Archive for the popular culture Category

Rebranding “Retard”

Posted in censorship, Cryptojournalism, Media Farce, popular culture with tags , , , on September 8, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

This is a topic that has me feeling ambivalent at best.  In the next few paragraphs, I’ll be mounting a halfhearted effort defending the word retard.

Hence the feelings of ambivalence.

But did you know that it’s been scrubbed from the law, government and medical lexicons?  Neither did I.  It’s been replaced by phrases such as “intellectual disability” and my personal favorite, “vulnerable adult.”

Let me state this clearly: I’m not vouching for the word retard.  Christopher Fairman, for The Washington Post, articulates part of the point I’m getting at very well in an article titled The case against banning the word ‘retard’:

..restricting speech of any kind comes with a potential price — needlessly institutionalized taboos, government censorship or abridged freedom of expression — that we should be wary of paying.

Sing it, brother.  I am also against anything quietly being censored out of the language (which is happening in slow motion), especially when it is replaced with a blanket term which can do more harm than good.

Which is exactly how I feel about the phrase vulnerable adult.  I stumbled onto the phrase in this article, from CBS Minneapolis.  FYI,  the young woman from the article has been found.  (P.S. It’s the second story of this kind in Cambridge, Minnesota.  What the shit is going on in Cambridge, boys?)  My problem is the wide net cast with phrases such as vulnerable adult and intellectual disability.  Put it this way: I know plenty of people, not retarded in the 1970s-80s use of the phrase, that I would easily identify as vulnerable adults.  Here’s a mean, unscrupulous downhill word game to prove my point.

Is a female graduate student roofied at the bar a vulnerable adult?

Is a soldier suffering post traumatic stress a vulnerable adult?

Is a compulsive gambler a vulnerable adult?

Is a Scientologist a vulnerable adult?

Is a student loan applicant a vulnerable adult?

You see my point.  Suicide candidates, prescription pill poppers, Charlie Sheen’s goddesses, chronic masturbators and marks in a Three-card Monte game could all (however obliquely) qualify as vulnerable adults.

How many vulnerable adults do you see? Depends which clinician you ask....

And *poof* just like that, the rebranding of the word retard to mentally challenged developmentally disabled handicapped handicapable vulnerable adult is undone by one stupid blogger.  How long will it really take for vulnerable adult to morph into a pejorative term?

Even worse, what if (and this is a big what if, bigger than What if Captain America had been elected president?) people without physical or mental handicaps begin to be identified as vulnerable adults?

Betcha Steve Rogers is a Republican

Florida, Minnesota and Mississippi all explicitly contain the word ’emotional,’ inferring a person with stunted emotional maturity is a vulnerable adult (The United Kingdom, North Dakota and Washington State do not), in their legislation defining the term.  Do we really need to go there?  How many people would NOT be vulnerable adults in that instance?

It doesn’t take more than a hack screenwriter to write a horredy (or comror) [a comedy/horror, for those who don’t know] envisioning a dystopic future where government technocrats decide who is and is not a vulnerable adult.

The same logic holds with intellectual disability, but to a lesser degree.  Taken from the CDC’s website explaining intellectual disability, I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some parts:

characterized both by a significantly below-average score on a test of mental ability or intelligence and by limitations in the ability to function in areas of daily life, such as communication, self-care, and getting along in social situations and school activities.

Many mentally and physically disabled adults would be covered by this definition.  But as someone who deals in misinterpretation and conjuring things that are not there, well, that getting along in social situations and school activities sounds like a couple of roommates from college.

And that’s my point.  How much does an idea like intellectual disability or vulnerable adult need to be nudged before whole swaths of people who are maladjusted or socially awkward or simply disgruntled are deemed vulnerable adults?  Trying to alleviate the stigma of the word retard has the unintended consequence of creating a phrase that can describe anyone with any kind of unresolved mental, emotional or psychological issue.    Is a crack whore not vulnerable adult?

Hey now, the word whore is disparaging to sex workers.  I need some outcry on this!

Plus, there’s the flip side to the rebranding coin.  As retard is replaced in the intellectual lexicon, we’re seeing a very strange criminalization of the word.  From all places, New Jersey.

Northern New Jersey.  OK, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  We’re derailing right into an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Yup, same show that made the phrase “prostitution whore” famous.

In case you forgot.  And, c’mon, that whole scene is hysterical.

Contrast that to this clip, which you need to watch on Bravo’s website for those zany housewives.  It’s Melissa and Joe Gorga, discussing the turmoils surrounding some text messages.  Notice specifically at 3:53 into the video, Joe says, “Calling me a re*beep*.”

Go and watch it, the whole scene at their house starts around the 3 minute mark.  It’s really amazing when you think on this for half a second.

A cable television show rated TV-14, airing at 10 p.m. bleeps out the word retard.  We’re not talking about iCarly dropping R-bombs, no.  This is a show that obviously caters to adults, which revels in whoredom.  Don’t believe that, Google Danielle Staub Raw.

Those are some staub wounds to which nobody should be subjected.  Zing.  And who am I kidding, I’d shag her, if only to plug Rhyme and Reasonable on TMZ or Perez Hilton.  I’m no vulnerable adult, more an exploitative jerk.

My point is, a show for adults, airing after safe harbor hours, is practicing needless censorship.  Of course, this is something not even the crudest Pop Culturist or TV blogger has noticed.  And while that must please everyone pushing to abolish the R-word, that does not equal progress.

First, I’d like to hearken back to Fairman’s article from the Post.  Here’s a quote I’ve plucked off the end of a paragraph.  You’ll see why in a moment:

….stigmatizing the word has elicited new problems, including an overeagerness to detect insult where none is intended and the use of excessively harsh punishment against those who use the word wrongly.

This is in reference to an observation made by Randall Kennedy in his book, “Nigger.”  I’m allowed to type that, because it’s the book’s title.  But I can say no more than it is a book about the N-word.  Well, that’s where people want to shelve the R-word.  Next to nigger.

From the R-word website, um, yeah.  This is serious.  And, uh, I should probably be sorry for making light of this, but, you can’t censor everything:

The R-word is the word ‘retard(ed)’. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory. The R-word is hate speech. See why supporters think the R-Word is hurtful when used in jokes or as part of everyday speech.

I did not even bold that.  That’s straight from the website.  The R-word is hate speech.  I think the words slut and cunt have some gripe with you there, retard.

And not to be too prickish, but if we’re abolishing things that hurt because of exclusivity, how will all those American Express Black cardholders flaunt?

I am not supporting use of the word retard.  I AM against banning the word retard.  It’s also surprising the front line for this battle is cable television and news headlines.  Cable television shows airing after safe harbor hours have as much latitude as possible, which makes the censorship on the Jersey Housewives (TV-14, so bitch and whore are kosher to say, but retard….not so much) startling.  It’s not a daytime show, like The View or something.  I’ll have to throw palms up on this one.

I dunno, coach

As for the phrase vulnerable adult, well, that is regrettably too funny to give up.  Palms up.  If the term made sense, that’s great.  But I’m still unsure if a vulnerable adult is the man with down syndrome or the man going to the strip club ATM for the fourth time.

The rebranding is over and done.  Mr. Obama signed Rosa’s Law in 2010 (hell, North Dakota began use of the term vulnerable adult in 1989.  North Dakota, progressive on mental retardation rights!), it’s just time for popular culture and people to get wise that retard has been replaced by R-word.

Which has probably been deemed incendiary by the time I finish this sentence.  Like the cleaning of a house……

Simpsons did it

What Do Katy Perry And Hurricane Irene Have In Common?

Posted in Cryptojournalism, entertainment, Inoculation, popular culture with tags , , , , , , on September 3, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

Mind control.  Wow, shortest blog ever.

Now that we’ve got out of the way, link up to Rhyme and Reasonable’s Facebook page and, well, Like it.  Sorry, I’m contractually obliged to Globochem to promote the page for the next 36 months.

We Own Everything So You Don't Have To!

Before we actually get on track to poor Katy Perry’s susceptibility to mind control or the consumption shell game dubbed ‘Hurricane Irene’ I’m contractually obliged by the Pac12 conference to make fun of their unbelievably shrewd crassness.  Time to wander into my imagination for a moment.

In a perfect world…..I’d have persuaded more than one person (The Rat Pack’s Joey Bishop) of the virtues of a 9/11 10th Anniversary Memorial Gathering.  With dual ice luges.  Symbolism, people.  If we don’t party, the terrorists win.  That’s the gist of the newly minted Pac12 Conference tethering their league debut with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, right?  College football IS tailgaters heaven, right?  RIGHT?

Dual commemorative ice luges: Joey Bishop approved

Enough yelling.  I could also point out the money grubbiness of the NFL’s salute to the ‘American spirit’ on Nine Eleven.  Yeah that’s right.  Their PR mavens recognized ‘American spirit’ as the go-to-phrase.  Alas, I enjoy football too much to truly criticize.  Any word which commandeers a global sport (soccer) is as American as Patrick Bateman, or Betty White.

I’ll guarantee tho, fans will have every opportunity to purchase memorabilia emblazoned with the commemorative ribbon logo.  And people kept telling me side by side ice luges (symbolism!) that may or may not have a toy plane flown into them at the end of the evening was in poor taste.

Picture them standing upright. Or terrorism wins

Apologies for prattling on about this stupid ice luge idea.  I just want to get this out before the 10th anniversary of 9-1-1 for posterity.  And in case any sociopaths are looking for a good party theme next weekend.

Now if you’re a partying sociopath, you may have heard of cocaine.  Apparently it’s some sort of party drug.  The LA Times reports on a seizure of 36 pounds of cocaine.  Dat’s a lotta yayo.  Something vexed me.

Of course it did.  This wouldn’t be cryptojournalism if there wasn’t some oblique nugget to put on blast.  That IS cryptojournalism, after all.

Department of Homeland Security, also called DHS in the biz, valued 36 lbs. of the white stuff at $324,000.  Which to my peasant ears, does not sound like much.  It comes to equal $9,000 per pound.  A pound containing 453.6 grams, that’s $19.84 per gram.  Good wholesale price in the states, whatever that means.  Now here’s where things get a little murky.

I don’t do coke.  So I had to look elsewhere for street valuation for a gram of cocaine.  As someone who puts words out into the internet, I do not really trust the web.  Do you?  Don’t.

This website claims a street price of $100 a gram.  Then throws out an assumption on how much a dealer will step on the package.  In more mundane vernacular, how much a drug dealer will cut his product.  In other words, how much filler the coke a consumer purchases contains.  Enough word play.

Now this website claims a diluted product selling between $20-$100 per gram.  Woo-ba-doo.  Another website emphatically boasts EXACTLY $94 a gram on the streets.  Right.

Forgetting the foolishness of regurgitating internet ‘statistics,’ I cast the net out to a few friends I was confident might know a street price.  A few people came back with a ballpark figure between $25-$60, with more than a couple honing in on $50 a gram.  Of cocaine.  I’m going to run with this.

In a perfect world….that $50 a gram fetches $22,680 per pound.  Not quite the $9,000 DHS claims, is it now?  In this fictional world of $50 grams of pure coke the Mexican seizure fetches $816,480.  This does not take into account “The Wire” logic.  Put otherwise, pop culture, TV and movies tell me people step on packages.

Tell it, Stringer.  Mr. Bell is talking about degrading a degraded batch of drugs.  So let’s, for shits and giggles, assume the cocaine on the street is 1/3 filler.  I’m being generous.  All of a sudden, there’s 48 pounds of cocaine.  At $50 a gram.  That $324k seizure, through the magic of presumption, aspirin, baking soda and hypothetical numbers, is $1,088,640.  More than triple the reported street value.

Which just goes to show how valuable the black market is.  I won’t even vouch for that million+ figure, since I have no clue how much coke is actually cut, or what it’s really worth.  Tacking on an arbitrary wholesale number is strange, even for a government bureaucracy.

Speaking of ineptitude, let me give a shout out to all those naive people who stocked up for the storm of all storms, the devastator and precursor to December 21, 2012, HURRICANE IRENE.

Here’s an after the fact, posthumous example of how swiftly and blindly shoppers shopped at the drop of a Pavlovian computer model trotted on the TeeVee.  This was Monday morning at a PathMark in North Babylon, New York.  An area where there was barely minor damage.  After the storm had been long gone.

”]I can’t say this was surprising.  To hearken back to the aforementioned Facebook page, I chose “Gimme the Loot” by Biggie Smalls as the theme song for Irene.  Yup, I’m plugging the shit out of that page, no homo.  The song was a perfect fit.

Only paraphrasing a tiny bit:

Lock your windows, close your doors

Hurricane Irene, I’m a bad bad storm

The cynical conclusion I immediately jumped to was this hurricane was being used as a ploy by Lowes and Home Depot to boost sagging 3rd quarter numbers.  Only time will tell if we see those “surprisingly strong” third quarter figures.  I’ll let you know.

Employing scare tactics and computer assumptions models to compel shopping is a fairly obvious form of mind control.  No, not MK-ultra mind control.  Sorry, conspiracy theorists of the web.  Good old fashioned Bernaysian manipulation and sheeple shepherding.  To the stores.  To purchase bottled water, plywood and batteries for your flashlights.

I’m not downplaying the damage.  There was damage.  People died.  But a whole slew of people went through the motions of buying whatever the fuck they’re told to whenever the fuck they’re told to.  All fucks aside, that’s not the only place where mind control was on display last weekend.

That’s right.  I’m talking about the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.  Were I, say, L. Brent Bozell, I would have plenty to bemoan.  But I’m not a preachy douche, so I’ve only got one, ahem, point (using the term as loosely as possible) to make.

If you’re a Katy Perry fan, um, what the hell are you doing reading this?  And, you should probably close your browser asap.

I’ve never been one to really believe in the force and power of mind control.  After seeing the train wreck that is Katy Perry, I’ve done a rhetorical one eighty.  Not to be mistaken with the going nowhere fast and often misspoken 360.

No person in their right mind would present themselves in public looking like poor, poor Katy.  It’s impossible. Only someone under the sway of powerful mind control could so easily be swayed towards presenting themselves in such a foolish manner.

If it pleases the court, allow me to enter into evidence Nicki Minaj’s Cobra Commander outfit.


When you’re competing with (and trouncing) a fashion statement which says, “I’m dating Cobra Commander,” you’re on another planet.  Planet Mind Control (bang a left at Neptune, cruise for about 10 light years, it’s on your right).  Your honor, with the next few photos, you should see my point.

And no, this is not simply railing on a pop tart for looking like a nitwit.

Good look. For an anime with tentacled vagina monsters

I’ll admit, it’s kind of a hot look.  In a blithering idiot sort of way.  Now if that was it, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

Oh, that’s not it.

Ixnay on the urplepay

No, that’s not it either.  But it really brings out the crazy in her eyes.

I’m going so far as to say, “Drum roll, please.”

The money shot in Dali's wet dream

I’m not simply assailing a gullible singer’s poor choice in clothes.  Watching her accept the acclaim, admiration and awards from her contemporaries revealed someone who looks like she doesn’t comprehend her surroundings.

MTV has her acceptance speech with Kanye West: Corporate Lobbyist on their website.  Consider this a suggestion to watch it.  It’s amazingly awkward to watch her eyes darting around, trying to process what’s going on around her.  Almost as amusing as this gem.

“Tonight has been a night of firsts.  This is my second moon man.”  It’s my affinity for Rickyisms (aka nearlyisms), but that tickles my funny bone.  The premise that a person is so desperate for attention from other they will wear whatever the fuck they’re told when they’re fucking told to betrays a mental weakness I do not grasp.  We ARE talking about super famous Katy Perry, not some nobody.  Being so susceptible to whatever some misguided designer or person tells you looks good or is right, that’s mind control.

In a way, Katy Perry’s the perfect embodiment of the regular American schmuck.  Ready and willing to do whatever they’re told on command.  Giv’er a round of applause, folks.

I'm just a sucker for a gal in a smart lookin' hat

Kelis Is A Pharmacologist

Posted in Cryptojournalism, Music, popular culture with tags , , , , , on July 27, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

If you remember a while back, I wrote about Kanye West’s Gold Digger.  Well, we’re back with another strip club anthem, this time “Milkshake” by Kelis.  One of my personal faves.  And once again,we’re going to break it down, lyrically, that is, and see what Kelis is really talking about.

Those are italics.  That should indicate I mean business.

Ok, enough posturing.  I just believe many of the more popular strip club anthems can easily be misinterpreted to mean all kinds of craziness.  Is Kanye West really portraying a corporate lobbyist within the lyrics of Gold Digger?  Only as much as Kelis is a pharmacologist.

A pharmacologist is one who practices pharmacology.  Sweet.  Study of drug action.  Sounds like junior year of college.

Just a few of the ingredients in Kelis' Milkshake

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Dude, it’s a song about her milkshake.  Her milkshake.”  There are those damn italics again.  Much as Peter Griffin wants you to think so, that is simply not the case.  Not for a cryptojournalist, at least.

The belief this song was made to do nothing more than get hoochies to shake their jubblies is, well, exactly the point.  I’ll tell you, though, after this, you’ll probably never hear it the same again.

Here’s the video.  Oh so good.

Let me clarify before we get into the lyrics, Kelis’ Milkshake is nothing like a Darvon Cocktail.  Although, it is killer in its’ own right.  Suicide jokes aside, it is a tad disturbing that you can Google Darvon Cocktail and, well, get multiple recipes for a suicide mixer.  Just….odd.  That’s one use for prescription drugs.

I’ve found this link has the most comprehensive lyrics.  Other websites spell “they’re” like “their” or “thee” like “thee,” and these are vital matters!  Exclamation point worth matters, even.  Who wants to misinterpret something that’s already misspelled?

 My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they’re like
It’s better than yours,
Damn right it’s better than yours, [DING]

That Mrs. Nas Escobar sure is a confident one.  I’ve already begun to lay the fatuous claim her milkshake is indeed a pharmacological milkshake.  The Pavlovian ‘Ding’ throughout the beat does nothing to dispel the notion the song is about elaborate methods of mind control.  Or so the legend goes.  I’m taking the liberty of adding the dings to the lyrics.  They say as much as any word.

Word thru the rumor mill is the song was originally going to be called “Fribble,” but a marketing agreement between Friendly’s and Kelis fell thru at the last moment.

My Fribble brings all the boys to the yard.....

Fake internet rumors aside, who is the ‘they’ in “they’re like”?  Skeptics?  Haterz with a Z?  The FDA?  Astra-Zeneca?  Only Kelis and The Neptunes may know.

I can teach you,
But I have to charge

Get those sexist thoughts out of your head immediately.  I know where you’re going with this.  You think Kelis is an escort?  Psh.  That does not even dignify a real word.  Kelis is talking about her day job, as a professor at the University of Minnesota.  She works in the Graduate Pharmacology Program.  What did you think?

Great program, from all I’ve heard.

Now that we’ve established this song is NOT about selling sex, but about the pharmacology business, let’s get to it.

Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, please note this first verse is repeated.  Repetitiously.  Throughout the entire song.  Over and over and over again.  There is no need for analysis of the same verse.  Right?

Moving right along…

I know you want it,
The thing that makes me, [DING]
What the guys go crazy for.
They lose their minds,
The way I wind, [DING]
I think its time

There is no way to move forward without first giving a tip of the cap to perhaps the greatest face in any music video, ever.


With it established that Kelis studies pharmacology, we clearly see what she is saying here.  Pretty straightforward.  You just need to realize the thing that makes the guys go crazy is probably Xanax, or perhaps Oxy’s.

You may be wondering, “But what about the way she winds?”  Good question.  This is an example of the rare double entendre by word pronunciation.

Yes, she has proven quite apt at winding people up.  That’s what you get with effective use of Pavlovian triggers.

BUT, and this is a mild leap of faith, she also winds.

Like the winds in the sky.

In other words, she is a blow hard.  Instead of saying someone’s ‘talking shit’ you can say he’s ‘blowing winds.’

It’s like that famous Welsh saying, “Blood is Irony.”

Most people do not see the ironic nature of blood.  But it sure is packed with iron.

Thanks, folks.  Don’t forget to tip the wait staff.

[Chorus x2]
La la-la la la,
Warm it up. [1st Chorus DING]
Lala-lalala, [2nd Chorus DING]
The boys are waiting

In case you’re confused, the dings are staggered between the two repeated choruses.  Note the use of the word boys.  When you have someone snared with a pharmacological cocktail as powerful as Kelis’ Milkshake, you are not dealing with men.  Even the most powerful mind can be reduced to mush.

It has a very powerful sedative effect.  Like a TNA television show.  Just look at all those sad faces in the background.

I'd probably be dazed too if I saw this live

Look at those glazed over faces.  Apparently the girls is dubbed ‘Cookie’ (smrt!) and the guy’s name is, I don’t know, The Conundrum?  I’m not willing to take the time to find out, because then I’d know.  And if knowing is half the battle, that’s a losing fight.

So never forget: always be careful as possible with prescription pills.  Lord knows what you’re doing to yourself.  We know Kelis knows, but tuition these days is steep.

I can see youre on it,
You want me to teach thee [DING]
Techniques that freaks these boys,
It can’t be bought,
Just know, thieves get caught, [DING]
Watch if your smart,

Hmmmmm, it sounds like we’re dealing with someone beyond mere pharmacology.  Freaking techniques are not tips for the dance floor.  She’s talking about freaking out your mind.  Like the 60’s, man.  The 60’s.  Man.

No, Ms. Kelis seems to be boasting a mastery of some other sort of mind altering practice.  Does she use DMT?  I bet it’s DMT.  If it isn’t DMT, then it has to be marketing.  Focus group market studies.  That’s some hardcore shit, either way.  But…if it can’t be bought, how could it be marketing?  Has to be N-Dimethyltryptamine, slyly referring to its natural occurrence in the brain.

As for thieves getting caught, that’s probably a veiled reference to Canadian generics.  Or to outright industrial espionage, to turn a phrase from a time ago.

We’re about to leap right into the sickening underbelly of the pharmaceutical industry.  Namely, how there appear to have been so many dodgy drugs put on the market over the last 15 years.  Here is a list of various prescription drugs pulled from the market.  Note how much more frequent it has become since 1995.

Some of this, undoubtedly, is due to new knowledge on older drugs.  Darvon, on the market since 1957 and only taken off the market in 2010, proves that point.  There were only thirteen drugs withdrawn from the market up to 1986.  SINCE 2000 there have been twenty six.  Twice as many over the last dozen years than from the 50’s through the 80’s.  You want an example of pure malfeasance?  Take a look at the pharmaceutical business of the 21st Century.

That’s why Kelis provides words of wisdom.

Oh, once you get involved,
Everyone will look this way-so, [DING]
You must maintain your charm,
Same time maintain your halo,

Consumer advocates, the FDA, nosy health food devotees, they’re all skeptical.  Be charming, look virtuous.  Here’s a note to aspiring pharmacologists: take a public speaking class.  It always helps to nip those pointed questions about whatever dangerous prescription drug was brought to market with pesky side effects. And there have been more than a few.   A witty story, or a proper aside about nothing in particular, can defuse these tense situations.

Take notes, pharmacology students!  I could teach you, but I’d have to charge.

It’s really good advice for any aspiring criminal: halo maintenance and charm go a long way in the world.  Further than you’d think.

Side note: my favorite epic fail of the pharmaceutical industry this past decade has to be Vioxx.  Merck knows the problems with the medication in 2001?  Check.

Merck was advertising in 2004?  Check.

You must maintain that charm.  That’s a must.

There’s one last half verse, then this bit of cryptojournalism is in the books.

Just get the perfect blend,
Plus what you have within,
Then next his eyes are squint, [DING]
Then he’s picked up your scent,

Not anyone can be a pharmacologist.  You need something within, and that something would be a brain.  Laboratories aren’t full of monkeys on typewriters, not by my knowledge at least.

This isn't Pfizer's main lab, is it?

So there you have it.  Second in a not-too-frequent series of a cryptojournalist’s interpretation of strip club songs.  Hopefully you see how easy it is for what might be called prevailing thoughts to be found in music.  Till next time…..

“This Woman Is Dead Inside” – An American Gumbo

Posted in conspiracy theory, Media Farce, popular culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

[Spoiler alert]

I’m going to be darting all over the place today.  If you’re prone to vertigo, take a pill now.

Everything sort of revolves around the premise of blind devotion, some of the many horse blinders you’re likely to see if you look hard enough.  There’s a catch to mental blinders.  Sometimes you look ridiculous and simply become a cold spot on the grid.

Huh?  Cold spot on the grid?

It’s a general way I use to view the world.  Energy being finite, there are hot and cold spots on the grid.  The grid being a cheap metaphor for people.  If overall karma is neutral, some people will be at the far reaches.  So I sort of adapted that as a way to look at people.  Someone that’s always complaining about their problems and the unfairness of the world, forcing other people to expend mental energy on their woes, I’d consider a cold spot on the grid.  The clinical term is a Debbie Downer.


Blinders are good for race horses.  For people left to stew over perceived injustice?  Ooooooooooh, not so great.

Which brings us to the Republic where everything is bigger, Texas.

Would you?

The story this week that’s left me in stitches is the Texas cheerleader Title IX discrimination case, which made it to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit?  Through the appeals process.  Four words from the Dallas Observer blog jump out and sum this case up nicely: petty, meddling and deeply entertaining.  True story.

Samantha Sanches (poor girl) is the cheerleader who put this turd in punch bowl.  But her mother, Liz Laningham, took that turd.  She’s clearly the star of the final appeal.  Take the time to read, as it’s a great piece of high order satire.

Crib notes: Ma’ Dukes seems to complain about anything.  Squeaky wheel, as they say.  It’s all baseless.  When she doesn’t get her way, the family appeals.  To the 5th Circuit?!??   To sum THAT up, total waste of court time and federal money.

Laningham and Sanches twisted high school petty teasing into sexual harassment.  It is not.  The insult to jurisprudence by this case is comically mad.  The court sums it up nicely, saying, “the sort of unpleasant conflict that takes place every day in high schools, and it is not the proper stuff of a federal harassment claim.”

That it got so far shorts out my brain.

Didn't get your way? Ain't your fault!

Emotional trauma from not making the cheer squad is probably not an uncommon occurrence.  Working your way through federal court over it, that is an uncommon occurrence.  I could go on to disparage the poor grammar and spelling of the plaintiff’s paperwork, but that’s piling on.  Check it for yourself, though.  I’ll guarantee at least one laugh to anyone who reads the ruling.

This whole tale is a case of piling on.  I’m easily stunned when this chews up federal cash, when the EPA won’t declare the whitebark pine tree endangered.  Actually, the conclusion was,  “the agency said that it found a listing was “warranted but precluded,” meaning the pine deserved federal protection but the government could not afford it.”  Right.  How much does listing a tree as endangered cost exactly?  Wild guess, $5 million? Proclaiming something is endangered costs loot.

Only in America.

She's a patriot

Counter-intuitive as this may sound, but small town squabbles should not rise to the level of my amusement.  Cryptojournalist rule #7.

The kicker?  If this does anything, it will probably hurt the anti-bullying movement that’s apparently a thing.  Cheerleader Moms’ hyperbolic abuse of every conceivable semantic loophole to gain her comeuppance from the school (for naught!) diverts attention to real problems while diminishing real bullying.  Crying wolf has that effect.

Which leads us to CM Punk.  Trying to stay in the vein of blind devotion, I bring you the messianic leader of the Straight Edge Society.  Think messianic leader is overblown?  Here’s one of his past vignettes.

He’s in the news thanks to breaking the fourth wall during a promo gone awry on Monday Night Raw.  Or an angle.  Whatever that is.  Much like cheerleading, pro wrestling is an eminently (North) American pleasure.  (With a tip of the cap to the countless Canadians who’ve left their mark.)  For those who haven’t seen the CM Punk shoot from Raw…

You’ll notice Punk has his mic cut towards the end after referring to the WWE’s anti-bullying campaign.

Nice segue, but it’s not the point.

The (newly minted and newly unemployed) champ landed an interview with GQ after this episode, where he talks about himself and the wrestling business.  Ego and chutzpah are two things he does not lack.  The interview has a bit of ‘inside baseball’ on the wrestling realm, but it’s an interesting read for anyone.  As Punk even points out, aside wrestler deaths, when does this subculture garner any media attention?  True story.

He says something towards the end, which I find illuminating.

“I think everyone’s dream is to do nothing.”

As a do-nothing, it’s not all berries and cake.  It’s nice, even easy, but not redeeming at the end of the day.  If you bear with me, though, I believe it harmonizes with Ms. Laningham’s unreasonable demands.

Both ring of the same credo: belief that all ‘my’ demands be met.  I doubt that is what CM Punk meant when he said that, but the claim everyone wants to do nothing is me-centeric, to say the least.  Punk’s interview has captivated minds similar to how Latrell Sprewell did on the Golden State Warriors.  But in a good way.

Hasn't everyone felt like choking their coach at least once in their life?

Saying “Fuck Off” to the boss is 3rd on the list of American Dreams, after a white picket fence and banging a reality show contestant.  Punk captured that spirit.  I believe that is a very me-centered viewpoint.  I’ll indulge myself so much to call it a Neo-Randian perspective.  For you West Coast book nerds.

Pro wrestling, err, the re-branded sports entertainment, is still a cultural influence.  Also, a fine stage for blind devotion.

Here is probably the most overlooked comic gem of the last decade.  Harvard educated wrestler Chris Nowinski is having a debate with juice monkey Scott Steiner a.k.a. Big Poppa Pump also dubbed Big Bad Booty Daddy.  This is the sort of archival comedy I adore.  Props to WrestleCrap for bringing this to my attention. Archival comedy everyone needs to see.

“The Great Debate” is over Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Right.  Aside from comparing this to Lincoln/Douglas and Nixon/Kennedy (daft in its own right), the fans are prompted to Booooooo the heel (villain, for those out of the biz), who (obviously) argues the anti-war view.  Because people boo heels.  Priceless.  Both agree on freedom of speech, which is nice.

“Terrorism, they started it.  Terrorism started it, not us.  Terrorism drew first blood on 9/11 and you can bet your sweet ass we’re gonna get even, and we’re gonna finish it.”

^^^Actual quote^^^

A nation getting even with an idea.  Simple, right?

Some naysayers out there are probably skeptical of pro wrestling’s cultural influence.  May I present (drumroll……….)

Extreme Couponing

Paul E. Dangerously should get intellectual property rights for the word extreme by now.

Without me, you'd simply be couponing

Royalties, at least.

Another ingredient in the American Gumbo, extreme couponing is the new trend.  Or is it a fad?  I can never tell.  Irregardless, it’s…..interesting.  Or I wouldn’t be talking about the extreme nature of coupons.  Like the blind devotion we see from cheerleader mom and wrestling fans booing sensible foreign policy (not their fault,really), extreme couponing demands blind devotion.  To shopping.  Or consuming.  Or eating crap food.  Guess I’m trying to say there’s plenty of blind devotion involved.

It also provides a rare glimpse into some Real Grade-A American Madness.  Take this 21st Century Norman Rockwell below.

I think you can just bathe in them

Thankfully Mr. Rockwell has passed on.  But 600 lbs. of obesity marveling over dozens of bags of potato chips is a quintessentially American image.  Don’t confuse this as mean spirited.  It’s not.  The above image is sad.  This well meaning couple’s life revolves around food shopping and hording snack foods.  Is that a way to live?

Rhetorically speaking, only if your dream is to do nothing.  Clearly I’m not a shopaholic.  I do not shop till I drop.

But buying 3 dozen Maalox because you have a $5 off coupon still means you’re buying three dozen bottles of Maalox.  Which probably makes sense if all you eat is processed food you buy with coupons.

Trudging through some of the YouTube channels of extreme couponers, there is some definite comedy.  Take this clip below.

Whoops, that’s Coupon: The Movie.  I guess 1996 was the first time coupons were marketed as entertainment.  Ahh, Mr. Show with Bob and David.  If you’ve never seen it, for shame!

“Honey, guess what?”


“I got ya some socks!”

Deadpan at its finest.  And 15 years before its’ time.  Cutting coupons as entertainment.  “Genius,” the marketer squawks.

There really are funny clips on YouTube.  I should qualify my use of the word ‘funny.’

Hobo With A Shotgun, as I have mentioned, is comic platinum.  Not gold.  Platinum.

Bridesmaids, on the other hand, I found dull.  I’ve been actively seeking out female perspective on how exactly that film was a comedy.  I didn’t get it.  The catty, backstabbing antics of Annie and the bridal party lieutenant were just unappealing.  I found it hard to find a character worth rooting for.

And Maya Rudolph pooping in the street in a wedding gown does not pass muster.  Ain’t funny.  A clip from a Maury Povich paternity test was the closest I got to a laugh.  So please, if you’re a woman that can explain the comic elements in that movie, please leave a comment and explain.  I’m totally stumped on this one, since the movie appears to be funny to people.

Hell, I got more laughs from The Hidden Faith of The Founding Fathers.

A three-hour docutorical (that would be a rhetorical documentary, to be taken with 2-4 salt grains) production from a Christian film ministry.  Yup.  A Christian film ministry.  It’s about how the Founding Fathers were [spoiler alert] NOT Christians.  More laughs than Bridesmaids, easy.  Bridesmaids didn’t have any gems like, “The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought.”

[Lingering in the air like a hot fart]

The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought

[Still lingering]

That’s a quote from the mouth of Christian J. Pinto.  A cryptojournalist’s dream, I sez.  If you want to see for yourself, it’s at the very end of the video, the 2:56:53 point to be precise.  Unreal.  The Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought.  Priceless.  Thank you, Mr. Pinto, for generating more laughs for a cryptojournalist than a summer comedy blockbuster.

He also employs cherry-picking tactics, with Barack Obama calling himself a Christian.  He contrasts this technique with how David Barton (a Christian minister) apparently misleads Christians into believing the Founding Fathers were Christians. At 2:09:55 of the video, Christian Pinto drops this chuckle bomb:

How would it be if somebody like David Barton came to your church and they put up a picture of Barack Obama, and they showed this quote from Obama and they said, “Wow, this is proof that Obama is a Christian.  And he’s really.  No, he’s not a closet Muslim.  Um no, he’s a Christian.”


That’s right.

You’re not hallucinating.

He played the “Barack Obama closet Muslim” card.  Gangster.  Super gully.  And MUCH funnier than the airplane scene from Bridesmaids.  Not as humorous as touting the Bible doesn’t promote freedom of thought, but good laughs nonetheless.

Pinto inadvertently makes the strongest argument FOR the Illuminati I’ve ever heard.  The video, if you’ve got the patience to sit through, is a train wreck.  Total shit show.  Cynical I may be, but this is very funny.  In a twisted way.  Blind devotion?  Stuffed to the gills.

Phew.  Hell of a qualifier.

I laugh at strange stuff.

Which brings us back to the YouTube exploits of extreme couponers.

A slow building laugh, but the progressive inadvertent comedy of watching this episode of “Coffee with Collin” builds through the clip.  Using a “hot” coupon in the travel section, “So beautiful,” is one thing.  The comic progression of watching her start the clip with a Starbucks coffee, purchasing Wet Ones at WalMart then buying Taco Bell for lunch is too much.

And the comments section.  Well, one dude sums up his opinion like this, “This woman is dead inside.”  And I might agree.  If not dead inside, perhaps gassy and irregular?

You know what?  People watch.  And like the videos.  So I guess there has to be something to the extreme coupon fad.

I’ve decided it’s a fad.  Trends are indicative of future momentum.  Fads fade with time.  Real people aren’t going to dedicate 10-30 hours per week to their shopping alone.  That’s a very shallow life in my opinion.  There is a real payoff for parents if they’re getting diapers for a nickle apiece.  Smart as hell, since babies poop.

Then there’s this.  These twins, dubbed the Double Saving Divas, are unmarried and childless, giving advice to mothers on buying diapers and wipes.  I would give advice to my buddies with kids on parenting, but what the fuck do I know?  Single childless women have more disposable income and free time compared to mothers.

Am I off target here?  Granted, they give good tips.  But, I feel like I’m missing.  Also, a pair of twins (as noted on their Extreme Coupon episode on TLC, in their early 30’s) who dub themselves divas and stockpile diapers?  I bet they’re beating suitors away with a stick.  Only if they got that stick on sale, though.

Sarcasm aside, there appears to be a disconnect here.  How many mothers have the time and loose cash to do this?  Some, but I wager not many.  A lady with no kids giving advice (at the end of the video) on buying size 3 diapers, because your baby tends to grow out of smaller sizes much faster.

Experience counts for nothing, I guess.  And I am not trying to be a typical man, a chauvinist, woman bashing or not P.R. but the way these two operate is very intimidating.  A nutless, beaten down brave man would he be who walks into a diva’s home to the sight of a wall of diapers.  Just my 2 cents, but that sort of crazed, blind devotion (in this instance, to their theoretical babies) is off-putting.

Good luck with that, though.

The cheerleading, wrestling and extreme couponing subcultures, while aesthetically different, are all ingredients in American Gumbo.  It would appear so is blind devotion.  Mental blinders, thinking (more aptly stewing) without perspective, begets nutty stage mothers dragging a school district through the federal court system.  Or bowing in fealty to shopping and consumption that’s never satisfied.  When ‘my’ demands trump everything, and everyone wants to do nothing, let that simmer over medium low heat for 3-4 hours.  Stir occasionally and sprinkle with Neo-Randian perspective for a delicious American Gumbo.

Table Scraps AKA Crumb Snatching

Posted in Cryptojournalism, politics, popular culture, Sports with tags , , , , on June 16, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

Couple things I’d like to hit on.  Be warned, this will probably veer into comedic blue territory.

A commenter for The Long Islanders as well as my buddy Johnny P. from Paintball Arena on Long Island (here’s the Facebook page) pointed out the upcoming bond issue in Nassau County concerning the Islanders.  In case you’re clueless (as was I), there is an August 1st vote on  a bond issue, the Islanders seeking $400 million for a proposed value injection arena for Team Downstate (or is that $500 million?).  I speak in only slight hyperbole.  $350 million goes to the arena.  The other $50 mil (also called a Wall Street Snack in the biz) goes towards a proposed minor league baseball team.

Guess the Long Island Ducks (Warning: the website quacks) and Brooklyn Cyclones aren’t enough.  Can’t wait to see the Nassau Commuters in Single A action.

Should be the 1st inductee into the Ducks Hall of Fame

I need to share a quick personal anecdote before we get to more important (ha!) matters.  While the affectionately dubbed “Crazy Carl” played for the Ducks, I yelled, “I remember when you broke up Mike Mussina’s perfect game.”  The man had to cover his face as he manned the outfield, afraid to bust into a shit eating grin.  Good times.

Better a funny moment with Carl Everett than Jose Offerman, right?

2nd inductee into the Ducks Hall of Fame

A third minor league baseball team in Downstate New York?  Is this a ploy?  I’m not saying the Nassau Commuters won’t thrive.  Maybe they will.  It’s a smoke screen.  Charles Wang is trying to play a game of parlay.  With a value barely sniffing $150 million and the worst draw in the 4th major American sport, Wang is trying to get the residents of Nassau County to foot the bill in the hopes it increases his team’s value.

Putting the Islanders in a $350-450 million arena is akin to building a six car garage for your 1987 Nissan.  The arena would be more than twice as valuable as the franchise.  Does that make any sense?

I wouldn't watch a hockey game in that

Crumb snatching is the wrong word.  A public bond to house a 1987 jalopy?  That’s pilfering, friends.

Onto lighter fodder.  I’m going to admit something here which will strike at the heart of cryptojournalism as a discipline and at my credibility as a person.  Mob Wives on VH1?  Yeah, that’s my shit right there.  It’s breathtaking.  Like watching a young Bob Ross on the canvas.  If he were painting a car crash in slow motion.

Can’t stop watching though.  I would suggest anyone who hasn’t seen it, watch an episode or 5.  Fists flying, f-bombs raining from the heavens, and a couple of the ladies are pretty hot.  This is where the kiddies and those squeamish readers should just leave.  We’re going to delve into the cesspool of VH1’s inexplicable porn ties.

Thankfully I didn’t have to do all the legwork.  Because apparently, dozens of people employed by VH1 for their programming have been in or went on to do porn.  Yikes.  What does this have to do with Mob Wives?  It was a bump the producers must have used half a dozen times between teasers for next week’s episode and coming up later….on Mob Wives.

Sorry Drita.

I bet that kept male viewers tuned in

Extremely conspicuous.  Drita D’Avanzo gets blackout drunk and this is what VH1 highlights.  Which makes me wonder if VH1 is a feeder system into the biz or out?  And by into the biz, well, it’s the one which resides between teenagers and senior citizens.

That would be the adult business.

So you know, Drita is definitely the best character on the show.  Interesting to see how VH1 likes to use the talent.  And before you consider this a misogynist rant or sexist, well, it is.  It can even be called exploitation.  I can only wonder aloud if this sort of editing chicanery is the means by which reality talent morphs into porn talent.  Doubt it, but considering the network’s record, who knows.

If you consider that a little blue, just leave now.  Make my words, you won’t like what comes next.

Rickyisms.  Best nearlyisms you’ll find on YouTube.

I’m putting this out there, so when it happens in the future I can have a hearty laugh.

The way the Republican primary race is shaping up, being the popular culture connoisseur I am, before Christmas I’ll wager there’s a Sarah Palin/Michele Bachmann inspired porno.  A sequel to the first Who’s Nailin Paylin is already in the books.  Don’t worry, no links or unseemly milfy pictures or anything.  Just my women’s intuition that some slimy company makes Sara Nailin vs. Michelle Cockmann: The Capital Hill Gangbang (insert current Anthony Weiner joke).

Cut! That's a wrap folks, great job this afternoon

See?  Told you that you should’ve stopped reading.