Archive for November 26th, 2008

The Petty Officer Gives Thanks

Last year at this time I wrote my first Ach, Ja and Nicht Nicht list as a way to give thanks to all the things that bring me joy and the few things that bring me sweet anger.  I have decided to make this a yearly tradition, so please join me in:

Ach, Ja and Nicht Nicht:  Petty Officer Edition

The Money & The Power – Ach, Ja and Nicht Nicht

Why did this show get an Ach, Ja and Nicht Nicht?  Because it is the most entertaining and horrible show I’ve ever seen.  It makes Rock Of Love look like Masterpiece Theatre.

First, the good.  The show dares to ask the question “What would The Apprentice be like with 1/10th the budget and with 50 Cent replacing Donald Trump?”  The answer is hilarious.  For example, instead of “You’re fired,”  the tag line is “Get the fuck out.”  That 50 sure does have a way with words.  Plus he reads and shit.

The show mostly consists of 50 Cent pretending to know a lot about finance and investment while wearing Steve Harvey suits , and 12 fame-whores trying to impress him.  By far my favorite contestant is Cornbreadd, with two Ds, the Houston rapper.

The show also features two teams competing in bizarre challenges with no discernable connection to business and a very underwhelming set built in an abandoned warehouse.  Why MTV decided to green light a show called The Power and the Money about a guy with no real power and then put no money into said show is beyond me.  The result is comical, yet very hard to watch.  Meg and I have yet to make it all the way through an episode.

The show garnered a Nicht Nicht for one specific reason:  I’m convinced that 50 Cent is single handedly trying to negate all of the progress that Barack Obama has made recently.  I think this show has the potential to set the Civil Rights Movement back by a couple of years.  This show features so many blatant stereotypes and so much open racism that I am convinced that there must be a nefarious reason it exists.

Chuck Klosterman – Ach, Ja

This man never ceases to amaze me.  I just finished his first actual novel, and I absolutely loved it.  His ability to transcribe inner monologues onto the written page is unparalleled.  While Chuck is primarily known for writing essays, his style translated perfectly into his debut work of fiction.

Downtown Owl develops around three characters in a small town, but the novel is more about the interactions of small town life.  Nothing I say will really do his writings justice, so instead you check out a different sample of his style.  Here is a very recent review Chuck wrote about Chinese Democracy, where he hilariously compares reviewing the album to a reviewing a Unicorn.  Spot on.

Long Dead Bands Putting Out New Music – Nicht Nicht

Speaking of Chinese Democracy, WTF!?!  Apparently the album is finally out in stores.  Say it ain’t so!

First off, when one member of a five-piece band records an album featuring none of the other four members, I believe it should be referred to as a side-project or a solo album.

Second, who thinks this was a good idea?  An egomaniacal asshole spends fifteen years in the studio, fires everyone he’s ever worked with, misses countless deadlines, and finally decided to release the album on a Sunday, and only at Best Buy?1

And speaking of bad ideas, word is that Paul McCartney is moving forward to release from the vault a fifteen-minute-never-heard-avant-garde-Beatles-song ?  Macca must be stopped!

Look, I have no problem with bands reuniting to play old songs.  The Pixies showed how wonderful this can be back in 2004.  Just recently, My Bloody Valentine played a triumphant reunion show after a fifteen year break.  And best of all, this month Jane’s Addiction played two shows in LA with all four original members.  That is extremely exciting!

The important thing to note here is that these bands all just stuck with their original songs and didn’t try and write any new material.  New songs from old bands are universally a bad idea.  The only way a band can continue to release quality tunes is if they never brake up in the first place.  Bands have to evolve into a new sound, not take a decade-or-two break and then start again from scratch.  I certainly hope this trend stops soon, but let’s just say I’m less than optimistic…

Fallout 3 – Ach, Ja

This game has taken up quite a bit of my free time lately, and it’s easy to see why.  I’m not gonna nerd-out and gush about the kick-assattuide of this game; instead I will just sum up why I like said game.  It’s basically a mix of my two favorite video-game series, Grand Theft Auto and Resident Evil, but set in an apocalyptic Washington D.C.  If you’re into video games and would like to hear more, just ask and I’ll give you an earful of dweebness.

Missouri Voters – Nicht Nicht

Like many other people in 2004, I knew Missouri would go for Bush. This time around, I had no idea who would win and neither did anyone else.  We were the only state that Five Thirty Eight wouldn’t call; they correctly called 48 of the other 49.

I went to bed late on election nite not knowing which way Missouri swung.  After a massive recount that lasted a few weeks the results confirmed what I originally feared:  Missouri went for McCain.  After choosing correctly in 25 of the past 26 presidential elections, we are no longer a bell weather state .  Granted, McCain won by less than 4,000 votes out of the almost 3 million cast.  But still, I am a bit disappointed in Missouri voters for essentially choosing this.2

I thought that Missouri would move past the rural-vs.-city mentality that has dominated state politics over the last decade.  But a quick look at the presidential election results shows that not much has changed.

Perhaps the most surprising result to me is that the democratic candidate for Governor, Jay Nixon, beat the Republican by almost 20%, yet Obama still lost.  20% of Missouri voters picked Nixon and McCain!?!  That seems a bit odd.  I guess that means that many Republicans in the state did not vote straight-ticket this year, which is a cause for celebration.  Still, I think that probably has more to do with the universally-terrible job our first-term Republican Governor, Matt Blunt, during his four years in office.

Steve Martin On 30 Rock – Ach, Ja

I’ve been a huge fan of Steve Martin since I was a kid.  But over the last decade, I’ve slowly been pulling away.  He is still capable of comedy greatness, but it seems to happen less and less as his career progresses.  For every Bowfinger like achievement, there are two Pink Panthers or Cheaper By The Dozens failures.

Last week’s 30 Rock episode was a triumphant and long overdo return to form.  His zany persona fit perfectly into an already kooky/witty show full of ringers.

I hope he goes back to making the quality movies that defined him in the 80s and early 90s.  In my book, nothing beats vintage Steve Martin.

Four More Months Of Winter – Nicht Nicht

Last February I discovered just how unaccustomed my body was to cold weather.  After a month in St. Louis, I was ready for the mildness of Florida.  What I failed to realize is that in Missouri there is no end to the cold for quite some time.  While my body can adjust to short term cold, I am in no way ready for a prolonged period of cold.  It’s not gonna be warm again until freakin’ April!  That’s four more months of dry-skin, chapped lips, heavy coats and shivering.  Is it too late to move back to Florida?

White Boy Cornrows – Nicht Nicht

Two of my previous Nicht Nichts prominently feature a white boy sporting cornrows, and I feel the need to condemn this practice.  Axl Rose has been rocking a terrible head full of cornrows for most of this decade.  And now one of the contestants, Ryan, on The Power And The Money also has a set of these terrible locks.

This needs to be stopped.  I know that white boys have been co-opting black culture for decades now, but this is too much.

Oscar Season – Ach, Ja

One of the only good things about winter is the massive release of the Oscar bait movies that occurs around the new year.  2008 looks to have quite a strong showing, and will feature films by three of my favorite directors.  Danny Boyle of Trainspotting fame is releasing Slumdog Millionaire.

Darren Aronofsky, director of one of my absolute favorites films The Fountain, is releasing The Wrestler

And the ridiculously talented David Fincher, known primarily for Fight Club, is releasing The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

These three men have an amazing body of work between them.  Hopefully their films will add to their status much like No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood did for the Cohens and PT Anderson last year.

The Road – Nicht Nicht

Speaking of movies that I am looking forward to, The Road is at the top of the list.  Meg and I read the book last winter and absolutely loved it.  Why then the Nicht Nicht?

The movie was supposed to be released in time for the Oscars this year, but has since been pushed back indefinably.  It sucks that I will have to wait longer to see the film, but that’s not why I am upset.  The pushback probably indicates that there are major problems with the finished product, and likely means the film will have to undergo revisions.  This has destroyed many a good film in the past, and I really hope that it does not happen to a story with so much potential.

The Mainstreaming Of My High School Outcast Tendencies – Nicht Nicht

Back in the glorious mid-90s, I was known throughout my high school for a number of things.  I was primarily identified by my peers for either my eccentric alternativey/gothey style or my association with the theatre department.  This cemented my status as the most visible outcast in the school.

Nowadays this would apparently make me virtually indistinguishable from most of my high school peers.  I know I will not be the first or the last person to complain about this, but seriously WTF?  When did dressing dark/kooky and joining the theatre department become mainstream?  I was reminded on a daily basis how uncool this was back when I was in school.

I could go on and on about the ridiculousness of this “outsiders are the new insiders” trend and complain non-stop about the blatant co-option of the rebellion image, but it’s all been said before.  The only thing left to do at this point is laugh, which has recently been remarkably easier thanks to the last two episodes of South Park.

The parody of the High School Musical films was pretty spot-on, but last week’s Goths vs. Vampires episode was perfect.  Damn I love the South Park goth kids.  The scene with them drinking coffee at the all night diner was the funniest thing I’ve seen in quite a while.3

Hats – Ach, Ja

Not to sound stupid, but I kinda forgot that hats can provide warmth to my head.  I’ve been walking around for the past two weeks thinking about ways to warm myself up, and a hat simply did not occur to me.  Which is funny since I own a great many hats.

For the past three years, I’ve primarily used hats to either cover-up my messy hair, show my allegiance for a particular sports team, or to indicate that I am piloting a boat.  Warmth never entered the equation.  Well, no more.  With four more months of cold weather, it looks like it’s gonna be a hat kinda winter.

Ciao,

The Petty Officer

1  Actually, Universal released the album.  Much like Paramount releasing the new Indiana Jones movie, it points to the effects of corporatization of the entertainment industry.  This will result in many more new/crappy versions of beloved classics.

2  I was also highly disappointed that St. Louis voted down the expansion of our light-rail system, but I figured that would probably happen.  We’ve been voting down mass-transit for decades.

3  And major bonus points for the “Burning Down The Hot Topic” gothic tune that plays in the back ground during the episode.

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