"It's like one of those things you wish you could unlearn"

Guys, I know this might not be the best time -- what with the blog in the middle of a recession and all -- but I feel like this was news I needed to break.

We all knew it was bad, but who knew it was this bad:
Friday Night Lights Actor Ages:

Leila=28 (!)

That information comes straight from the horse's mouth -- and by that I mean from an FNL fan blog.

Collectively, they're 145 years old.


On the Nature of Sweet: "Concepts of." One mailer's call for a shift in discourse

See other posts in the "Is this sweet?" series.
See other posts in the "On the Nature of Sweet" series (more focused on the philosophy of sweetness).

This idea has been ruminating with me since I happened upon Epic Mail, in the midst of a torrential debate on the theory of Sweet. I would now like to present my own findings and, by complicating the matter, clear things up completely.

A rudimentary (though initially necessary for the fledgling beginings of so grand an undertaking) handling of The Sweet brought us to a dead end argument on subjectivity which is, of itself, subjective. Would a shrieking Axl Rose think to himself, before bursting into flames "this is actually pretty sweet?" A question whose elements are so varied cannot be successfully answered by so simple an analysis as has heretofore been presented.

The following factor must also be brought into consideration: "The concept of. . ."

In our own case study on sweetness (to paraphrase: an intentionally broken bottle of 90 minute causes a huge tanker explosion) I believe we were lost in the specifics of this particular combination of events. Had we been examining the concepts at work, a fervent though ultimately endless discussion would not have been necessary.

For an initial, separate test I pose the question "Is Epic Mail sweet?" We would find ourselves in the same "can we separate all the non-sweet posts from the totally sweet posts? what is a sweet post? what is The Sweet? What is The?" dead-end trajectory by applying our former methodology. Or we can simply ask "Is the concept of Epic Mail sweet?" Yes. Yes it is. While we may not always live up to our own standard, the concept of Epic Mail remains sweet. A ship whose course can be ever righted. Question answered.

I return now to our case study. I believe it more fruitful to begin by asking not "is smashing a bottle 90 minute sweet? what if a shard severs the head of an oncoming fast-zombie? what if that zombie was a zombie Dave?" Let us begin on more prosperous, not preposterous, ground. "Is the concept of intentionally smashing a bottle of 90 minute sweet?" No. No it is not. You may ask all the "well what if the still attached bottle cap ricocheted several times, and at the end of its journey folded into the exact shape of a walrus?" It matters not. The concept of intentionally breaking a bottle of 90 minute will never be sweet, no matter the specific consequences of any given instance.

Now I know what you may say, "may this not, eventually, lead to the same fuitless path?" Nay. Nay it shan't. Instead of debating the subjective merits of meaningless minutae ("what if Axl wears a Minus the Bear shirt?"), we can truly address the molten center of the issues presented. If the concept of intentionally breaking a bottle of 90 minute is not sweet, then why? Destroying delicious microbrew, environmental waste, public endangerment. Let us come to the argument on these grounds gentlemen. That would truly be Epic.

I leave you with this thought.

The concept of the concept of everything coming up huge is coming up huge, and that is sweet.

Daves and Daving: The Album

How do we revitalize the Blog? How do we, in the words of the poet, ensure that this is no "epic fail?" Well, Eddie has got me thinking. And what's more, I know, after reading Eddie's post, what you're thinking:

"Hmm, what should I do with all those throwaway songs I've written about Dave but keep hidden in the deepest recesses of my hard drive? I've always wanted to play them for someone, but could never find the audience! Besides, what if Dave finds out? It will be embarrassing."

Well, let me tell you something. You're thinking it, I'm thinking it, we are all thinking it. I think it's time we got this Blog back together. Through music. And Dave.

I'm going to suggest that we all comb through our music drives and ITunes folders, find all the songs we've written and sung about Dave, and post them on the site! I've always wondered what I should do with the light-hearted, country romp I call "You Still Look Like Tom Green (Even With the Beard)," and the aching wistfulness of "Novembers with Dave," not to mention the smooth, Captain and Tennille-inspired sounds of "Always a Jew to Me" and the jazzy bossanova of "The McClendon Shuffle." I may even introduce the world to "Dave Meditiation #34," an in-progress avant garde work in the tradition of John Cage. I can only hope that such classics as Matt Newman's outlandishly raunchy re-working of a Tallest Highest standard, "New Pair of Thighs," and Brandon Martin's kid-friendly singalong "D is for Dave," will be included. Hearing those songs will certainly take me back! Who knows, maybe I can even scrounge up some gritty Zach Brown B-sides and rarities. We all know how many Dave songs he's got in his back catalogue!

As the aforementioned Captain once told us, "Love will keep us together." What he neglected to add after "love" was "of Dave." And what better way to demonstrate such love AND steer our Blogship around, than to show Dave, and the world, every song we've written about him.

I hope you're with me.

Don't Be Sad

David will you come again?
tell me what you said
that the blog is slowly dying
and irrelevant?

David will you come again?
tell me what you said
that Epic Mail is really
just an epic fail?

David will you come again?
tell me what you said
You really only "got 'em'd"
to your own self

David will you come again?
tell me what you said
post again and I promise
girl, I'll make love to you

Eddie Charlton- David, will you come again?


I'm also pissed that I missed this part of the blog

The Change We Need

Good morning, internet. About a month ago, my computer hit Y2K and it wasn't until yesterday that I rejoined this marvelous century in which ammunition storage is not measured in terms of days. I hereby accept your invitation to blog. I will be the change we can count on. Second, effective immediately I fully revive this blog. Seriously. Don't let this be one of those things that I somehow don't get in on until after it's pretty much already dead and I've been lost and probably wandered into some Stairwells house party and left with a case and a half of beer and some girl's phone number whose name I don't know. And somehow you fuckers had a better time than I did. Fuck you guys. I'm leaving this blog. Gonna start my own blog.

I need to catch up on past topics. I see Luke (are we using real names or is this like CB radio?) already dropped Palin Syrah on you (10-4!). But I get paid to get a buzz and type awesome shit into the state ABC site for wine distributors. I'll make it a point to add them as I find or remember them.

Proposal- scrap mad dawgs night next time and go with a bro man night.

not to worry. already ordered it.


Hey, remember 2000?

Guilty Pleasure of the Week

On this blog we like to ask the question, "Is this sweet?" but for this particular post I'm going to bypass this question and simply tell you, "Yes, this IS sweet."

This band and this song probably get tons of airplay on the Disney Channel and TRL but I don't really care. I first saw this video a few days ago on mtvU. Had I just heard the song, I might not have given it a second listen; the visual experience really sold it. Male and female alike cannot deny that these girls are almost TOO good-looking to all be in the same band. Unlike other bands composed almost exclusively of girls (i.e. I'm thinking the Pippettes or Sleater Kinney - got 'em, Steph) it's impossible to say with any real authority which one is "the hot one." The one question I have is "Who is that drummer guy and why does he get to be in the band?"

Now, a relevant question you might ask is "Is this blog post sweet?" and you might be right in saying "No way." However, I don't really care. This blog is slowly dying and losing relevancy to us and our audience. If this post serves as a catalyst for more posts, even if their sole purpose is to mock this post, then I lay myself down on the Epic altar.

And just to obviate any easy replies: Got 'em.


A Letter to the Advice Column that (now) is Epic Mail

Here is a mack whose success has forever eluded me: the concert mack. How is it done? How can anyone pull this off? I'm mystified. This weekend, in addition to the aforementioned Steampunk Festival, I will be attending at least two shows in the city. And purely in the interest of providing relevant material for this blog (nothing more, I assure you), I will be macking. Hard. Or more likely I'll be sedulously pounding PBR's in the corner alone, hoping Jay Reatard doesn't kick me in the face. But you never know.

Basically, I need some help. Has anyone here completed a successful concert mack? It seems like everyone's parents met through such a mack back in the 70's. Whatever happened to its efficacy? Or am I merely a marked failure in this regard? How can I achieve a successful rock show mack?


Mackless in New Jersey

The Jeebus Effect

What the hell am I supposed to take from this poll? Christ hates the idea of gay marriage in California? LOVES gay marriage? Is just really psyched about seeing Sean Penn in Milk?



Know your MEME -- Epic Mail edition

For everyone's edification, here's a bi-monthly update on the state of our memes:

In Full Force:
- Huge mack
- "I'm PC. I'm PC."
- Dippin his shrimp into a bit of white wine

Late Stage Maturity:
- Is this sweet?

- How far is ____? COOL
- Boom.
- Epic mail (the adjective)

Additions; retractions?



a tour across the Everglades
we'll dip along the Palisades
I can show you so much more

Eddie Charlton- Skywriter In Love


Steampunk Fest 2008: An Urban Odyssey

Conveniently enough, given the recent thematic trends of this blog, I am to attend the following event this weekend:
In addition to being a whimsical, anachronistic frolic (which it assuredly will be), this event will provide me with a unique ethnographical opportunity. Namely, it will be my privilege, to observe (but can I really stay a detached, disinterested spectator?) and evaluate the STEAMPUNK MACK, in its purest and most undiluted form. A full report will follow on Sunday!


Oh Hell Yeah

I am so happy. I just learned today that a documentary is being made about The Lilys, my favorite band. K. Heasley is totes sweet.

Everything Wrong is Imaginary( TEASER) from Ein on Vimeo.

"Ze Goggles, Zey Do Nothing"

See other posts in the "Evaluate the Mack" series.

By now, I'm sure everyone is familiar with Mystery, star of the VH1 show "The Pickup Artist." This guy's mack is so inexplicably huge that he's made a living off his personal mack brand. Though volumes could be written about the details of the Mystery Method, I just want to explore one aspect --

Does anyone see the common thread here? That's right -- it's HUGE FUCKING GOGGLES. Dude has a goggle mack. Mystery has used this trick for a while, but if season 2 is any indication, he's made the goggles a permanent fixture on his head.

When I think of aesthetics that incorporate goggles as a vital centerpiece, one thing comes to mind: Steampunk.

For the uninitiated:
"'Steampunk fashion' has no set guidelines, but tends to synthesize modern styles as filtered through the Victorian era. This may include gowns, corsets, petticoats and bustles; gentlemen's suits with vests, coats and spats; or even military-inspired garments. Often, steampunk outfits will be accented with a mixture technological and period accessories: timepieces, parasols, goggles and ray guns." - Wikipedia Steampunk Entry

To further my point:
"Every cult has its fetish object. For punk, it's the safety pin; for ravers, it's glow sticks and pacifiers; for cyberpunk, it's mirror-shade sunglasses. For steampunk, it's goggles." -- Wired.com

Given Mystery's attachment to goggles and bizarre Victorian clothing --


Side note: consider this picture:

A swimming pool is the one conceivable place where a goggle mack might actually work. And when he's at a pool, what does Mystery do? He puts on headphones!? The most inappropriate pool electronic accessory? COME ON!


Hey Joe

At the end of the debate last night, David bet me a whole beer (!) that the most talked about moment of the debate would be when McCain referred to Obama as "Senator Government". By now, I think we can safely conclude that David is dead wrong, and dangerous for our country, because I've yet to read an article that even mentioned that moment.

What WAS the highlight of the debate, it turns out, was Joe Wurzelbacher (Alias: Joe the Plumber). So, I thought I'd post a video of Obama's actual conversation with him earlier this week, and then a few thoughts about what he means for our "democracy".

The conclusion you come to after watching this video is that you simply cannot win over League of Moron voters with substance. Joe the Plumber is obviously a card carrying member (as well as a hardcore conservative), which is why it is so infuriating to have him thrust into the media spotlight now as the spokesperson of the undecided middle class.

That being said, Obama gave just about the best pitch he could. He sat and talked with JtP for a good 15 minutes, and he tried to give a super-nuanced argument in favor of a progressive tax system. But the guy had already been won over by Steve Forbes, Mike Huckabee, or some other jackass, meaning a 'flat tax' is the only thing he will ever understand/support. Near the end of this discussion, Obama happens to use the phrase "spreading the wealth" in passing. McCain advisers pick up on it, decide to brand it as 'class warfare' (for the love of God someone tell me how shifting a tax bracket back to 39% after being 36% for eight years is fucking class warfare), and that's the only reason why we're talking about Joe today.

What's particularly infuriating is that the lengthy, substantive back and forth that BO and Joe had is the exact type of dialogue that McCain used to be famous for at his 'town halls.' McCain hated it when people took quotes from those strikingly honest discussions out of context, and then he goes and does that in the absolute worst way.

But seriously, check out what Obama said to this guy. It's really well done. Then check out Joe's response to the media:

"I asked the question, but I still got a tap dance ... almost as good as Sammy Davis Junior."

Then, kill yourself.



Edgar Keats (10:36 PM): I did shit the bed. Sorry.

Coaltrain (10:23 PM):
Obama just threw the X-box playing crowd under the bus. Good thing he's got ads out in their games to win them back:

Edgar Keats (10:20 PM): In regards to McCain's education policy: Fuck you.

Coaltrain (10:06 PM):
Brandon, you're really shitting the bed here. I blame you entirely for the state of this liveblog.

Speaking of gaffes, McCain just got "mixed up" and called Obama "Senator Government". I don't want to think about the number of times I will have to hear again from the National Review, et al.

Edgar Keats (10:04 PM):
Thanks, John McGAFFE.

Honestly, I haven't been paying attention since we stopped talking about Bill Ayers.

Coaltrain (9:59 PM): McCain: I don't have a healthcare plan, and I've got the scars to prove it.

Coaltrain (9:42 PM):
OK, Obama killed it w/ his response on the Ayers. I'm in a slightly better mood, even if this fucking CNN focus group from Ohio isn't.

Coaltrain (9:28 PM):
Fuck. I think Obama might have taken that whole 'he won in the last debate because he was cool/even-tempered' thing too much to heart. He's got that sleepy look, and McCain is getting in a lot of good lines.

Edgar Keats: (9:20 PM):

Coaltrain (9:17 PM): McCain really needs to stop referring to the Great Depression like he was an active participant. And OMG HE'S BRINGING UP THAT PLANETARIAN PROJECTOR AGAIN (Dave, our resident AV nerd, corrects McCain by calling it an "LED Projector")

Edgar Keats (9:12 PM):
Dave's Response: "WHO THE FUCK IS JOE THE PLUMBER?!?!?!?!? FUCK Joe the Plumber."

Coaltrain (9:09 PM):
First 'GOT EM' award of the night: Obama's line that "McCain looks like he's been watching McCain's attack ads".

Coaltrain (9:03 PM):
OK, neither candidate has even started talking and the lines are moving on CNN's insta-response-poll thingy. The men in particular seem to be getting jumpy when they hear Bob Shaeffer.

Vatican Gangster

In case you weren't already convinced that Pope John Paul II was pretty much the hardest Pontiff ever (FUCK YOU ALEXANDER VI), news comes out today that in 1982 -- a year after having been shot four times -- His Holiness got STABBED in a crowd, yet somehow managed to keep the whole incident under wraps.

The murker-to-be? Some pissed off right-wing Spanish priest. The whole incident has been brought to light by JPII's personal aide of 40 years, who's now trying to make a buck off a movie or some shit.


Evaluate the Mack: Chi-City Man Part 4

See other posts in the "Evaluate the Mack" series.

Firstly, great debut post, Matt. We need this sort of focused thought on the mack.

Regarding the various theories about Chi-City Man, or CCM as I'll be referring to him from henceforth, I remain dubious.

While I found Mr. Sherrill's postmodern exploration of CCM's mack-as-mack to be brilliant, the convoluted conspiracy theory that followed was pure fiction. A corporate pawn? Viral advertising? Preposterous. I hardly see how CCM could be, in fact, getting money and getting paid for his video. I heartily agree with Newman -- who, as I might remind our readers, has the business credentials to support his claims -- that this theory is ridiculous. Indeed, Newman provides a much more compelling framework: "What was seen as a '7-minute commercial' is in fact a 7-minute slice of a mack based entirely on commerce." To borrow a hipsterrunoff concept, CCM has carved out a personal brand for himself, as well as identifying which products mesh with the personal brands of his would-be lovers -- all to achieve an efficient mack.

As these conspiracy theories appear, however, it becomes clear that CCM has some serious explaining to do. Newman is the first to bring up the central mystery of his video: Why does he cover the camera lens when walking around the house? What does CCM have to hide? Unlocking this secret will reveal the true nature of his mack.

While I've supported Newman to this point, his assertion that the fridge must belong to a mother-with-child is untenable. No responsible mother with kids would brazenly store alcoholic beverages throughout -- especially the delicious juice-mimicking ones. In addition, the alarming lack of food should make this argument suspicious. Most importantly, NO fridge in a household with kids stays that tidy and stocked. It's simply not possible. This fact alone should be enough to metaphorically defenestrate the mother theory with much force.

But clearly CCM doesn't want us to see his house. I can think of only two possible explanations:

1) CCM is actually married, and both he and his wife have boring corporate jobs. Their house is filled with potpourri and kitschy junk that has accumulated over the years. CCM's only refuge is his PS3. This leads us to the alarming realization that CCM actually has NO MACK, because he is married. He attempts to escape his suburban midlife ennui by making ridiculous claims as to his prowess with women via YouTube, the haven for idiots who would be impressed by just such a video.

2) OR, perhaps CCM is actually sixteen years old, and is house-sitting for family friends. He is stoned out of his mind (thus the pizza), and spends all afternoon clearing out their fridge, pulling out all their fancy drinks, and filming a video.

That being said, I'm open to alternative theories.


Evaluate the Mack: Chi-City Man Part 3

See other posts in the "Evaluate the Mack" series.

I would like to begin by commending Mr. Sherrill on his keen insight into Chi-City Man's use of the Mack Mack, and thanking Mr. Beers for the introduction of this dialogue. I will agree that while Chi-City Man poses in the guise of an educator, his mack could be of a hugeness to overtake this "instructional video." For a later "Evaluate the Mack," indeed the case study in the Mack Mack, I would propose what could be known as the Mystery mack. Where, by asserting oneself as the keeper of all macks, one announces to the opposite sex "I will mack so hard, with such efficiency, your resistance is folly." In this way a Mack in the sense of the Beverage Mack is not even required. Every facet of your being becomes a mack. Your tattoo? Mack. Your billowy pirate shirt? Mack. The binoculars hanging around your neck? Yes. Mack. However, if Chi-City Man merits a singular "Evaluate the Mack," surely Mystery deserves, at minimum, equal consideration.

While the evaluation of C-CM's mack was sound, I found myself confused by Sherrill's reactionist, baseless claims of "corporate advertising" and possible monetary compensation for Chi-City Man's work. This claim is predicated on the notion that somehow Chi-City Man, who put us on to the whip game, was able to coordinate an international effort with the marketing departments of, at the very least, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Diageo plc, Triarc Companies and Arizona Beverage. While I believe Chi-City Man to be honest in his intent to both "Get Money" and "Get Paid", are we to believe this herculean effort was accomplished by a man so easily impressed by a trash can available at Target? That, in addition to the Beverage Mack, Chi-City Man possesses some manner of Beverage Advertising Conglomerate Mack? If so, I will drop my vagina panties all over the place.

Mr. Sherrill, in his whimsical if not entirely misguided analysis, misrepresents the brand-laden nature Chi-City Man's mack. What was seen as a "7-minute commercial" is in fact a 7-minute slice of a mack based entirely on commerce. I submit to you, the Diversified Brand Portfolio Mack. Advertisers predicate their work on a foundation in three parts. Segment. Target. Position. To use our current case, Chi-City Man identifies several Segments of the beverage drinking populace. The Mature Chick Over 30 Who Still Drinks Juice. Becky, the Suburban Chick. The Hood Chick. The Holistic, Vegetarian, I Don't Eat Meat, I'm Real Earthy type fucking Erikah Badu Chick. Each of the Brands in Chi-City Man's refrigerator reflects a decision by the above companies to Target these Segments, and Position themselves in the market accordingly. While I do not believe C-CM to have taken any money from corporations, he appears to have been taking extensive notes. By acquiring and arranging all of these brands by target, Chi-City Man is his own brand conglomerate, whose diversified offerings ring the "Booty Register" on a consistent basis. While not having coordinated a formal contract with the above beverage giants, he has built a portfolio of beverages that would be the envy of Indra Nooyi herself.

But I remain vexed, and am anxious to present this final curiosity. While C-CM presents this refridgerator as the source of his mack, where is the stronger alcohol, so crucial to Macks such as the Frat Party Mack, and the Live-Band Karaoke Mack? Why is the lense covered when we move from kitchen to gaming area? What is on the walls that would be so tragic to be shown on camera? How can he so acurately know the facets and moods of the woman-with-child beverage drinker? I can come only to the following conclusion: Chi-City Man lives with his Mama. The sloppy camera work means to hide family photos on the walls and motherly trinkets on the counters. We are to be destracted from this realization by his "fascination" with "Italian tile." I'm no fool. The fridge so carefully filled with woman-with-child-attracting beverages was in fact stocked by a woman-with-child. While this particular study has expanded the boundaries of Mack Theory, I believe we are hearing from nothing more than a Chi-City Boy.


All I Want To Know Is: Who's Coming With Me?

Seriously, it appears I can print as many of these puppies as I want.

And it's no longer at the Arthur Ashe Center, b/c apparently someone, somewhere in the McCain campaign has a sense of irony.

The new venue is Richmond International Raceway.

Anyone up for a lynch mob?

Chi-City Man, the Art of the Mack, and the Semiotics of Advertisement: Some Thoughts

See other posts in the "Evaluate the Mack" series.

First off, let me thank Andy for taking the general discourse of this blog in a very welcome direction. And what better place to begin than a discussion of Chi-City Man? Here are some musings, inspired by repeated viewings.

I find it curious that this video is not really advice on how to have a great mack, as much as it is an advertisement of Chi-City Man's own mack. In other words, the video in which he purports to give macking advice, is a mack in itself. One might call it the "mack" mack. The macking strategies he promulgates are self-evidently preposterous. A fridge full of drinks, "all the way to the back," as, "this ain't no front shit," is much more likely to inspire raised eyebrows and confusion than a rough and tumble sex rumpus. Chi-City Man is no fool. He is well aware of this absurdity, just as he realizes the lunacy of promoting his "Italian floor tiles" and "Egyptian" wastebin (I mean, are we really to believe that he's never seen a "chrome" trashcan?). The point here is to demonstrate confidence. If, in a video ostensibly directed towards fellow males, he displays this degree of aplomb, "you can only imagine," he implicitly coos to the theoretical woman viewer, "how sure I am of my sexual and romantic abilities." The weaknesses of the mack are transformed into strengths, and the mack scores. He wins additional points by convincing knuckleheads into actually practicing his beverage mack, thereby decreasing competition. Brilliance.
It is fitting that the video takes the essential generic form of the advertisement, as Chi-City Man, as interested in self-promotion as he is, also seems dedicated to the art of shameless product placement. The video is an endorsement for the entire beverage industry as a whole. The various "types" of women he alludes to, after all, come to encompass the entire drinking population of this country. I'm not entirely convinced this isn't a corporate ploy. If it is, it's ingeniously contrived. Note the first products that Chi-City Man demonstrates enthusiasm for: The Italian tiles, and the Egyptian wastebin. These products are clearly desirable for their foreign pedigree. He eschews name-brands for the mark of foreign, international distinction. Egypt is not, to my knowledge, famous for their trashcans, nor Italy for floor tiles. In this sense it could just as easily have been a Swedish blender or a Hungarian toaster oven. Chi-City Man, it would seem, is a man of cosmopolitan sensibilities, and that's all that matters. But no, therein lies the clever ruse. He proceeds to open his fridge, and barrage his viewers with product names. It is not a cherry cola, but a cherry coke. Not a fruit juce or tea, but Kool-Aid and Snapple. But we viewers have already become convinced of the fact that Chi-City Man is not some mindless consumer, taken in and bamboozled by brand-names and corporate advertising. Therefore, we don't object to the shameless promotion nearly as much as we should. And at that point, we've been had. What is the last piece of advice Chi-City Man gives us? In a cruel irony, he exhorts us to "get money" and "get paid." Guess what? He just did. Not only has Chi-City Man won, both romantically and monetarily, but some sinister beverage conglomerate has also profited. The only losers are male viewers, who cannot profit by his advice, aren't interested in sleeping with him, and have just been hoodwinked into watching a 7-minute commercial.

Evaluate the Mack: Chi-City Man Part 2

See other posts in the "Evaluate the Mack" series.

This is part two of the first installment of the "Evaluate the Mack" series.

I realized that I just had so much more to say about the subject of our last post.

First, his name is Chi-City Man, and apparently he invented ghost-riding the whip -- or he at least claims to have introduced it to us. Clearly, he is to be trusted.

Nuance of Chi-City Man's mack that I missed on my first pass:
- The Italian tile mack. wtf?
- His chrome garbage can mack. Who has a garbage can from Egypt? Seriously. Girls can see themselves in it. That's chrome, baby. Egyptian chrome.
- His larger "mack" philosophy revealed: "If [my friend] could just do small things to his shit, like his kitchen and his bathroom, he'll have women everywhere droppin' panties vaginas." So, Chi-City Man, I'll make sure to do small things to my shit.
- A bizarre inconsistency: he proudly displays two bottles of spray-butter and some barbecue sauce... but what food can he even put it on? Having seen his fridge, I have to assume that he puts a lot of BBQ sauce on oreos and frozen pizza.
- Judging from his elaborate plans for keeping kids preoccupied, he's definitely a veteran of the "mom" mack

Clearly his mack is huge -- otherwise I don't see why he would go to such pains to keep his fridge so meticulously stocked. So I suppose there's something to be learned here.

Evaluate the Mack: Chi-City Man

See other posts in the "Evaluate the Mack" series.

I'd like to kick off a new Epic Mail series: "Evaluate the Mack." Since I believe we've hit a brief intellectual wall with the concept of sweetness, I figured we could introduce a new series for some variety. This is an extension of Dave's previous exploration of macking. I eschewed the series' initially proposed title, "Macks of the World," since I don't want to exclude any analysis of domestic or hypothetical macks. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the term "macking," I think that "hitting on" will serve as a reasonable short-term substitute. But I humbly request that one of our authors writes a piece that lays down the basics of "the mack."

So, let's move on to our first case study:

Some possible names for this mack: the beverage mack, the drink mack, the fridge mack, or the "prepared" mack. I think that "the beverage mack" is most apt, since it clearly describes a drink-centered mack while emphasising variety. Since this mack is hypothetical (rather than field-tested in the video) we can only speculate as to its efficacy.

Despite the flashy display of drinks, our subject -- let's call him Canard -- hints at the true foundation of his mack: comfort. Clearly, this comfort mack is a solid choice. It's often overlooked, but let's not forget the glowing endorsement of mater pickup artist Mystery. So Canard has bet his money that an expansive drink selection will put women at ease, thus enhancing his potential to woo them. Solid, Canard, solid.

Did anyone else find it bizarre, though, that only TWO of the drinks in his collection were alcoholic? Can you achieve as efficient a mack with cherry coke as you can with an alcoholic drink? Can you trust a man who chooses his drink without any consideration for taste, but only for political gain? Won't women just see his fridge and say, "What kind of a grown man has a fridge full of drinks, and clearly no room for food aside from a handful of frozen pizzas?"

Thus, I must conclude that the fundamentals of this mack are strong, but it is poorly executed.

Yalls' opinions?


Soundtrack to a Financial Collapse

"So all of the businessers in their unlimited hell
where they buy and they sell and they sell all their
trash to each other but they're sick of it all
and they're bankrupt on selling"

So first I have to thank Ira Glass and This American Life for the inspiration for this post. On their most recent episode entitled "Another Frightening Show About the Economy," Ira played the Modest Mouse song "Bankrupt on Selling" in between chapters. Not only had I forgotten how sweet that song was but it also got me thinking about other songs I could be listening to during this financial debacle. Music to soothe me, music to capture the "spirit in the night," music to fuel puns and jokes in order to laugh nervously about the depths to which our country is now sinking.

The following is my personal soundtrack to this crisis. I tried my best to give the songs a logical order, one that reflects the chronology of the past few weeks. If Andy and I were still doing the Massive Saxophone on WCWM, this is essentially the playlist I would be bringing to the show. I'll provide notes and lyrics to the songs I think need further explanation but hopefully the others will be self-evident. I think this also will act as a bridge to the political and musical ends of our epic blog. Enjoy!

Act One: In Youth We Learn, In Age We Understand...
1. The Beach Boys - Let Him Run Wild
2. Steeley Dan - Reelin' in the Years
3. Rammstein - Amerika
"We're all living in America! America is Wunderbar!"
4. Radiohead - House of Cards
"Infrastructure will collapse... fall off the table, get swept under... denial"

Act Two: Oh Shit...
5. Modest Mouse - Bankrupt on Selling
6. Yo La Tengo - The Lie and How We Told It
"And even as we near it, I can hear it, files in the air... we don't dare"
7. The Blood Brothers - USA Nails
Turn the sound off your TV and watch the floor of Wall St with this song blasting.
8. Bruce Springsteen - Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Ok, this song is just sweet. And there's a credit freeze.
9. Bob Dylan - Talkin' World War III Blues
10. A Tribe Called Quest - I Left My Wallet in El Segundo
11. Thieves Like Us - Drugs in My Body
New Order's "Thieves Like Us" just isn't sweet enough.

Act Three: C'mon, Guys!
12. The Beatles - You Never Give Me Your Money
13. The Zombies - Maybe After He's Gone
"Maybe after he's gone, she'll come back and want me again"
He=McCain. Gone=suspending the campaign.
She=the economy.
14. The Wedding Present - Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft
Great plan, John.
15. Talking Heads - Thank You For Sending Me An Angel
16. Wilderness - End of Freedom

Act Four: Exile on "Main Street"
17. Uncle Tupelo - We've Been Had
What about Main Street? Fuck pork barrell spending!
18. The Carter Family - No Depression
"I'm going where there's no depression... my home's in heaven, that's where I'll be."
19. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
20. Simon and Garfunkel - America
21. Tokyo Police Club - Citizens of Tomorrow
22. Daniel Johnston - Devil Town
I was living in a devil town.
I didn't know it was a devil town.
Oh Lord, it really brings me down
about the devil town.

Thanks again to This American Life! and God Bless Credit Default Swaps!

The Reason Is You


From TMZ:

"Nailin' Paylin"

Sarah Palin is officially a legend! Hustler Video is shooting a porn with a look-alike titled "Nailin' Paylin." The spelling is sic and so is Hustler. You betcha!

The faux Sarah is Lisa Ann, who "will be nailing the Russians who come knocking on her back-door." In another scene -- a flashback -- "young Paylin's creationist college professor will explain a 'big bang' theory even she can't deny!"

There's also a threeway with Hillary and Condoleezza look-alikes.

The video is in pre-production, but is being fast tracked for release before the election.

Palin Syrah

This report comes to us via the "Serious Eats Team", who are, we assume, quite serious about all things gastronomical.

S.E.T. writes that beginning in September, a wine bar in San Fransisco saw a dramatic drop in sales for the Palin Syrah -- a cheap ($13), organic, Chilean wine -- which until that point had been the bar's top seller.

No word yet on sales nationwide, but one can assume that this is about to become the most hipster wine ever.

Also, can Bsmith get us some? Like now?

Also II, I think I like this impersonation of Palin more than Tina Fey:

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.

So far she's recorded eight vlogs (officially my new favorite web term) on 23/6 @ the Huff Post.

On the Nature of Sweet: John Rawls' Response

See other posts in the "Is this sweet?" series.
See other posts in the "On the Nature of Sweet" series (more focused on the philosophy of sweetness).

This post features a guest author. Torey, a bona-fide Rawls scholar, has written a response to all this discussion on Sweet from the perspective of John Rawls:
Rawls: The subject of this brief response concerns arguments made in favor of various conceptions of sweetness. After carefully reviewing them all, I have found that all those engaged in the debate to date have made the same critical flaw. All have focused on a particular definition of sweetness affirmed by a particular worldview. For example, I do not think of huge explosions as sweet but I do agree that Jack from Lost with a beard is sweet. Others may disagree and offer entirely different views –crossword puzzles, Sarah Palin's folksy witticisms, nutella, etc. As I explained in Political Liberalism, in any pluralist society, such as our own, there will inevitably be an infinite number of comprehensive doctrines, or visions of what is sweet. It would be impossible to prioritize any one definition of sweetness over another, and any attempt to do so would be largely arbitrary. How can one possibly decide whether sweetness is George Bush choking on a pretzel or whether it is actually that goofy man in the park on the bicycle. The criteria involved in such an endeavor would inevitably involve evaluating the content of competing worldviews; a task which cannot be done in an impartial manner as it involves judging the veracity of deeply held believes. So the dilemma remains that what is sweet to one is not universally sweet in a plural society. Thus, sweetness becomes a metaphysical problem, a problem that can never be resolved in any satisfactory way through rational deliberation.

A firm case made for the utter subjectivity of Sweet, but Durkheim certainly takes issue.

Also, Rawls doesn't think of "huge explosions" as totally sweet? At this, I am utterly lost in despair and confusion.


Live Blogging the Debate

Coaltrain (10:39 PM): Final thoughts:

I can't believe this is the debate where the gloves were supposed to come off. That was fairly boring, but that's probably a good thing for Obama. I suspect after the media made such a big deal about McCain going negative, his advisers decided he couldn't mention Bill Ayers or Rev. Wright.

As for performance, McCain seemed pretty awkward overall, and I thought Obama was damn near perfect. But what do I know -- I'd probably take the guy over Jesus.

Edgar Keats (10:32 PM):
Zen? Bringing it all back home.

Coaltrain (10:27 PM):
McCain doesn't just thank soldiers for their service, he does it six times.

Coaltrain (10:25 PM): If I had chosen 'petrodollars' as my drinking game buzzword, I'd be shitfaced right now.

Edgar Keats (10:24 PM):
-Hey man, what are you doing?

Coaltrain (10:21 PM):
This whole 'whether or not to attack Pakistan' issue is really bizarre. McCain and Obama's positions are completely counter-intuitive to what one would expect. And it's all b/c of an answer Obama gave at a debate back in August 2007 when he speculated about an extremely specific situation with "actionable intelligence about bin Ladin" where the Pakistani military was refusing to act. But b/c Obama has to prove he can be strong on defense, and b/c McCain has to prove Obama is naive, they are unable to change their positions.

Edgar Keats (10:17 PM): Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran. Thank you, Obama, thank you.

Coaltrain (10:08 PM)
I love hanging out with Brandon's parents b/c they make the same horribly offensive jokes that we do. For example, Brandon's dad's take on the McCain Doctrine:


Coaltrain (9:59 PM):
McCain tried a joke that fell way flat. And now he's being a total peacemonger on foreign policy.

Edgar Keats (9:52 PM):
Is it wrong that I'm only paying attention to the debate to make jokes to my family and Luke?

Coaltrain (9:45 PM):
OMG this is such a snoozefest. When is McCain gonna say Obama wants Bill Ayers to be his economic adviser? And when is Tom Brokaw going to reprise his role on SNL?

Coaltrain (9:38 PM): Devan, that mooning was in response to your comment.

Edgar Keats (9:35 PM): My brother's input:

Coaltrain (9:30 PM):
Anyone watching CNN w/ that insta-response graph thing? Barry is killin' it round 90% approval every time he talks, while McCain's numbers can't get any higher than his arms (GOT EM!)

Edgar Keats (9:21 PM):
YES! Got 'em!

Totally Solid Dudes Vol.2

You may not know him, but Hal Blaine is a definitive solid dude.

I had the fortune of learning about Hal Blaine when I had a revelation in class. It was in Composition III that I was assigned (yet again) to write and record a Tango song. For those who may not be entirely familiar with Tangos, it is a form of dance music that originated in Argentina in the 19th century and is loosely based on African drumming, presumably acquired from the large populations of African slaves that inhabitied the country at the time. It is based entirely on a distinct rhythm, which is either in 2/4 or 4/4 and contains accents on the 2, 3, and 4th beats.

An example of a traditional Argentinian Tango (pay attention to the drums):

Now, I asked to myself (as all Epic Mailers do) regarding my idea of Tango music at the time, "Is this sweet?"

The answer was a resounding, "not really."

However, the beauty of Tango music, and all music in general is that it can transcend practice and genre and can be mutated and borrowed into any form of aural expression.

Further investigation showed that Tango isn't even really a distinct type of music, as it has been interpreted all over the world, but is really only defined by that particular rhythm.
So, now regarding Hal Blaine and my revelation:
As time goes on, I am more and more taken with the classic popular rock and soul songwriting of the late 1950s into the 1960s. What draws me to this era is the appreciation and drive the artists had for majestic production. Even today, listeners marvel at the massive work and perfectionism put into this time; strings were everywhere, multiple guitars were strummed, background choirs cooed, etc. There was an epic (!) quality to it all. Everything had to be huge. Lyrics were direct, simple, and timeless. Every song was performed as if it were the single. Sure, there was a formula, but what a formula it was!

Of course, when anyone thinks of this time, among others, one of the big names that always comes to mind is the great, drug-addled, and violent, Phil Spector.

Spector (a solid dude in and of himself, but you know that) pioneered his "wall of sound" into songs that were often number 1s on the pop charts for the majority of the 60s. He influenced many artists including Brian Wilson (who arguably could not have conceived Pet Sounds without him) and the collective of Motown song-machines that inhabitied Hitsville, U.S.A.

It was during the production of one of Spector's earlier hits that not only sent a ripple through popular music, but was the cause of my revelation.

A young studio drummer, Hal Blaine, was in on the session for the Ronettes "Be My Baby" when he sat down and was ordered to come up with a drum intro and beat to the song. Whether intentional or not, Blaine began to play a slowed version of the Tango beat. It all came together. Thanks to Spector's production, this drum opening established a new big beat. Spector had a new trick up his sleeve.

With this Blaine/Spector combo, the duo went ahead and defined this sound with other groups, including The Righteous Brothers. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," is one of the most gigantic songs of popular music, a staple of radio since it's inception. Any aging baby-boomer female will tell you that this stuff was crack for them in the day. With the Blane/Spector hookup, several groups of deep voiced crooning dudes defined a new style of dreamy, shimmering rock music, based on stately harmonies, sadness, and sharp clothing. Those reverbed drums shook the foundations and took pop music into to the next level, arguably paving the way for the psychedelic walls of sound that would follow several years later.

Let's not forget The Walker Brothers, the wayyy sweeter modish British crooners who owned the British pop charts in the mid-60s and were rumored to be more knee-deep in horny, long-haired, trimmed-bang femme fatales than the Rolling Stones. You know you want those jackets.

Along with Spector, Blaine helped establish what he called "The Wrecking Crew." They were a group of studio musicians that basically went pop crazy, playing on so many important American records in the 60s.

Blaine bashed skins on the following recordings, just a small part of his discography (I shit you not):

Elvis Presley- "Return To Sender"
Roy Orbison- "Oh, Pretty Woman"
The Association- "Windy"
The Byrds- "Mr. Tambourine Man"
Barry McGuire- "Eve of Destruction"
Frank Sinatra- "Strangers In The Night"
Simon and Garfunkel- "Mrs. Robinson"
Beach Boys- "Good Vibrations"
Nancy Sinatra- "These Boots Are Made For Walkin"
The Mamas and The Papas- "Monday Monday"

You get the idea.

The Wrecking Crew's big beats and dreamy production later went on to influence many later artists. We all know this:

Also, Bat For Lashes made this, a totally sweet vid.

Anyway, Blaine basically rocked the fuck out, and in the process paved the way for music that takes it to the next level, from cheesy balladry to drugged out shoegaze and creeper pop. Solid bro.

One day you will look back
you knew it all along
what makes sense at the present
in the future will seem wrong
and amidst all of this regret
just close in on my face
and you'll know then

Mp3: Eddie Charlton- "You'll Know Then"

On the Nature of Sweet: The Perfect Case Study

See other posts in the "Is this sweet?" series.
See other posts in the "On the Nature of Sweet" series (more focused on the philosophy of sweetness).

Today's case study is based off of a hypothetical situation that Mr. Sherrill cooked up in his last dialogue. I call it, "the Sherrill chain reaction." For anyone whose memory is fuzzy on the details, here is the example as it originally appeared:

Bentham: "What if an act that is patently not sweet in isolation could lead to greater sweetness? Surely you can recognize the morality of such an act. For example, smashing a bottle of Dogfish Head 90 Minute in the middle of the street is not sweet. But what if this is done so that the glass might pierce the tire of a passing gasoline tanker, sending it careening into a gas station and setting off a totally sweet chain of explosions?
Kant: Hmm...that would be pretty sweet....But do you mean to say that the bottle was broken with this intention? Then perhaps I could permit it. But if the crash were inadvertent, I'm afraid it could not be condoned, or labeled as sweet.

Here we have a perfect case study for students of Sweetness. Upon hearing this example, my initial impulse was to say, "No, of course the bottle smashing STILL isn't sweet." And Kant makes a great point about the importance of intent. The only way the smashing could become sweet is if the final result had been anticipated. For this argument to work, however, it demands the ability to make individual judgments for each constituent element of the chain reaction. Is that possible? Can we look at each small thing -- for instance, the smashing of the bottle -- in isolation, or should we evaluate the series of events as a single unit with a single set of aggregated effects?

There's a problem with judging each element individually:
the sweet chain reaction would have never occurred (well, was astronomically less likely to occur) were it not for the smashed bottle. In some sense, the bottlesmashing birthed the entire sweet explosion. The explosion is indebted, then, to the unsweet smashing of the bottle. On the other hand, the whole question of causality is a slippery slope, since we could technically make all sorts of wacky arguments about what eventually caused what. I mean, none of this would even be possible if dogfishhead didn't make bottles of 90 minute, or if the truck's driver decided to take a different route on that fateful day.

So then I convinced myself that the smashing of the bottle did, in fact, become sweet, and here was my logic: I imagined that the entire situation was caught on videotape by a friend of the bottlesmasher -- let's call him Steve. Later that night, after they cleaned their post-explosion puncture wounds and changed out of their soot-covered clothes, they invite some friends over to watch what happened. Even though Steve ardently disapproved of the bottle smashing at the time of the incident, he now shows the entire video with enthusiasm, anticipating the extreme sweetness to follow -- "Oh my god, guys, check this out, it's so sweet." The consequences of this are as follows:
- This whole chain reaction of events is evaluated as a single unit, with one set of sweet or not sweet effects
- It means that sweetness is something that can be historically revised, retroactively, given the knowledge of the "big picture" -- reinforcing the subjective, socially constructed nature of sweet

Of course, there are problems with this line of thinking, too. Since we regard the entire chain of events as a single unit that produces a single outcome of sweetness, then we inevitably engage in a sort of "equation of sweetness."
Either consciously or unconsciously, we weigh the sweet constituent elements against the unsweet constituent elements to determine if these events are sweet as a whole . In other words: smashing of the bottle = not sweet, but chain reaction = TOTALLY SWEET, thus overall event = totally sweet.

This equation, however, demands value judgments of sweetness. Who's to say that the
unsweetness of the bottlesmashing is overshadowed by the sweetness of the tanker explosion? Comparing a smashed bottle to a chain reaction explosion is almost too easy, though. Let's complicate things. For example, what if the smashed Dogfishhead 90 minute happened to be the last bottle of 90 minute on Earth, and the driver of the truck was Axl Rose, who was belting out "Welcome to the Jungle" as he sped towards his imminent death? Surely the world would lament the loss of these two things. How then do we make a meaningful evaluation of the sweetness of the event as a whole?

:: Editor's note: I just realized that Axl Rose actually might become sweeter if he was exploding while screaming "SHA NA NA NA NIIII NIIII" as opposed to simply being alive -- but let's disregard that for the sake of argument.

IS this sweet?
Please weigh in,

Again, no substance from me

But! I did write a new song
Check it?
I say good day!

A Pictorial Rebuttal to David's Apologia

Greaves and grieving.

And the coup de grace, weaves and weaving.

I would also like to add that cleaves and cleavin' is an interesting case study, as "cleave" can mean both "to stick to" and "to split apart." This paradox is, unfortunately, a representational impossibility, but the following comes close, conceptually speaking.



Epic Pun: A Defense of Leaves n' Leavin'

When the my personal ethos is challenged and ridiculed by someone who simply decides to open up a rhyming dictionary, I must respond. Not only do these pun-sults reveal, as Obama recently said of McCain's new attacks, "a campaign that is running out of ideas," but they also obscure for our readers the meaning of "leaves n' leavin'." I hope this serves as both a defense as well as an explanation.

The main problem with replacing a rhyming word like "thieves" or "sleeves" with "leaves" is that the phrase becomes self-reflexive. Thieves ARE thieving, yes, but does that mean anything? Is that even a pun when it stands alone or is it simply a joke on the far superior "leaves n' leavin?" Does the new statement have anything larger to tell us about the human condition? Well, no, it doesn't.

The beauty of leaves n' leavin' is that it refers to two separate things - objects known as leaves which are synonymous with Fall, and the act of leaving - and unites them to embody nostalgia in its purest form. The phrase can be used as shorthand, as a symbol, in fact, to capture a landscape, an event, or an experience which causes one to stand back in awe and realize the importance of the current moment in the whole scope of one's personal storyline. When you're sharing one last brew with your best bros on the porch you've been sharing for so long, or when you feel the crisp Fall air rush by your face as you walk hand in hand with a new girlfriend or boyfriend, you don't need to write a fucking paragraph to express your feelings at this moment - you can just say or think the phrase "leaves n' leavin'." The pun isn't funny as much as it is convenient. By referring to an object that embodies the autumnal spirit as well as the nostalgia-filled act of saying goodbye while ALSO making a pun, the phrase is full of rich and varied meaning.

As I already mentioned but as you now can see more clearly, other iterations of this phrase don't hold up to scrutiny. Sure, it's funny to rhyme words, but non-sensical phrases already seem to be in abundance in this increasingly irrational post-modern world. Do we need any more? "Sleeves n' Sleevin'" for example. "Sleevin'" isn't a separate concept from "sleeves" and, in this case, it isn't even a word. We could come up with equally absurd phrases if we applied the same logic to other rhymes of "leaves." Here are some:
Sieves n' Sievin'
Cleaves n' Cleavin'
Weaves n' Weavin'
Cheves n' Chevin'
Greaves n' Greavin'
Grieves n' Grievin'
Ask Jeeves n' Jeevin'
(For more rhymes check out this)
None of these rhymes warrant more than a ephemeral chuckle compared to the power of leaves n' leavin'. And for a contributor who recently posted an article challenging the meaninglessness of current hipster culture, I find such "peacock"-displaying tactics rather odd.

So as we always like to ask on Epic Blog: Is this sweet? I've presented my side. I'll let you decide. I'll leave you with my favorite leaves rhyme: Steve's and Stephen

(Thanks to Hot Eatz and his Children of the Pun. No Depression, guys.)

My Bum is on the Swedish

As fellow members of the educated liberal elite, I am sure you have all been ravenously consuming every tasty morsel of news concerning this Nobel Prize hullabaloo, but I feel the need nevertheless to weigh in, being someone who is normally not eager to leap to defense of American letters, but offended still. I mean, the effrontery of these Swedes! I believe the precise quotation, from a committee member, is that our nation doesn't "participate in the big dialogue of literature." First of all, one snippy, dismissive, presumptuous quotation doesn't change the fact that you're all descended from Vikings, who, last time I checked, couldn't even find their way through a 2D jungle without being killed by giant snails. Secondly, if nothing else, this should alert us all to the utter absurdity of the Nobel institution in toto. Why does anyone care about this prize? Why do we let a bunch of bitter, resentful Swedes determine the greatest achiever in fields as imprecise and ridiculous-sounding as "peace"? Moreover, why are we willing to accept the cultural rulings handed down to us from a country that has produced such grotesque cultural abortions as Dolph Lundgren and Ace of Base? Clearly, we must reject the entire Nobel project (I will admit, as an aside, that I suspect this is somehow another attempt by Hans Blix to foil our imperialist ambitions, but I have yet to develop the theory fully. They did, after all, choose that hippie peacenik Al Gore last year...). Anyway, I hope that Delillo, Roth, and our other great writers don't sit up at night worrying about the words from this goober below, who to me resembles the progeny of an unholy, yet undeniably hilarious, union between William F. Buckley and Christopher Hitchens. After all, we Americans never really thought much of the Prize in the first place. Saul Bellow didn't give a shit when he was selected, and most of the other Americans that have won the prize were hacks of an inoffensive sort (I'm looking at you, John Steinbeck). The Nobel committee has notoriously overlooked numerous luminaries in favor of unknown aberrations like this guy, who appear to have been selected for holding comfortably leftist ideologies rather than for any significant literary achievement. If anyone sees this particular Swedish knucklehead, smack him on the head with one of these. Payback's a 1100 page postmodern American bitch, bitch.

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