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Thursday, May 31, 2012

No, wait, THIS is the Most Horrific Thing I've Read This Week

From the Mail Online:

A man who had his genitals removed seasoned them before cooking them for five paying dinner party guests, it has been claimed. 


Mao Sugiyama, 22, who is asexual, had voluntarily undergone surgery to have them removed. 


But the illustrator took his frozen penis and scrotum home from hospital and organised a grim party. 


He charged guests around £160 per person to eat his severed genitalia in Tokyo, Japan. 


They were garnished with mushrooms and parsley. 


Before tucking into dinner, guests sat down to listen to a piano recital and take part in a panel discussion, CalorieLab.com reported. 


Mao, who goes by the nickname HC, had initially considered eating his own penis – but decided to serve them up instead. 


He cooked the genitalia himself as he was supervised by a chef. 


In a Tweet, he offered to cook his penis for a guest for £800. 


However, he ultimately decided to split the ‘meal’ between six guests. 


He wrote on Twitter: ‘I am offering my male genitals (full penis, testes, scrotum) as a meal for 100,000 yen (£800). I’m Japanese. 


‘The organs were surgically removed at age 22. I was tested to be free of venereal diseases. The organs were of normal function. I was not receiving female hormone treatment. 


‘First interested buyer will get them, or I will also consider selling to a group. Will prepare and cook as the buyer requests, at his chosen location. If you have questions, please contact me by DM or e-mail.’ 


In total around 70 people attended the event in the Suginami ward of Tokyo. While five people tucked into Mao Sugiyama’s genitalia, the rest of them ate beef or crocodile. 


The people who ate his genitalia were a 30-year-old couple, a 22-year-old women, a 32-year-old man and Shigenobu Matsuzawa, 29, an event planner. 


He Tweeted before the event: ‘It’s a once in a lifetime chance, so I decided on the spur of the moment to do it.’ 


He posted pictures of the event on his blog, but later removed them and said his decision to take them down was due to ‘privacy considerations’. 


Sugiyama made guests sign a waiver so he was not responsible if they became ill after eating his genitalia. They were removed in early April shortly after his 22nd birthday. 


The dinner party organiser joked before the event that he would be posting his recipe online. 


Guests said that the genitalia were very rubbery and tasted of very little, CalorieLab.com reported. 


Suginami Police were contacted but did not launch an investigation because they said nothing had been done which was against the law. 


Sugiyama, who is an illustrator, has also had his nipples removed. 


As an asexual, his genitalia will not be replaced with artificial female ones.

Ew.



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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Most Horrific Thing I've Read This Week: That's Why I Prefer Showers



This week's edition of The Most Horrific Thing I've Read This Week was originally going to focus on Natural Harvest, a cookbook dedicated to the idea that semen, apart from being a great way to create new human beings and/or crust up a perfectly functional dress sock, can be a perfectly acceptable ingredient in some of your favorite dishes.  The kind of dishes you eat.  With your mouth.  Then some naked dude freaked out and chewed off a homeless man's face and my focus shifted from spunk chugging to face eating.


Did you hear about this?  Chances are you have, as this sort of thing doesn't happen every day.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, first, let me say YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW!  RUN SCREAMING FROM YOUR COMPUTER RIGHT NOW AND DON'T LOOK BACK!  Secondly, let me nutshell it for you: a guy did a bunch of drugs, took his clothes off, attacked a homeless, ate said homeless man's face, and was shot to death by a police officer who will probably never sleep again.


I know what you're thinking: "Has the zombie apocalypse I write about obsessively on my Facebook wall finally come to pass?"  Can I address you people real quick?  Can you shut up about the "zombie apocalypse" already?  We get it.  You like The Walking Dead.  I like it too, but I'm not on Facebook every other day posting my Zombie Hunting Task Force list for everyone to see (i.e. ignore).  And I'm not talking about one person.  I wish it were one person.  It's, like, a thing.  What is it about a "zombie apocalypse" that fascinates all you weirdies?  Does the United States portrayed in The Walking Dead look exciting to you?  Seems like a vast, depressing Hell on Earth to me, but who am I?  Oh, yeah.  An adult.  Anyway, shut up.  Did I say that already?


Corpse reanimation is not currently being blamed for this recent attack.  The catalyst for this brutal assault was drugs, specifically bath salts, or "bath salts" as they're also known.  While "bath salts" resemble the shiny pebbles in the small jar on your grandma's toilet tank, it is actually something far more sinister.  "Bath salts" basically turn the user into a nearly unstoppable thrashing machine.  A naked unstoppable thrashing machine.  Why naked?  Well, apparently "bath salts" cook you from the inside. I don't know about you, but when I'm uncomfortably hot, the first thing I want to do is pop my shirt, pants, shoes, and undies off.  I'll then fill a kiddie pool or empty turtle-shaped sandbox with ice and burrow myself deep.  I might ask the wife to fix me some nachos.  I rarely feel the need to snack on a homeless man's face.


A cold drink or a dip in the community pool wasn't enough to cool Rudy Eugene, the attacker in this truly horrific tale, down however.  In fact, nothing could stop Eugene once the "bath salts" kicked in.  Well, nothing besides four bullets.


This horror story out of Florida (typical!) gives me the willies, man.  I kind of wish I'd written about the spooge cookbook now.  Oh, well.  There's always next time.  


In summation: Don't use drugs.  And if you must, do so on a full stomach.


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Thursday, May 24, 2012

STFU, this kid's dumb parents!

Let's talk about this kid who dressed up as Martin Luther King Jr. for a school project for a moment.





To me, the turning point in this story comes at the 1:00 minute mark when Michelle King-Roca recounts her son's plan to "do [his] face in black" in order to be the best Martin Luther King Jr. any white second grader with a ponytail could ever hope to be.  This seems to have been the perfect moment for Sean's mother to explain that there was a time in America's history when white performers would paint their faces black and perform extremely racist caricatures of black people for the amusement of all non-minorities.  These were called "minstrel shows" and they were super offensive and to this very day hurtful to many African-Americans.  She could've further explained that while darkening one's face to portray a black individual would totally make sense to a second grader, it is actually considered insensitive and highly inappropriate.


But, no, Sean's parents black-faced him up, glued a mustache to his face, and sent him off to school, and then acted like they'd been the victims of some kind of weird injustice because people were offended by something that is super fucking offensive!


Look, Sean's a cute kid.  I'm glad he likes black people.  One way he could show his respect for black people is by doing a school project on Martin Luther King Jr.  Another way: don't come to school in blackface!


It's not his fault though.  His parents dropped the ball on this one.  I don't care how many white people Channel 13 News interviewed.  School project or not, painting your kid's face black and sending him off to the ol' schoolhouse is not only insensitive and dumb, but insane.  How is this helping anybody?  What, the kids in Sean's class weren't going to understand his presentation without Sean's face being painted black?  "You're Martin Luther who now?"


White people are never going to get it, OK?  We're never going to fully, 100-percent understand how it feels when an African-American person sees some white dickhead with his face painted black or wearing an afro wig or something.  So, STFU, Sean King's parents.  The rest of you, don't paint your kid's face black for any reason, unless he or she is going as a chimney sweep for Halloween.  Then, just keep the black on the cheeks and the forehead area, all right?



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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hero of the Week: Yong Hyun Kim


There are two kinds of people in this world: regular folk (policemen, firefighters, organ donors, etc) and true, red-blooded heroes; men and women who selflessly rise up against the tyrannies of modern existence and do something great.  Men like Yong Hyun Kim of Kent, Washington, who came face-to-face with inarguably the most wretched example of human filth on the planet, the movie disrupter, and took a stand.  A heroic stand.  Yes, Yong Hyun Kim punched a 10-year-old boy in the face.  I'm swooning.  Is anybody else swooning.

Here's how it went down: 

A Washington state man fed up with a group of noisy moviegoers behind him, stepped over the seat and punched a 10-year-old boy in the face. 

The man was watching "Titanic" in 3-D with his girlfriend and had asked the people sitting behind to quiet down and stop throwing popcorn, but they laughed at him, he said. 

"I got so mad that it just happened," Yong Hyun Kim, 31, told police who arrested him the night of April 11 at the AMC Kent Station 14, in Kent, a south Seattle suburb. 

The 10-year-old lost a tooth and had a bloody nose in the confrontation.

He knocked the kid's tooth out, man!  Yong Hyun Kim is serious about Titanic, yo!

Honestly though, we've all shared a movie theater with a bunch of unsupervised, pre-pubescent assholes, right?  It's like a busload of sugared-up orphans was dropped outside of the theater and told to fend for themselves for two hours.  They run in and out of the theater, text with reckless abandon, throw popcorn all over the place, all while staying frustratingly out of punching distance.  Hell, sometimes it's not orphans at all.  

When I saw the first Transformers movie by myself whatever summer that thing happened, there was this five or six-year-old kid running up and down the stairs the whole time singing and dancing and clapping his stupid hands.  Where were the parents?  Oh, they were seated in the back of the theater, watching the movie comfortably.  So, this kid is stomping up and down the steps and he finally decides to sit on the stairs right next to me and launch into a seventeenth verse of whatever nonsense song he's screaming.  And what did I do?  Punch him square in the nose like a man?  Pick him up by his belt loops and toss him like a singing pile of laundry into the screen?  Nope.  I simply turned to him and hissed, "Shut up!"  Did it work?  Absolutely not.  Was the movie ruined?  Yes, but that ultimately wasn't his fault.  Transformers is just a bad movie.

Anyway, Giant Electric Penguin would like to take this moment to salute Mr. Yong Hyun Kim and his fists of fury.  Stupid, bratty kids shouldn't be allowed to ruin anybody's moviegoing experience, even if said movie is Titanic 3-D.  Sure, Kim probably saw Titanic during its original run, but he'd never seen it all up in his grill before.  Plus, don't 3-D tickets cost a lot more than regular tickets?  I understand your anger, Mr. Kim, and I approve of your wrathful response.  That kid was, is and always will be an asshole and I hope he remembers that each time he sees that gap-toothed grin of his in the mirror.



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Sunday, May 20, 2012

100 Songs I Love: 123-126

Wow, there's been a whole lot of negativity popping up on GEP lately. That review of Zendik's We the Poet was harsh. Deserved and funny, but mean. And it seems like I'm always going on and on about songs I hate and movies I think look stupid so much that I feel like I've lost the original vision I had for Giant Electric Penguin, or, rather, the second original vision, as the original original vision was a horror movie review blog. The second original vision I had for this blog was that it would be a place of celebration; a celebration of the awful things in life, yes, but also the enjoyable, the tuneful, and the competently constructed. So, without further blah-blah-blah, I give you the latest, and the weirdest, installment of 100 Songs I Love


123. "Cocktails for Two" (Spike Jones and The City Slickers)  


"Cocktails for Two" is one of my favorite songs from my youth, particularly middle school, when a friend, Chris, introduced me to the wacky world of Spike Jones. Before my family moved to North Carolina, this friend was nice enough to record for me probably the best mixtape I've ever been given. The A-Side featured the songs of Tom Lehrer and a collection of Beatles parodies written and recorded by Chris himself, who was and is an accomplished pianist. The B-Side was wall-to-wall Spike Jones. I listened to this tape endlessly during my first summer and freshman year in Charlotte. Then everybody got into ska or whatever (ugh) and that lasted pretty much until college, where you learn on the first day, no matter what university, community college or online institution you get into, that ska is basically the worst thing ever.


I love Spike Jones. Who doesn't? People who hate life, I guess. The above film, a raucous tribute to drinking, smoking and causal transvestism, just makes "Cocktails for Two" that much better. No matter where I go or what I do in life, I will never stop being thankful to Chris for bringing Spike Jones and his wacky, wacky kids into my life.


124. "Stay With You" (capsule)



I love pop music, and if that love pop music includes a plethora of beeps, boops, auto-tuned weirdness, and Japanese lyrics, well, I'm even more in. And I don't think it gets any more poppy or Japanese than capsule's "Stay With You." This song makes my brain feel good. It makes me want to dance, and I have a strict "only-dance-at-weddings" policy. Toshiko Koshijima could be singing about animal torture, and I'd still feel like dancing. That's how infectious this song's groove is. I'm quite aware that many of my readers will choose to resist "Stay With You." To you sad-sacks I say, too bad.


125. "Still Alive" (GLaDOS & Jonathan Coulton)  


Here's what I know about the video game Portal: it involves portals and I would be terrible at it. There's also something about cake. 


"Still Alive" is the song that plays over Portal's end credits, written by Jonathan Coulton and sung by a robot that apparently gives you non-stop shit during the game. 


Funny story: I don't know how this song got onto my iTunes. I don't remember buying it, but there it was, languishing in obscurity, until one chore-filled afternoon (my life seems, and is, chock full of these right now), I went into song shuffle mode and about ten songs in, this perfect little pop gem appeared. It's got everything I love: killer hooks, lyrics about death and science experiments and a singing female robot. It's like Jonathan Coulton climbed into my dreams and wrote a song about what he encountered there. "Still Alive" is so good, thought I am still perplexed about where it came from.


126. "Whatever You Like" (Anya Marina)  


Yes, this yet another white girl with a child's voice covering a rap song--in this case T.I.'s "Whatever You Like"-- featuring lyrics about wet, late night sex sessions and masterful blowjobs, while strumming an acoustic guitar. I know, it's all be done before, but, dammit, I like this. A lot. It's tons better than the original. For real. "Whatever You Like" kinda sucks.









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Thursday, May 17, 2012

GEP's Initial Listen Report Card: We the Poet



Who or what is Zendik?  Well, until today, I thought Zendik was simply a band that recorded some album titled We the Poet that I bought from a hippie at a music festival in Charlotte, North Carolina ten or so years ago and never listened to.  I can't remember why I even bought this thing.  Was the hippie dude's sales pitch really that amazing?  I was pretty free with my money back then--tossing five spots at every homeless person who crossed my path, cramming bills into any tip jar I could find--but if I'm remembering correctly, I think I paid ten whole dollars for this thing.  Damn, that hippie must've sweet talked me somethin' fierce.


So, yeah, I purchased We the Poet from some weirdo while standing in the hot, hot sun watching the guitarist from Cracker do yet another over-the-top, goofball guitar solo at the edge of the stage.  I bought it, took it home, forgot about it. The fact that it has traveled with me from Charlotte to Buies Creek to Raleigh, from shabby apartment to shabbier apartment, and finally to the home I share with my wife and child, is amazing.  Not so amazing is the fact that I've never listened to even a second of it until today.  I do that a lot--purchase albums and never listen to them.  Or, rather, skip through them, find two or three songs I like, and ignore the remainder of the album for months and months.  I do this with bands I like.


Anyway, what is Zendik?  Your best bet is to check out this Zendik FAQ that I discovered while conducting my own research, written by someone who's actually been there.  Essentially, Zendik is a cult for outsider artist types, and not even the good kind of cult with orgies and stuff.  (I urge you to check out the link.  There is some fascinatingly creepy stuff going on at that farm, man.)


It's been 10 years, so, I guess I felt like I owed it to myself to finally give We the Poet a listen.  "Maybe it's really good," I said to myself.  Was I right?  Let's find out.


1. "What Happened to Rock 'N Roll" -- F
A strange, but not terrible, pseudo-metal intro goes horribly awry when Zendik's lead singer/cult leader, Arol, starts sing-shouting in a tone deaf, marble-mouthed voice about how rock music has been ruined by money and profits and corporate control.  "They took my money," Arol shouts at one point.  "They" didn't take your money, you idiot, you gave it to them.  Quit whining and, I don't know, go check on this year's tomato crop at ole Zendik Farm.  


Oh, by the way, this song is over ten minutes long.


2. "My Life Would Sing" -- F
What kind of song goes with a title like that, ya think?  Something poppy and fun, maybe?  Wrong.  "My Life Would Sing" is Zendik's take on "The End" by The Doors.  Arol's voice sounds like somebody's grandma emptied every bottle in the liquor cabinet down her throat and recorded herself singing along with the radio.


3. "How Many" -- D
This is probably as good a time as any to tell you that We the Poet is completely improvised.  That being said: oh, brudder, the lyrics on this one. Sludge in the sky?  Who's putting sludge in the sky, Arol, huh?  How does sludge even stay suspended in the sky?  And what ocean has ever run dry? Seriously, where are these huge expanses of desert where Earth's oceans used to be?  What are you mumbling about now, Grandma?  Take the dumb, obvious, "woe is me Mother Earth is in trouble you guys" lyrics out though and you've got a pretty funky little instrumental.


4. "Last Chance Blues" -- F 
Not technically the blues, aside from Arol whining about how she cries sometimes or whatever.  Question: Why did this violin player, listed simply as Mazz in the CD insert, lend any of her time and talent to this garbage band? What, did Arol threaten to take her dessert privileges away?  If you've checked out that Zendik FAQ, you'd know that this isn't out of the realm of possibilities. Mazz is talented.  The rest of the song sounds like "Audrey's Dance" if the jukebox at the Double R Diner was broken.


5. "Girl Could Dance" -- F
9 minutes and 51 seconds?!  Really, Zendik?


6. "Never Had A Chance" -- F
I figured this album would be bad, but, c'mon!  This is insane!  There is no one on this planet who could possibly derive any pleasure from listening to this record.  Honestly.  Are Bakhu, Bugz, Finny, Kord, Mazz, and Krisp (AKA, Arol's backing band) proud of this hunk of shit?  It's nothing but improvised noise accompanied by the caterwauling of a withered old crone with the most unoriginal ideas about everything ever.  This album plays like The Doors without Ray Manzarek's keyboards.  Are you starting to get it?


7. "River In My Mind" -- F
This is the third song on We the Poet that opens with the words "how many," which I'm assuming is the most common phrase people think of when improvising song lyrics.  Dammit, I hope Mazz got out of this cult successfully. She deserves so much better.


8. "Gambler" -- F 
Bullshit.


9. "Let It Rip" -- F
More like "Let Me Skip (It)."


This is without a doubt the worst thing I've ever heard.  I have half a mind to march down to that farm and demand my money back.


In summation, fuck We the Poet.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

5 Summer Movies I Will Not Be Seeing

The summer movie season is upon us and that means blockbusters. And popcorn. And butter pumps. Mmmmm, butter pumps. 


We'll get back to the butter pump in a minute, right now, I want to focus on the upcoming summer movies that I have absolutely no intention of seeing. You see, for every Marvel's The Avengers, there are two movies I wouldn't be caught dead risking my life at the ol' butter pump for. You think I'm going to subject my arteries to processed "butter" substitute for The Dictator? Not bloody likely. So, here they are, five summertime duds I won't be seeing this summer or, if I can help it, ever. 


(Note: You'll notice that Battleship does not appear on this list. This is because, well, obviously.)

1. Dark Shadows
   
Look, I'm not familiar with the source material, so I'm probably not the audience for Tim Burton's latest. However, I don't know anybody--except my wife, who heard a story on NPR last week about the old Dark Shadows soap opera--who is familiar with it. Now just because my generation and the generations that have come after us don't know anything about an old TV show full of ghosts and vampires from the 1970s doesn't mean a movie adaptation shouldn't be made (it doesn't?), it just means you're gonna have to sell it to us a little harder. The trailer, which I've seen way too many times in the past couple of months, fails at this miserably. There isn't one laugh in this thing. I've rolled my eyes several times ("We don't have horses. We have a Chevy;" Barnabas doesn't understand how TV works; etc), but never once smiled. Look, I'm not an under-sexed housewife, so just sticking Johnny Depp in your movie doesn't do it for me. 
Sorry, Tim Burton. Maybe next time, unless you do a movie version of ALF or something. 
Actually, I take that back. A Tim Burton take on ALF, with Johnny Depp as the titular alien life form, obviously, might be worth a look. 
2. Katy Perry: Part of Me
   
Like Battleship, Katy Perry: Part of Me falls squarely in the "obviously" column, but I thought I'd include it because I do, in fact, plan on watching this film one day. It won't be in a theater and I will not have paid ten dollars, or however much 3D ticket costs, to see it. I will be seated, pantless, in the comfort of my own home, with a box of Goobers and a fresh dress sock, just as I've watched everything Katy Perry has appeared in thus far. (I'd like to apologize to my daughter in the future and my wife right now for that one.) 
3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
    
I caused a small kerfuffle on my Facebook page when I recently mocked Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter--or as I call it, AL-Colon-VH--but that was before the trailer surfaced. Now, I ask you, people (AKA male nerds) who thought this was a good idea, what do you think of your AL-Colon-VH now? This trailer sucks (no pun intended). When I see that title pop up on a movie screen, it embarrasses me. Seriously. I went to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol--or as I like to call it, Mission Impossible: In A Hoodie--with my father and the AL-Colon-VH trailer played and I've never felt more ashamed. 
This is where we are now? Honestly, what's next? Thomas Jefferson: Zombie Shooter? James Madison: Werewolf Tamer? George Washington: Dragon Wrangler
 4. Ted
    
I could spend $10.00 to see Ted or stay home and watch a Family Guy marathon on TBS for free. Or I could drop a can of paint on my foot. I'm gonna go with the can. 
(In the spirit of full disclosure, I will probably rent this. Happy?) 
5. What to Expect When You're Expecting
   
Again, I was obviously never going to see this, but when your trailer prominently features Rob Huebel and Tom Lennon, I should be laughing at least. How did they take two of my favorite funny people and make them so painfully unfunny in this trailer? It's sick!




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Treat her right, treat your mother right...


HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY...
...to all of the moms who deserve it.
(moms pictured do not necessarily deserve it)



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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

GEP Investigates: John Travolta's Sexy Massage Exploits: Truth or Fiction???


Did beloved movie archangel and former Sweathog, John Joseph Travolta, really wave his semi-erect wiener around in front of two innocent male masseurs?  That's what this article would have you believe.  But is it true?  Does John Travolta become so overrun with lust while receiving deep tissue massages that he can't control himself sexually?  I don't know, but I aim to find out.  Let's look at the "facts:"

1. Towels make John Travolta's buttocks "too hot."
2. John Travolta eats pre-packaged snack cakes in his car.
3. Travolta enjoys having a private chef cook burgers for him while he receives a massage.
4. Travolta considers the masseurs he hires his "friends" and will sometimes offer a thank-you massage in return.

So, did John Travolta sexually assault the two anonymous masseurs who are accusing him of doing so? Here are GEP's conclusions.

1. Listen, towels make my buttocks "too hot," but that doesn't mean when I throw mine off, say, in a gym locker room or around the pool during an outdoor barbecue, that I expect/want people to gratify my backside sexually.  I just like to air out my bum sometimes.  I bet John Travolta does too.  So, did Travolta take his towel down a time or ten during a massage?  Probably.  But who among us wouldn't, you know, if our behinds were feeling a bit warmish?  

2. Apparently John Travolta keeps his condoms on his vehicle's dashboard.  Is that a crime now?  Last time I looked, the Constitution of the United States didn't specify in what location I have to store my prophylactics.  If I want to keep my condoms in a Ziploc bag tied around my neck at all times, I'm within my rights to do so.  And if John Travolta wants to keep his spread out on the dashboard of his Lexus, what right do you have to persecute him, Unnamed Masseur #2?  Doesn't necessarily mean he wants to make sweet, post-massage love to you.

3. But, seriously, fellas: why would John Travolta do any of this?  Honestly?  What part are we supposed to believe exactly?  Sure, maybe he is super closeted, but do you expect us to believe that this is the method in which he chooses to blow off some gay steam?  This is the way he's finally decided to live his truth, by masturbating his semi-erect penis in front of masseurs?  No way.

Look, I don't know if any of this happened or not.  It probably didn't, but there sure are a lot of weird, specific details mentioned in the suits.  There's only one thing that matters to me about this story: What happened to the those burgers?  Did Travolta eat them?  Did the masseur leave with a couple?  What kind of condiments did Travolta's chef buddy provide?  These are the details that will keep me up at night.



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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Bloody Sunday: Stay of Execution?


As if you needed any more evidence that the current situation in North Carolina is totally fucked, take a look at this letter from the front page of the News & Observer's Arts & Living section today:

Dear readers,

By a margin of almost 2-to-1, you have voted to keep Prince Valiant as a cornerstone of our Sunday comics section.  Final votes were 1,817 to keep and 968 to drop.  This should do it for comics voting for awhile.  We hope to develop an online process to seek your thoughts on our entire lineup, including additions and deletions.  We'll keep you posted.  Thanks to all who emailed, called and wrote us about the prince and other comic changes.

PS: We have restored Lifetime Movie Network to our TV listings and added the History Channel.  Happy watching.

What kind of voter turn out is that?  This does not bode well for the much more important vote coming up on May 8.  I feel like I've done my part in helping defeat Amendment One, but while I was doing so, this Prince Valiant thing slipped through my fingers.  I even read the original call for votes several weeks ago.  This feels like my fault somehow.  I'm ashamed.

You win this time, all 1,817 of you who allegedly read Prince Valiant each and every Sunday  (cough-cough-bullshit-cough-cough!), but I swear, the next time the N & O proposes a vote to oust Valiant or any other comic strip that has long since worn out its welcome (I'm looking at you, Zits!), I will be there to take you down.  Count on it.

*       *      *

And speaking of worn out welcomes, I've been sitting on this one for a week.  I've written many times about my dislike for B.C. and the confusion that comes with reading it, so much so, that I originally didn't want to say anything about this one.  It ate away at me all week however, and now the only thing I can do to unburden myself of the torment it has caused me is to share it with all of you.  So, here:



They are cavemen!  Living long before the time of Christ!  How the hell do they know who Robin Williams is?!?  Explain it to me!

Here's this week's B.C. too, for your vomiting pleasure:


I'm not even going to dignify this one with a snarky remark.




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Friday, May 4, 2012

Bullies


Nobody likes a bully, especially now that the anti-bullying sentiment has reached a fever pitch in the US.  I used to gently mock the anti-bullying crowd. Where were they when I was in middle school and my nerdy friends were getting picked on and pushed around?  Bullying wasn't a big enough deal back then, I guess, and that's probably why my attitude toward the anti-bullying contingent was largely dismissive. Obviously, I wasn't pro-bully--bullies can eat shit--but I carried with me the attitude from my school days: if someone is hassling you, put your head down and move along.  We didn't have the It Gets Better campaign, but I had an inkling that one day I wouldn't have to deal with fat-headed dopes tossing snack cake wrappers into my open locker (that happened, people, and it haunts me to this day).

Then kids started killing themselves.  Maybe that's always been going on, but I'd never heard about it.  And, yeah, I'm a dad now, so, you know, I kinda get it. I don't want my daughter to be bullied when she starts school in five years or so.  I don't want Q to be taunted and teased to the point where she feels the only option is to end her own life.  She's only 10-months-old right now, but time flies.  Did you know we just "celebrated" the one year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's assassination?  A year has passed! We're we ever so young?  But, yeah, Q will be school-aged in no time and, as a parent, I'm a little nervous about what is waiting for her when she gets off of the bus.  From what I hear though, Q is a bit of a bully at day care.  She and this other girl always fight over the same Fisher-Price telephone toy, and Q usually wins.  Apparently there are three identical Fisher-Price telephones to choose from, but they both want the one.  Babies, right?  They're so dumb.

If you live in North Carolina, like I do, you know that on May 8, our state's citizenry has the opportunity to vote for or against Amendment One, a "measure [that] would define marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman, and would ban any other type of "domestic legal union" such as civil unions and domestic partnerships."  Keep in mind, gay marriage is already illegal in NC, so Amendment One would just make sure that this bigotry would make it into the constitution.

I don't get very political or whatever on this blog, mostly because I don't follow politics that closely, but I thought it important to share my views on this issue. We here at Giant Electric Penguin are totally AGAINST this thing.  In fact, I've already early voted against Amendment One.  For me, this isn't a political issue.  This is all about basic human rights, and if you are for the continued denying of equal rights for every citizen of not only this state but the entire country, you, my friend, are a fossil and you need to get out of the way of progress.  Quite simply, if you are for Amendment One, you are a bully. Yeah, I said.  That was going to be the title of this piece originally, but I toned it down to suck people in before I hammered 'em with the truth.  POW!

I've been wanting to write this for awhile, I just wasn't sure if I could be coherent and concise.  It's probably been pretty rambly up to this point, but that's OK. So, anyway, I wasn't sure where to go with the essay, when something glorious happened.  Sean Harris happened.



I think everyone knows who Sean Harris is by now, but if you don't, here's a quick recap of his recent actions.  Harris is a pastor in Fayetteville, NC, and during a recent sermon, he advocated the beating of male children who act effeminate and the berating of female children who have the audacity to play sports.  For real.  You can listen to it right now:





Harris has since said he was joking around.  I thought jokes were supposed to be funny.  Also, I'm pretty certain at least some of the congregation didn't know you were doing a stand-up act, Pastor Harris.  Members of Harris' flock can be heard shouting "amen" after the pastor advocates knocking your kid around. For people who don't know, Christians will often audibly utter the word "amen" during a Sunday morning sermon when they agree with what the pastor is saying.  So, Pastor Harris is a bully--and in the most classic sense, since he is so gleefully reveling in acts of physical violence--and every churchgoer who agrees with him by offering up a hearty "amen" is a bully too.


And I don't want to unfairly stick it to Christians because I'm sure there are some of them who are against Amendment One--in fact, I know there are, because I know plenty of Christians--but, c'mon, the majority of these bullies who want Amendment One to pass are members of the Christian religion, right? I'm not wrong on that, right?  You don't have to answer that question, because I know I'm right. The Bible keeps coming up in these TV ads I see and that's a Christian's guidebook for everyday living, if I'm not mistaken.





This commercial is despicable on so many levels, but I'm struck by the fact that Vote FOR Marriage NC believes that because the Bible apparently says something about marriage being reserved exclusively for one penis and one vagina, that I should care.  The Bible isn't the governing document of our country.  Why does it even show up in this ad?  It is utterly irrelevant.  But I'm getting off track.  This is an essay about bullies.  Well, here's another bully for you.  Perhaps you two have already met.  His name...


Billy Graham.  You know, that 93-year-old evangelist your parents totally love. This weekend, 14 different NC newspapers will run a full page ad in which Billy Graham bullies his fans into voting for Amendment One.  Really, Billy?  Why don't you take a break.  You're 93.  You've lived a full life.  Go fishing.  Play checkers with your grandkids.  Putter around in the garage all morning.


Listen, I don't know what you're going to do on May 8.  Maybe you'll vote for Amendment One, maybe you'll vote against it.  Maybe you won't vote at all because you've got some annoying political views that nobody understands or cares about.  Whatever.  This is about human rights.  You're either for them or against them.  It's pretty simple as far as I'm concerned.  Just because, as the commercial states, 30 other states already have marriage amendments in their constitutions, doesn't mean North Carolina has to do it.  Don't be bullied by these people.  Don't be bullied by me.  Just do the right thing.




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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

100 Songs I Hate: 30-33

30. "Californication" (Red Hot Chili Peppers)  


There are people on this planet--they may even live in your neighborhood, delivery your pizzas or let their dogs bark at you whenever you are in your driveway minding your own business--that think "Californication" by Red Hot Chili Peppers is great poetry. I find its lyrics dumb, but, fine, let's join the brutish crowd and assume that "Californication" is saying something profound. It isn't, but we're pretendin'. I'm willing to believe you, weirdos who champion this supremely silly song, when you assert that Anthony Kiedis is lamenting the "Hollywood-ization" of the planet and how everything is fake and empty and meaningless, but what the fuck does the phrase "firstborn unicorn" have to do with anything? Seriously. Stop analyzing this middle schooler's diary poem for a moment and explain "firstborn unicorn." You can't, because it is ridiculous. As is the follow-up line "hardcore soft porn." What?!? 


OK, pretend time is over. This song is chock full of ridiculous bullshitty lines and references that give the impression of depth, but provide nothing but a broken neck and a lifetime of wheelchair livin' to anyone who mistakenly dives in. It is garbage. 


Say something nice, bro: It's got a nice groove to it. 


A note to 96.1 FM: I mentioned our local "classic rock" radio station last month and how they never play "Dream Weaver" (still haven't played it!!!). They do, however, play a shit ton of ZZ Top (ugh), ACDC (that's fine), and RHCP. Now, I'm not immune to the inherent grooviness found in the Chili Pepper's earlier output, but they don't play that stuff. They play this song. ALL THE TIME! Well, this one and that one from The Coneheads movie soundtrack. They play the Coneheads song! C'mon, 96.1 FM! Ever heard of a little song called "Higher Ground?" 


GEP insists: Following that link above will lead to hours of forehead slapping enjoyment. You're welcome. 


 31. "Self Esteem" (The Offspring)
   


I was a fan of The Offspring in high school. I'm not going to go back and alter my musical history. My friend Brent got me Smash for Christmas and we listened the shit out it. We also loved Bush. That's right. I enjoyed the music of Bush and The Offspring in high school. I also listened to a lot of ska. Oh, brother. Ska. 


There was probably a time when I really enjoyed "Self Esteem." I had a girl that I was utterly devoted to who embraced me or brushed me off completely depending on her mood, so I could relate to Dexter Holland's words. I also liked to jump frantically around my room to loud rock music until my parents yelled at me to stop shaking the whole house. As an adult, however, I listen to "Self Esteem"--and they play it all the damn time on, you guessed it, 96.1 FM--and one line strikes me as odd. I bet you already know what I'm going to write, but I'll write it anyway: 


"I took her back and I made her dessert." 


He made her dessert? Like, he made her an ice cream sundae or something? This song is dumb. 


 32. "3 Second Rule" (Lisa Gail Allred)  


For everyone who has had enough auto tune: are you sure?


33. "When She Was Mine" (Lawson)



You have to change your band's name, like, right now.  Seriously.  Change it.  I will sue.  




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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

You're an introvert? No, you're an asshole.

My name is Matt and I'm an introvert.  I'm one of those weird ones who craves massive amounts of attention and spirals into downright, beside-myself depression when I feel it's deserved and I don't get it, but that's my own cross to bear.  The point is, I'm an introvert and I always have been.   I've mostly shed the shyness part that comes with being a young introvert, but I still live primarily in my own head.


However, I am also a citizen of the world, and as such, I am forced to interact with other people, introverts and non-introverts alike.  I do not view this as some kind of unbearable burden, but rather the reality of being alive in a society populated by people with widely differing personalities.  I am able to live and thrive in this world by being respectful of other people's points of view, following the rules--written, unwritten, and traffic-based--and fostering a general attitude of 'who gives a shit' in most situations.  It's not difficult to be introverted and survive in modern society.  I mean, it isn't, right?


A couple of months ago, this appeared all over the place on Facebook:


As a proud introvert with many introvert friends, I was appalled.  This might be the dumbest thing I've ever seen.  How to Care for Introverts?  What are you, a special needs child?  A three-legged dog?  I assume you are neither one of these things as you have your own Facebook account on which to post this dreck.  You're an introvert.  You don't get special treatment.  No one should get special treatment, you know, other than special needs children and three-legged dogs.  If you find yourself in a situation that is not "introvert-friendly,' you grin and bear it like everyone else, asshole.  That's right.  I said asshole.  Let's look at this thing point by point.


1. Respect their need for privacy--Of course.  But you should respect everybody's need for privacy, shouldn't you?  This could be on a list of How To Care For All Human Beings and Some Monkeys.  Everyone deserves their privacy.  


2. Never embarrass them in public--Who enjoys being embarrassed in public?  Do introverts think extroverts enjoy public humiliation?  They don't.  Nobody does.  Why do you think Double Dare is no longer on the air?


3. Let them observe first in new situations--Who's stopping you from observing first in new situations?  Are you an introvert or a wuss?


4. Give them time to think; don't demand instant answers--It would be nice if people did this one consistently.  I'm faced with this bullshit at my place of employment several times a week.  I'm-a give you this one, introvert chart.


5. Don't interrupt them--You probably shouldn't interrupt anyone.  Especially me.  Not only am I an introvert who craves attention, but I also have a short fuse when it comes to being interrupted or ignored. You know what?  I may actually just be an asshole.  Let's read on and find out.


6. Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives--Oh, fuck you.  Sometimes this is just impossible.  Suck it up, introvert!


7. Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing--See above.


8. Reprimand them privately--Hey, if your boss or your boyfriend or some bully in the Home Depot parking lot is publicly reprimanding you, that's on them.  That person is making him/herself look bad.  


9. Teach them new skills privately--I should've been home schooled then?


10. Enable them to find one best friend who has similar interests & abilities--Who is keeping introverted people from making friends?  Whoever you are, stop it.


11. Don't push them to make lots of friends--Who is pushing introverted people to make lots of friends?  Whoever you are, stop it.


12. Respect their introversion; don't try to remake them into extroverts--How 'bout just respect everybody.


Look, introverts, I'm one of you.  I get it.  But, c'mon!  This fun little chart makes us look like a pack of assholes.  "Cater to me!  Respect my (implied) superiority to you!  Stop trying to be my friend!"  Ugh.  Can we just agree that being introverted doesn't mean that we are maladjusted?  We're just quiet, creative types who need a little more alone time than others.  That's all.



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