator. But he has a history of putting his foot in his mouth. Reporters call him a windbag because he can't give a simple short answer. He likes to drown on and on. The mystery of Sarah Palin will bring lots of attention to the debate. Biden will have to be careful not to be seen beating up on her or being condescending since there appears to be a sizable number of Hillary Clinton supporters who are still cool to voting for Obama.

M: How do you think Jack and Kate are going to get back to the island? Will Hugo go with them?

J: I believe they will all make it back to the island. I'm sure Ben has some magic way to find the island's new location. Also we'll see flashbacks of what happened to Locke after the survivors left. I'm sure before they leave we'll see the Oceanic 6 filling out their absentee ballots for McCain or Obama. It will be a very special election episode where the subject of the island will be put on hold and the characters all discuss and debate the issue of high gas prices and off shore drilling.

M: What are you most excited about in the coming months regarding the presidential race?

J: Sarah Palin. She is the great unknown. As Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal, she will either be a spectacular success or a spectacular failure.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Return of the Jesus Plates

Recently, Giant Electric Penguin took a hard look at the sick and twisted world of commemorative plates. As you saw, loyal reader, we didn't back down. We looked those plates in the eye and told 'em what was what and why. Take that, commemorative plates. Humans, 1, Plates, 0!

The most popular plate in our line-up turned out to be Portrait of Christ Plate #3: This is My Beloved Son. One reader felt Jesus seemed to be getting "fresh" with God. Another thought Jesus looked a bit too much like the hopelessly ugly hunchback, Quasimodo, of French literature fame. I suggested the artist's depiction of Jesus made the Son of God look like a pimp who had just smacked his ho to death. Anyway you look at it, the plate is creepy, lame, and weird-three words I would NOT use to describe Jesus Christ.

Today, GEP is going to show you the other commemorative plates in the Portraits of Christ collection. Are they any better? What Jesus mutants has artist Jose Fuentes de Salamanca unleashed for the remainder of the series? Would I be better off just purchasing a Last Supper TV tray?

Portraits of Christ Plate #1: You Better Not Block My Shot--I'm Jesus.

Actually, Plate #1 is missing from the Portraits of Christ Plates page on Amazon. If hockey-playing Jesus was actually on Plate #1, it would almost make the series worth purchasing. Jesus looks like he's having so much fun. That's the Jesus I want in plate form on my wall.

Portraits of Christ Plate #2: Thy Will be Done

Now there's a Jesus I recognize-hands folded as if in prayer, gently gazing into the heavens. Jose Fuentes de Salamanca starts off strong, promising quality he won't deliver in later plates in the series.

Portraits of Christ Plate #3: This is My Beloved Son

The infamous plate that started it all. Pimp, skate punk, or malformed bell-ringer, but not the Savior of all mankind. This is My Beloved Son? No. This is a trucker who just got busted by Chris Hansen bringing McDonald's take-out and sex lube to a thirteen-year old girl's house.

Portraits of Christ Plate #4: Lo I Am With You

This plate isn't bad, but I think Jesus sort of looks like Panthro, only with a beard and hippy hair and without spiked suspenders. Like, I could totally buy that the Jesus in this picture is hiding some massive elf ears under that mop.

Portraits of Christ Plate #5: Become as Little Children
Simply put, this is Grizzly Adams. Either titled it properly (Portraits of Grizzly Plate #1-You've Got a Real Soft Beard, Mr. Adams) or quit trying to hide you're blatant plagarism and make the picture truly accurate:

Portraits of Grizzly Plate #1-Become as Giant Bears. Read the rest of this article.

Friday, September 5, 2008

An Open Letter from Pauly Shore


I received this in the mail today. I suppose it's only fair to let him make his case.

Dear internet writers,

Recently, as I was researching the value of my various stock and bond holdings (they're massively valuable, by the by), it occurred to me, on a whim, to try typing my name into an internet web search engine (gooble, I believe it was). I believe the process is referred to as goobling oneself. My nephew taught it to me. What do you imagine I found, oh, on about page 17 of the internet web "hits" featuring my very copywrited name? You know good and well what I found. It was your very irresponsible internet missive dated Friday, August 29, 2008 in which you compare listening to my 1991 College Music Journalist award-winning compact disk audio comedy concert album The Future of America with spending approximately 41 minutes and some odd seconds in a place I'm not sure I should mention on the internet.

What, may I ask, were you thinking? Did you not assume that a person of my obviously superior intelligence would not find the blasphemous slander you hurled at my enormously popular comedy album? How can you possibly justify dismissing the throngs of screaming fans who came to see my shows, bought my albums, and offered me their precious marijuana? I read your track-by-track hit job of my album and nowhere--NOWHERE!--did I see any indication that you understood the massive amounts of time, effort, brainstorming, and sponging that went into coming up with the comedy bits you so easily dismiss. Never do you acknowledge the countless hours of boos and hisses I had to endure while honing my craft on the road in countless bars all across this great land. Well, in case you didn't know before, let me tell you how many hours of boos and hisses there were. Not too long ago I sat down with my old manager over a pitcher of Michelob Ultra and tried to count all those hours. Turns out, it was too many to count. That's why I said they were countless.

Do you know how hard it is to come up with just one joke that people will actually laugh at? I tried and tried coming up with funny things to say, but IT JUST WOULDN'T WORK! So I took some advice from my mom who told me that to be really funny--really truly funny--I had to LIVE my comedy. Rosanne Barr stole my mom's voice; I decided to live my comedy.

What does it mean to "live" comedy? Do you know what it's like to design a condom with no head? I do. It's actually pretty easy. Can you possibly believe how hard it is to find a little man to put your condom on for you, much less stay hidden in a little alcove for the vast majority of the day and night? It's pretty hard. Can you conceive of the horrible, thoughtless, meaningless sex I've had with unintelligent females--all so I could study and imitate their voice! You probably can't. It was awful, but I had to do it! It had to be authentic! I tried--oh, how I tried--to make it convincing. Oh, how I tried. But they wouldn't laugh. I had to do the research. And you know what? It worked! It really worked! You heard the crowd's reaction. It really, really worked. But at what price?

Well, obviously I made millions and millions of dollars and had sex with many attractive and intelligent females as well as the aforementioned Lisas, but there's a dark side to all this. I have to live with myself. Oh, yes, internet writers, even the wheeze has some shame. And now I'm living that shame each and every day. At least 10 minutes of every day is devoted to regretting some of the things I had to do to put me on that stage. I usually spend about 10 minutes just after Pilates up until the time Charles gets me for my placenta bath literally swimming in regret. (Sometimes it's up to 12 minutes. Charles isn't very punctual.)

What do I regret? Calling women's breasts cones? I regret that. Making fun of my elders? I know that wasn't the right choice. Pretending I didn't have sex with Madonna? Inexcusable. But there's one thing I don't regret: being up on stage and seeing all those smiling, laughing dumbasses and knowing it was all because of me--knowing I was the one responsible for all that joy--all that money changing hands--all that blow on the coffee table in my dressing room. It's a good feeling, internet writers. And it's with that feeling that I let you off the hook. I could sue you for millions, but I'm not that guy. Come on! It's the wheeze! I just want you to know what you're really criticizing. If you choose, after reading my letter, to take down your hateful review, I thank you. If not…well, at least do me the courtesy of printing this as an open letter so all can read my side of the story. I hope you'll agree that the public deserves to make up their own minds.

You're new special internet buddy,

Paul Montgomery "Pauly" Shore Read the rest of this article.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

America's Next Top Model-Cycle 11: Week 1 (Part 1)

It's that time again, bitches. America's Next Top Model is back and not a moment too soon. I was suffering from severe Tyra withdrawl. Unfortunately, List Lady will be too busy to comment on this season's festivities, so if you'll have me, I'd love to guide you through this year's fashion challenges, runway tutorials, and general bitchery. I want to thank List Lady again for her time in the trenches last cycle. Commenting on and analyzing a show like ANTM is a difficult task, but I'm up for it. Here's to a fierce cycle!

Entertainment Weekly posted
pictures of this cycle's 14 model wannabes, so I was able to check out the girls early. I decided to pick three favorites based purely on looks, more specifically the ones that I personally found most attractive. And here they are in random order:

Hannnah

Before the show: This Alaskan beauty has a young fresh look, an innocent look that says, "Hey, captain of the high school hockey team, why don't you come on over here and impregnate me." Those Alaskan teeangers!

After the show: OK, Hannah, we get it. You grew up poor in Alaska and were once chased by a moose. Not only is Hannah kinda-sorta obnoxious, but next week we learn she might also be racist.

Marjorie

Before the show: This will be the pick my sister expects from me. She's got short, boyish hair and looks like an elongated French pixie. My sister will claim she is ugly. My sister will be wrong.

After the show: Marjorie is the most delightful member of this cycle's cast. Her low self-confidence will inevitably grow tiresome, but right now I'm hooked. She reminds me of Amelie. I love Amelie.


Sheena

Before the show: Sheena is half Japanese and half Korean.

After the show: Somehow she is also half Black.

As usual, Tyra is tackling yet another big issue this year. Last season it was female circumcision. The year before Asperger's. For Cycle 11, Tyra presents Isis, the pre-op transsexual. Ms. J has already commended Isis for not coming to the program with an agenda, but it's for damn sure Tyra's busy working one up for her. Joining these lucky 4 in the final 14 are Analeigh (the former figure skater), Brittany (the first African-American to appear on the cover of Las Vegas Weekly), Clark (the so-pretty-she's-boring one), Joslyn (tried out for ANTM 30 times prior to being chosen for Cycle 11), Lauren Brie (I believe Tyra said she looked "ugly pretty"), McKey (the mixed martial artist), Nikeysha (the spazz), Samantha (this cycle's dumb one), Sharaun (the cocky one), and Elina (sorta-gay, always wears black, plans to use the show as a platform to champion a bunch of causes--ugh).

Coming soon-Part 2: The America's Next Top Model Institute of Technology, Tyra knows her American Lit, an outbreak of yellow fever, and a Saved by the Bell alum attempts a comeback.

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Juno vs. Juneau


America's best source for political coverage, Entertainment Tonight, made the most thought-provoking observation this week: Bristol Palin's current "situation" is exactly like that of ficitonal movie teen Juno MacGuff. Honest to blog, Entertainment Tonight, is there any story you can't make more trite and ridiculous? Bristol, like Juno, is a pregnant, unwed teenager, but that's where the similarities end, unless I missed something. It's been awhile since I watched Juno and I didn't have time to review the film before filing this report. Let's take a look at some of the differences between Bristol Palin's real-life baby-drama and the whimsical world of Juno MacGuff

1. I've yet to find any evidence that Bristol Palin talks in contrived hipster slang. In fact, I'm not sure anyone in the world utilizes Juno's lexicon on a daily basis without irony. The jury is still out on whether or not Bristol owns a hamburger-shaped phone.


2. Let's take a quick look at the baby-daddys. On the left you've got Paulie Bleeker- he runs track, his favorite dinner is breakfast, and he is cool seemingly without having to try. On the right, Levi Johnston-he plays hockey, sports douchey facial fuzz, and until it was recently removed from the internets, he enjoyed expounding on his hatred for fatherhood via MySpace. One is a quiet, sensitive, guitar-playing geek, the other, a young man who got himself dragged into the public spotlight during one of the most hotly contestested presidential races in recorded history. Hey, Levi, wear a condom next time, brah.

3. Nobody in Juno's family was pursuing political office. Her stepmom painted fingernails, for God's sake. Bristol Palin's mother is the governor of Alaska and the potential vice president of the whole United States of America. No-name high school girls from nobody families get knocked up every single day--it's no big deal, it's expected. But when a Republican governor who has called for an abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum in Alaskan schools and recently reduced State funds going to support a group home for unwed teenage mothers is your mommy, you've got a PR problem much worse than McCain and Company want to admit.

4. Juno is ficitional. Her story is over. The true life story of Bristol Palin has just begun. I better get my popcorn refill before I miss something good.
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Wednesday Morning Music: Daniel Johnston-"Story of an Artist"


Haunting and beautiful. One of my favorites. Read the rest of this article.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fireproof

I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to this new comedy starring Kirk Cameron.
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From the Pages of Skymall-Stupid Sign Edition

Are these angels from Heaven invisible? Like a guardian angel? Are you describing invisible, guardian angels? So, you have no real, visible friends? That's what I thought. I hope you and your three cats enjoy this wall decoration all the days of your lonely, stinky lives.

What if I spent the day eating Sour Cream and Onion potato chips and watching the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit marathon on USA between visits to the internet to look at porn? Are you telling me that was not a day well spent, sir? I beg to differ.
I enjoy singing, especially when people can hear me and I dance like a madman at every wedding I attend (ask the wife) simply because I'm an ego-maniac and I want people to watch me. These so-called encouragement plaques are terrible. Let's add a few more:

-EAT as though you are completely unaware that there are people in this country starving but too poor to do anything about it.

-SWEAR at everyone who deserves it (i.e. everyone).

-KICK that guy who just flirted with you girlfriend in the nuts.
Accept Differences (I don't want to)
Be Kind (You can only rent DVDs now anyway, so why?)
Count Your Blessings (I'll think about it)
Dream (Can't help it-we all dream every night-keeps us sane)
Express Thanks (Thank you, everyone I know, for not buying me this stupid Alphabet for Life Plaque)
Forgive (I will never forgive you for this, Skymall)
Give Freely (How about 'get freely?')
Harm No One (Why have kids then?)
Imagine More (More beneficial ways to spend my money? OK. First, do not buy hippy, feel-good encouragement plaques from the Skymall catalogue...)
Jettison Anger (Whatevs)
Keep Confidences (You mean, like, secrets? No way!)
Love Truly (I would truly love to rip this plaque into bits and set it ablaze)
Master Something (How about baiting? I'm sorry.)
Nuture Hope (Get back to me when W's out of office)
Open Your Mind (And let the Devil in? No way, buddy!)
Pack Lightly (That's the first good advice this poster has given--most airlines are charging you for extra bags now)
Quell Rumors (Well, where is the fun in that?)
Reciprocate (Reach-around?)
Seek Wisdom (Watch TV?)
Touch Hearts (Ew--they're all slimy)
Understand (I don't)
Value Truth ([enter your own snarky comment here])
Win Graciously (No deal! I always lose when I play the wife at Upwards, so when I win I get down!)
Xeriscape (huh?)*
Yearn for Peace (Stupid hippy)
Zealously Support a Worthy Cause (Is poking fun at Skymall worthy enough, for that is my cause)


*xeriscaping: environmental design of residential and park land using various methods for minimizing the need for water use.
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