Friday, October 31, 2008

Putting the "Slutty" in Hallo-slutty-ween

As that cinematic feat of social analysis Mean Girls pointed out, Halloween has become the one day a year when nubile young women are allowed/encouraged to parade themselves in the skimpiest/skankiest of outfits without being judged for it. Note that nubile young women are always encouraged to do this; it's just the magic of Halloween that provides a forum for doing it and not being judged (as harshly).

But did you ever know where this trend started? Well, neither do I, for I'm assuming the encouragement of women to dress in provocative outfits runs further back than modern Halloween celebrations. But I did find out today an interesting tidbit about the company facilitating the explosion in Halloween objectification: a classy little company called (I shit you not) Leg Avenue.

They've given the world such stalwart costumes as sexy nurse and sexy cowgirl, yet also opened us up to sexy Little Red Riding Hood and sexy Referee. But more importantly than the many sexy variations of all possible costumes is the more pertinent lesson Leg Avenue has taught us, namely that all proper Halloween costumes for women include thigh-high stockings. It's what separates the sexy zookeepers of the world from the standard zookeepers that may or may not actually be sexy.

And while Leg Avenue does sell men's apparel, for some odd reason it's neither anywhere near as revealing nor does it have the adjective "sexy" in front of every garment...

Anyhoo, Happy Halloween to you all and may your costumes be appropriately skanky!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On Voting, Democracy, and All of That...Stuff

Voting has always been a sticky point for Radicals like your humble neighborhood blogger. On the one hand, I recognize that in a presidential election my vote consists of .0000000000000192% of the electorate, and is likely to be subject to voter fraud. Not to mention that by voting you implicitly endorse this terrible, terrible candidate-selection system that in no way responds to people's real needs.

Yet at the same time, you have to acknowledge that not voting for such reasons is a bit of a privileged position to take. After all, thousands of people have died in thousands of different conflicts to guarantee the right to vote (though of course I'm referring to those battles fought by women, African-Americans, Eastern Europeans, etc. to get the right to vote, not some bullshit war that accomplished nothing) and to not vote would be spitting in their face.

All that being said, I still drag my ass to the voting booth for every election there is. Assuredly part of it is to cancel out the votes of others, not to mention the high civic-participation rates of us here in the upper Midwest.

But I guess ultimately it comes down to recognizing voting for what it is: a relatively important 10 minute (if you live in a nice enough neighborhood to get polling stations that are actually staffed and well-maintained) act that is but one small part of making actual political change. I suppose it's a lot like grocery shopping -- it's important, but it still doesn't mean you have dinner.

Still not convinced about the semi-importance of voting? Don't take my word for it! Take the word of a guy who produces subversive surrealist late-night cartoons:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Anyone who's taking the time to read this knows how fucked up the treatment of RNC protestors has been, but especially for those charged with the completely bullshit terrorism counts. Below is a communiqué from the Friends of the RNC 8:

A petition by Friends of the RNC 8 has been put together calling for the Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner to drop all the charges against the RNC 8. Defend The RNC8! Dismiss the Charges! :

The goal is 100,000 signatures. Please take a moment to sign the petition. Then help get the word out by forwarding the petition to friends and family or posting a link on your Facebook page.

For updates on the case visit: . To get automatic email updates, sign up here:

The legal costs for the RNC 8 are estimated at $250,000. Donations can be made via PayPal or you can mail in a check (there is even a tax deductible option). All the information you need is at:
Donations of all sizes are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fuck the Weak and Elderly, I'm Setting a World Record

Today the U attempted (and succeeded well beyond expectations) to set the world record for most flu shots given in one day. Your humble li'l blogger is but one of many who helped set this record, but still, that makes me a world record holder in some sort of miniscule way. Can I claim such credit when I was one of thousands and was in no way involved beyond spending 10 minutes waiting in line and getting a simple flu shot? No, I really can't. But did I go ahead and put "World Record Holder" on my c.v.? Yes, yes I did. For I see very little difference between what that show-boating Bolt guy did and what I did. And I'm not even bragging as much as he did...

Sadly not the world record I hold

Monday, October 27, 2008

Whoopsie, Sorry About Your House and Retirement

Anyone following the news of this whole economic crisis by now knows that Alan Greenspan, that financial "genius" who would ensure us endless growth and prosperity, has now admitted he was wrong. It turns out this genius is just now figuring out that completely un-regulated markets directed by the greed of executive boards of major corporations will not lead to the greatest good for everyone. It's funny because I learned this in college, but maybe Greenspan's undergrad institution wasn't quite as prestigious as the University of Northern Iowa.

But that's why it must be great to be a powerful capitalist. Because even when you fuck up the world's economy using logic a child could see through, you get to just kick back and say "Whoops. Sorry about ruining the lives of thousands of people and all that. Well, it's back home for me to count my giant piles of money."

Man, nice work if you can get it...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Funk The War in the Twin Cities Today

A roving dance party/anti-war protest. It honestly gets no better than this.

Be there. Or be square. And fuck Huey Lewis, you do not want to be square.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Music You *Need* To Hear

How on the heels of my post the other day, yet another group has come out with a book on the 500 songs you should hear before you die. Not quite sure why all of these lists reference your impending doom, but hey...

This one is from the fine folks at Pichfork, so expect a lot of uppity sass, pretension, and condescension mixed in amongst your reviews. Though on the plus side, after reading it you can be the pretentious music asshole at the party, and everybody wants to be that guy, right? Right?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Outrage, etc.

The Denver Police Department is currently producing and selling these t-shirts:

So yes, just so you can be up to speed: the Denver PD has designed, produced, and is currently selling shirts in which they proudly proclaim they beat people. And in case you can't see the details in the photo, the "peace" officer in question is wearing a button featuring a 68 with a slash through it, no doubt in reference to the group "Recreate 68" that planned many of the protest events.

Ironically for me I get word of this shirt while in the midst of writing a prelim section on police brutality. While I can't sum the whole thing up here, I think the shirt says it better than I could anyway. Police brutality is not an aberration of which the police are ashamed. Rather, it's something quite common and something which they're obviously quite proud of.

However, this does make me wonder how many Denver PD will be wearing this shirt when they're called into court facing civil lawsuits over their excessive violence during the DNC. I would guess that all of a sudden they'll be very contrite and pretend they didn't do anything wrong. But then again, I suppose that's the way it is with all cowardly bullies: they're the biggest and meanest kids around until they get in trouble...

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Have Seen the Future (of football)

And it is the a11 offense.

Developed by a small-enrollment high school football coach as a way to compete with much bigger teams, it exploits a loophole in the kick-formation rules to make all 11 players on the field potentially eligible receivers on every play. As one might imagine, it creates both havoc for defenders and some pretty cool youtube videos.

The coach who developed it argues it's the next evolution in football, as pass rushers get too fast for linemen and they become obsolete.

Now, I don't know that the o-line is going to become obsolete anytime too soon, but it's an intriguing development. As I've argued here before, football is getting to a crisis of size. Even college linemen have ballooned to obscene weights, and even some high school linemen are topping 300 pounds. Now, the vast majority of these kids putting themselves into such harmful body weights will never earn money for playing the sport, but will still be stuck for life with the debilitating problems such massive size brings. Heck, even the ones who do end up getting paid can look forward to an average life expectancy of 55.

Innovations like the a11 could be the way out of this arms race (or body race, to be more accurate), as they call for a leaner, faster player instead of bigger and bulkier players. And it has the added advantage of less serious injuries, as the crushing head-on blows of the current game are replaced with glancing blows in the open field.

Predictably, several states have already banned the use of the offense, with critiques running from it being too hard on opposing defenses to it simply being too confusing for refs, but it's gaining in popularity throughout the nation. It's far too early to say if it will be the new thing or simply a passing fad, but it could be a signpost toward a positive evolution of possibly the most violent game on the earth.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, But I Love Solids

As I've pointed out in this space before, getting sick sucks when you're a grown up. Gone are the days of laying around in bed without a care in the world while all the other suckers have to go about their daily lives. No, as an "adult," when you get sick, you merely get much busier when you're better. Case in point: I woke up wednesday with a ridiculous stomach flu. Bad enough to send me to the doctor's office, and I never go to the doctor. It's a scary place and they no longer give me a lollipop for my troubles.

But it turns out it was nothing too serious, though I'm still off the solid foods (though I tried some toast this morning, so keep your fingers crossed). But the shitty thing is that right now I'm working on my prelim, which is more or less a big paper that is either good enough and I get to become a bonafide doctoral candidate, or is not good enough and I fail out and go back to selling match sticks on the corner for my 18th century, Dickensian step-father.

So as the good Doc was telling me not to leave bed for the next three days and offering to write me a note to get out of class, I couldn't help but laugh and wish that I was still at a stage where a nice Dr.'s note got you out of pretty much everything. Instead, I went home and attempted to write through the fog...I haven't gone back and looked at those sections yet, but I'm imagining they aren't very good.

So it looks like a fun weekend of playing catchup, once again shredding what few moments of free time I hoped to have...

Oh, and since I haven't blogged on anything political in awhile, remember how the New York Times uncovered the secret Pentagon program of writing fake news reports and other propaganda to convince Americans and Iraqis that the highly unpopular occupation is a good idea? Well, it's still going on, just fine and with no signs of stopping.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What You Should Listen To...

There's a great number of interesting music blogs I've been tempted to ape when I have some rare free time for writing such flippant things (most intriguing is the favorite song for every year you've lived idea), but one I fear I shall never try is the the 1,000 songs you must hear before you die.

Since seeing the list, I've been brimming with ideas of who would be on my must-hear list, though I feel like it's really a list that a 26 year old kid shouldn't/can't be writing. Maybe I'll leave it until the days I'm old and gray, sitting in some sort of fancy future rocking chair, sipping some sort of fancy future tea, and complaining about the weird fancy future music all of those damn future kids are listening to.

But I do have the workings of a list started. Perhaps I'll write the 250 songs you need to hear by the time you're 30; I don't know. But I do know that any such list is incomplete unless it heavily features the shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner, the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher and the competent drumwork of Don Brewer...

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Shark Messiah Arrives

Scientists have just confirmed the second known virgin birth of a shark, which could only mean one thing:

The sharks now have their messiah.

What does this mean for humanity? Only one thing, I'm afraid: The sharks will rise up, led by this new shark messiah and will over-take humanity at the top of the global food chain.

There is nothing left to do now except accept out new overlords. And let me be first to say, woe to all those who challenge the intelligence and temerity of our new shark leaders! All hail the shark!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Time To Party Like It's 1999 (+2)

Ah, the halcyon days of 2001...N*Sync was still considered a valid pop group, an aging Joe Piscapo pondered a run for the governor of New Jersey, the events of September 11th Changed The World Forever™, and the domestication of the dog continued unfettered.

In honor of their 10th birthday, Google has created Google 2001, allowing you to search their oldest available index, which, as you may have guessed, is from 2001.

So go play around on it and be reminded of a simpler time before moose-hunting secessionists and a massive economic's kinda fun.

The top internet fraud scams of 2001...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Getting Cold and Manning Up

Here in the great north, turning the furnace on is a big deal every winter. While sooner or later everyone has to break down and turn it on, it becomes a point of pride to see how long you can go before turning to the comforts of artificial heat. Personally, I think having your heater running anytime before November is a sign of getting soft, but opinions vary.

So while I've been able to hold off on the thermostat, I did today have to bust out the insulated slippers. It feels early, but it's a cold and miserable day, and I think I'm getting sick, so I finally had to break down and admit it's getting to be cold outside.

But while my feet have given out on me, at least I haven't turned the heat on yet...

Monday, October 06, 2008

The One Benefit of Private Schools

I'm not a fan of private schools. I'm sure it's due partially to the fact that I've attended nothing but public schools throughout my life, but it's more an ideological stance. Education is a basic human right that should be afforded to all, not split between those who can afford great schools and ghettoized prison complexes for the rest of us.

But while at the lady friend's college reunion this weekend, I learned the one upside of private schools: there is a much better chance some of their wealthy alumnus have gone on to do something famous. Or in this case, marry someone famous.

For you see, the fourth Mrs. Gingrich is a proud Luther College Alumnus. And this affords you a chance to annoy Mr. Contract With America himself, while he takes awkward sideways glances at the leftist propaganda emblazoned all over your bag and clothes. But being a good politician, he faked a smile for us anyway:

Remember when I was a relevant political figure?