Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Monday, February 25, 2008

The 63rd Annual National Outdoor Show

Click the above foto for superhuge legible view.

Sea Corpse

By Brian Ralph.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The River

The Choptank River, Cambridge, Maryland.

"You're looking really A&F today, dude."

There's a two-year old article in Salon that's getting some new traction on teh Internets; hopefullly more people will read and think about it than those urban legends like the one about Tommy Hilfiger going on Oprah and totally hating on the fact that non-whites are buying his clothes.

Anyway, this article is one of those spectacular moments when the normally reclusive head of a massive, potentially evil culture/trend/corporation fucks up and talks to the press. This particular chap is a plasticine Svengali named Mike Jeffries (though given the lack of basic info on the guy, I'm thinking it's not his real name), the 61-year-old head of Abercrombie & Fitch. This is the lifestyle apparel conglomerate that includes the Hollister label, which, as author Benoit Denizet-Lewis puts it, "has quickly become the brand of choice for Midwestern teens who wish they lived in Laguna Beach, Calif."

The piece reveals that pretty much every creepy thing you suspect about these sorts of companies is true. Also, as a side theme, the article implies that A&F's popularity in the gay community may have a root in the owner's own dispositions. See, A&F is popular with the masses of straight, well-toned, intellectually bereft young America (and until recently, the company sold T-shirts with slogans like "Gentlemen Prefer Tig Ol' Bitties"), but it's actually totally gay, which is ironic, ha ha. Still, it's not much of revelation. What is unceasingly amusing to read is Jeffries' inability to shut up, which I imagine is related to his making $24 million in 2004.
As far as Jeffries is concerned, America's unattractive, overweight or otherwise undesirable teens can shop elsewhere. "In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," he says. "Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don't alienate anybody, but you don't excite anybody, either."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Burnt Sienna FTW

Crayon Physics Deluxe is another bright example of these stellar new generation of . . . well they're not games per se, they're more like toy-puzzles than anything. So it's one of these new digital toyzzles that evoke a big goofy childlike sense of play and fun. Also, they're cool as hell dammit!

Seen over on io9.

Speaking of Ninjas

Ninja Gaiden Black is very very very hard.

To Live And Die in Napoli

On the advice of the New York Times, I bought "Gomorrah", by Roberto Saviano. It's a massive bestseller (2 million copies) in countries not named U.S.A. (it's now available in 33 languages), and it's a book about an old-fashioned thing: crime and corruption in Naples. As a resident of a similar crime-ridden city/state with a strong and healthy tradition of murder and corruption (my Baltimore, see The Wire; also note that Omar is a ninja), the book is interesting on one level in the "my rotten town is more wicked than yours" sorta way (Naples utterly wins, as Saviano makes perfectly clear within the first chapter).

It came out last year (in English), but—perhaps because of the translation, or perhaps because of the innate Italian languor—it has a very 19th century feel to it. Also, this is probably due to the fact that Naples, in many ways, is still stuck in the sort of appalling semi-lawless horror through which many 19th century European regions suffered. Anyway, take out the scooters and cell phones and AK-47s, and it could be about Naples in 1808. Probably 1608, too. In a way, it's because of the means by which Saviano (a Neopolitan) gathered his info: he lived it, rather than recreating it (see: Sebastian Junger), but it's not the same as a blustery tell-all by some mob capo. He operated on the periphery (and sometimes within) of criminal activities, and he hung around wise guys (and kids), and he was in a lot of places he shouldn't have been. As such, he is now a man with a very large target painted on his head. But the feel of the book is that of a memoir of ancient sociology by a medieval chronicler, and I think it works.

There are a multitude of wonderful moments in the book so far: Here are three.

1. The genesis of a gown worn by Angelina Jolie (and the couture wear draping many a high-class dame) is (probably) revealed to be the product of near-slave labor shops run by a crime syndicate (read about this here, from WWD).

2. One female mob boss travels with a coterie of female bodyguards wearing bright yellow jumpsuits. Yes, like Kill Bill.

3. To teach young ganstas how to not be afraid of getting capped, the kids are taken to the outskirts of town, given a bulletproof vest to wear, and then they are shot. It emasculates the gun as a guaranteed death machine. It is effective.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I was wondering to myself the other day "What happened to Charlie Kaufman? Where'd he go? Did Hollywood have him blacklisted or killed or did he, like, transcend reality and is now living in my electricity?"

So because I forgot to remember that Charlie Kaufman is awesome, I missed this September 2006 L.A. times article about what he's doing next. And here's the best thing about his new film: The title's first word is unfuckingpronounceable.

The movie is called Synecdoche, New York. (Say "Schenectady" and you will be close enough; the town is in the movie.)

The plot? Says the L.A. Times's insider:

"Synecdoche" nominally concerns a theater director who thinks he's dying, and how that shapes his interactions with the world, his art and the women in his life. But it is really a wrenching, searching, metaphysical epic that somehow manages to be universal in an extremely personal way. It's about death and sex and the vomit-, poop-, urine- and blood-smeared mess that life becomes physiologically, emotionally and spiritually (Page 1 features a 4-year-old girl having her butt wiped). It reliably contains Kaufman's wondrous visual inventions, complicated characters, idiosyncratic conversations and delightful plot designs, but its collective impact will kick the wind out of you.

Here's the IMDB link. Their brief plot synopsis:

A theater director (Hoffman) struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he attempts to create a life-size replica of New York inside a warehouse as part of his new play.

The longer synopsis is more intriguing. Poop is not mentioned.

My Shiva, It's Full of Stars

The io9 sci-fi blog (one of the Devi-like arms of the Gawker god) is all over the awesomeness that is Bollywood Sci-Fi: Check out this and this.

The hottest property is S. Shankar's Robot, but it's in a bit of a development hell. Still, it will totally happen, and it will have a totally sick-ass budget of 1,000,000,000 rupees. That's $24,931,438. [Quickie comparo: Will Smith's 2004 I, Robot vehicle cost $105,000,000, and had not one dance number.]

Also via io9: Sanjay Dutt to Remake Ghostbusters.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Down and Out in Downey

Brief photo essay in LA Times today about the impending demolition of the Carpenter's Downey, Ca. home (Downey is between LA and Long Beach, a little east). Also noted is that the Carpenters named two apartment buildings they owned (also in Downey) after "Close to You" and "Only Just Begun." I am pretty sure that is the least rock and roll thing I have ever heard about the Carpenters, which is saying a lot. And don't even mention Karen's "victory" over John Bonham in the 70s Playboy best rock drummer readers' poll. Please.

Photo (and another opinion of the Carpenters) at Metroblogging LA.

Dispatch from The Colonel

There is a great man who walks this earth. His name is The Colonel.

He writes from his hunt country manse:

I'm thinking of running for mayor of Ocean City in 2010. I think I can win. I can't show my whole hand now, because it's in my pants. Sorry, my pocket. Looking for my bottle opener. Oh yes that's better.

Please review my slogans (below). Your good friend and future mayor of Ocean City would greatly appreciate it. And you will receive and ambassadorship to Delaware. And that is an ocean front ambassadorship my man. Cheers.
"No clams left behind."
"A kinder, gentler riptide."
"Nothing to fear but Annapolis and jellyfish stinging your eyeballs"
"Ask not what O.C. can do for you...But when is Happy Hour?"
"Free speed-boats and ham for everybody."
"Up all night with Freddie King, I got to tell you poker's insane."

Photo from

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Semper Fidel

In 1986, President of the Council of State, President of Cuba (position abolished), Prime Minister of Cuba (position abolished), Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces Fidel Castro once gave a speech in Havana that lasted for 7 hours and 10 minutes.

Another facially befurred leader, President Abraham Lincoln, delivered the Gettysburg Address in about two minutes.

Zombies on the Horizon

Let us all take up an extra dismembered arm and raise it skyward in the hope that Left 4 Dead will be as awesome as the peoples are saying it is.

Another good preview is here; excerpt:

In the heat of the moment, with the undead pouring into a hospital corridor, I took shelter in a room that had only one entrance. Without telling anyone else, I opted to peer around a corner and accidentally fell off a ledge, leaving me to face off against an entire warehouse of zombies all by myself. After standing in a doorway and spraying a room down with bullets, I forgot to check behind the door and got blindsided by a zombie when I walked in. Later on, I thought it'd be fun to play with a pipe bomb, so I threw one into an oncoming wave of zombies only to watch it bounce back my way thanks to their fast-moving legs.


Hollywood: Home of words on hilltops, as this Los Angeles Times story recounts.

(Photo via, via ffactory)

Looking Good

Dear My Wife:
Wondering what to get me for my birthday?
Wonder no more. I can do the metric-to-English conversions on the patterns.

Please to be finding more glorious revolutionary fashion at English Russia.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Putting On The Pants

Since it's 2008 now, it's time for a blog. Now that the kinks are all out of teh Internetz. Laser Pants will be the greatest blog created by me this year. I guarantee this.

The deer meat for crack motto is courtesy of Baltimore's John Waters, and he spoke it to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star-Tribune:

No, every day I'm inspired by things. I live in Baltimore, that always inspires me. Things happen to me in my daily life that are funny every day. I was in a bar in Baltimore and I asked a guy what he did for a living. He said, "Can I be frank? I trade deer meat for crack." I can't think that up. I could think of three movies about him. I mean, does he wait at a deer crossing sign and gun it when he needed a fix? It takes a while to get deer meat so you have to plan ahead, which isn't what most junkies do. Little things like that, anything can inspire me.