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Let me just pause my rage for a moment and take the time to pen this rant.

iTunes 9.  What can I say?  You suck.  That’s about it.  Updating my iPod has become a nightmare of an experience because of you, fraught with anger and that little spinning rainbow circle of doom that represents my computer saying, “Hey, hold on, there’s just too much going on right now.”  I have a healthy musical diet, and iTunes 9 is starving me right now, AND it’s probably giving me an ulcer.  Yeah, I’ve tried to go on Apple’s sorry excuse for a support site.  The message boards are full of people who are having the same problems as I am, and NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO DO.  There are no answers.  And now I can’t burn CDs… which, admittedly might be (probably is) a problem with my CD drive or something.  But, I’ve only had problems with it since I was FORCED to download the travesty that is iTunes 9.  Yes, forced.  My sister was trying to put videos on her iPod and couldn’t do it unless she upgraded (pshaw – downgraded is more like it) to iTunes 9, so she did.  AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE HER.  Just kidding (but I’m certainly not happy).

So, Apple.  I beseech you to fix this glitchy piece of crap called iTunes 9.  Seriously. Was it forged in the pits of hell or something?  I’m about to rip my hair out and then I’m going to make you pay my medical bills when I have to have it surgically replaced.  I’m sure you’ll heed my advice.  I like you, I really do, but this is putting a serious strain on our relationship.  You don’t want that, now do you?

Jezebel.com has a post up today about a mother’s failed attempt at book banning in her child’s school library at Thiesen Middle School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  She attempted to have the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series removed, as well as Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern, What My Mother Doesn’t Know and One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, both by Sonya Sones.

I found it to be particularly interesting because I’m currently in an honors course on banned books.  Just last week, we began discussion on Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  Our preliminary discussion of the book included reference to its role in the Supreme Court case, Island Trees School District v. Pico.  A teacher in the school district decided to teach Slaughterhouse-Five.  One of the girls in his class told her mother that the book had some objectionable content, one thing led to another, and soon a janitor was made to burn copies of the book in the school furnace.  The decision was challenged by many of the students, and a few of them (including Pico) took the school district to court.  Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court ruled that “local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to ‘prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.'”

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A bunch of analysts who are artistes at praising crappy films have weighed in on this year’s Golden Globes nominations, and who they believe will win.  You can find them at this link.  

The “pundits” are Lane Brown (Vulture, New York Magazine), Erik Davis (Cinematical), Edward Douglas (ComingSoon.net), Scott Feinberg (AndTheWinnerIs), Marshall Fine (Star Magazine, Hollywood and Fine), Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season, The Envelope), Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Kevin Lewin (World Entertainment News Network), Guy Lodge (InContention), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Sam Rubin (KTLA), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jeff Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere), Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today).

Here are some lowlights:

BEST DRAMA PICTURE
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds” – Lodge
“Precious”
“Up in the Air” – Brown, Douglas, Feinberg, Fine, Karger, Lewin, Rubin, Stone
“Avatar” – Davis, Hammond, Musto, Travers, Wells, Wloszczyna

Okay… sure, Avatar is pretty looking, and it’s got some amazing technological power behind it, but best drama?!  Fo realz?  It’s not even best animated film of the year (because, come on, it’s mostly animated).  I haven’t seen Up in the Air yet, but I’m already rooting for it.  Then there’s that tiny part of me that would love to see Inglourious Basterds win.  Anything but Avatar, please.

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I live in the Louisville, Kentucky, area.  We have two weekly free magazines in the area, “Velocity,” which is published in conjunction with the local newspaper, and “LEO,” which is an independent rag.  I enjoy them and will pick the newest issue up whenever I see it.

In one of the most recent issues of “LEO,” I found this opinion piece, “Reflections of an ex man-whore,” by Ricky L. Jones, and was so utterly disappointed in it.  It is perhaps the most ignorant analyzation of the entire Tiger Woods drama that I have read thus far.  Not only am I upset to find this in a publication that has a reputation for being extremely liberal-minded, but it would seem that the author is extremely well-regarded and well-educated, and is now an educator himself.  

Even more upsetting is that, as far as he’s concerned, it would be pointless to argue with his dated point-of-view, which he seems to take a certain amount of pride in.  As he so lovingly puts it, “I know, I know — my tone offends you. I am a Neanderthal sexist, a disrespectful, angry fellow who hates women because I think men have the capacity to speak for ourselves. I’m screwed up because I remind you that women cheat, too (and are pretty good at it, by the way). Go ahead and send me your nasty little notes. Take your best shot. It’s no secret that I don’t give a damn, so go for it.”

Not that I really see the point in arguing with a man who asserts that we live, “in a world in which most men have been softened to the point of making me vomit.”  I’m just so sick and tired of hearing the “monogamy isn’t natural for men” argument.  Poor men, they suffer so much.  Ironic that Dr. Jones argues that men are too soft, then goes on to whine about how difficult it is to be a man nowadays.  Yes, I must have forgotten that men get paid less than women, that they are told what to do with their own bodies, that they have a harder time getting certain jobs, that they can’t be sexually active without being called “whores” or “sluts,” instead of “studs” and “lady-killers.”

Oh, wait… it’s not opposite day.

It’s our good friend, Glenn Beck!  And I have a terrifying picture for you, but I’m putting it behind a cut because I don’t want to vomit every time I visit my own blog!

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Why do people always assume that if a person voted for President Obama, then they must “love” him, or think that he’s their “savior,” or whatever rot. Yes, there are plenty of people who think this. But there are also plenty of people, myself included, who voted for him because he is a Democrat, and they are Democrats as well.  I voted for him because I couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, and he was the next best thing.  I don’t agree with him on some things and I’m as worried about the economy as anyone else. Yes, I voted for him, and yes, I’ll give him my support and trust, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to bow down and worship him, nor am I unable to see his flaws.

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Well, let me hop back up on my soapbox again.  I posted something similar to this about Coldplay the other day, and now I’ve been hearing the same allegations of plagiarism being thrown at comedian Dane Cook.  Now, I like stand-up comedy, and I’ve listened to or watched a few of Dane Cook’s specials.  I will say the man has a crazy energy on stage that makes it look like he’s having a good time, and that’s infectious.  However, his material isn’t anything new, it’s not particularly original or world-changing, and sometimes it’s not even funny.  Listening to or reading his material diminishes the “funny” factor by about a million.  I truly believe the mark of a good comedian is when their words, being read silently, in someone’s head or whatever, without facial expressions, hand gestures, or voice inflection, is still funny.  Dane Cook does not fall into this category of comedian.

Still, I think he’s tolerable.  He doesn’t incite hatred in me the way blatantly idiotic, one-joke, plagiarizing comedians like Carlos Mencia do.  That is until I found out about some of this “stealing jokes” crap.  There are situations where comedians can come up with similar bits.  However, this Demetri Martin bit (and the Dane Cook bit that follows) are so blatantly similar, one cannot really make the argument that it was merely an accident or something.

They both mention being given a smaller-sized shoe, and wondering if the salesperson at the shoe store expects them to lose/have lost their toes.  That’s uncannily similar.

Now here’s one comparing Dane Cook bits to Louis CK bits, and they are eerily similar.  (I think the title of the video, “Louis CK steals from Dane Cook!” is meant to be funny/ironic.  That YouTube user also has one titled, “Queen steals from Vanilla Ice!”).

So there you have it.  Dane Cook = the Vanilla Ice of comedy.  Yeah, “Ice Ice Baby” is a cool song, and you like to listen to it occasionally, but then you hear “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie and you think, “Whoa, why in god’s name did I ever think that butt licker Vanilla Ice made good music?”  And that’s basically Dane Cook and comedy.

Ending with some fun stuff, here’s a video of a (arguably less famous) comedian doing a great Dane Cook impersonation.

DaneCook

Just a compendium of awful songs and their awful music videos.  Enjoy.

Rusko Star – “Attention Whore”

Amazingly cheesy.

Millionaires – “Alcohol”

A handful of sorority girls with bad dye jobs attempt hip hop.

Aiden – “One Love”

Ridiculous, weepy, strange emo rock.

Complete – “Hoogie-Boogie Land”

Seems like something that Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly would do in a movie, but it’s all too real.

Chris Dane Owens – “Shine on Me”

A music video for 90s-era, adult contemporary type music, masquerading as a trailer for a fantasy film in the vein of “Lord of the Rings.”  I know it’s complex, so just watch it.

Mark Gormley – “Without You”

Words cannot express how awful this is.  The intro makes it even better.

brokeNCYDE – “Freaxxx”

I think you can tell just from the title that this is going to suck.  And it just goes downhill from there.  Screamo/emo/hip-hop, who would’ve thought such a thing existed?

I just read this on PerezHilton.com, and I have to say that it cracks me up and saddens me a bit.  The irony is a bit overwhelming.

A little exposition first, though:  Apparently Jon Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus Eight fame has been engaging in a little extramarital fling with a 23-year old.  Just recently, her brother/roommate confirmed the affair.

Now, why do I find this amusing?  Because I get so sick of hearing about this show.  So many girls my age just love it.  Why?  I really can’t put myself in that mindset, being of the opinion that the show is annoying, awful, and cheesy, but I’ll try to make an educated guess.  I think that they wish for the same existence that Kate has.  To one day marry a guy they love, who lets them boss him around, and then to pop out eight babies and have a TV crew film their “happiness.”  To spend their life being nurturers and committed (albeit insane, naggy) wives.

I think that this news serves as a reminder not only of the reality behind “reality television,” but also of the reality of seemingly perfect marriages.  I’m so sick of seeing women portrayed as naggy and mean towards each other and their men in the media, and having a real woman (Kate) embody this so fiercely in her tirades against her husband and her snotty comments really made me despise her.  Sure, I’m betting that he had a lot to do with it too (obviously it’s a two-sided thing; having an affair isn’t exactly something that will strengthen a marriage).  However, a part of me can’t blame him.  Yes, there are always alternatives to adultery (like getting a divorce first, or trying counseling), and I’m not condoning it; I’m just saying that I can see why the guy was miserable.

I’m all for equality between men and women, and I think that both husband and wife should take the reins of their marriage and family.  However, equality between husband and wife does not give a woman a free pass to constantly nag and berate her husband.  I remember seeing a clip from the show on The Soup, where Kate ripped Jon a new one for forgetting a coupon.  Honey, pick your battles.  A coupon?  Honestly.  He just acted passive throughout the entire thing, as if he was absolutely sick and tired of it, and was just accustomed to letting her lectures go in one ear and out the other.  A coping mechanism, if you will.

Jon and Kate fit that old sitcom “husband-and-wife” standard, seen on shows like King of Queens, where the wife wears the pants in the family and the husband resorts to ignoring her or getting back at her in petty ways.  It’s great to see powerful females on film and television, but honestly I don’t find these women powerful.  It takes a powerful woman to share the pants wearing duties with her husband.  Taking the reins by yourself is easy; learning to balance everything is a difficult puzzle.

I just hope that this is a lesson to all of my female peers who saw this show as the ideal.  Marriage is so much more than we see on TV, even if it is on “reality” television.  Most of the time, being married and having kids is no fairy tale.  Anyone with divorced parents knows this.  The fact that they have eight kids is particularly distressing; what will happen to these children as their parents’ marriage shifts and perhaps falls apart?  Love, marriage, and children are nothing to play around with; it’s not “house” that they’re playing, it’s life, and there are emotions in the balance, the livelihood of kids who have no say in the situation.  It’s important to remember that things aren’t always exactly as they seem on television, and that it’s advisable not to set certain people or relationships or lifestyles up on a pedestal, because expectations and perceptions fall short.

Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) has recently come out saying that Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” takes some huge musical cues from his “Foreigner Suite.”

See what you think:

I think that it seems more like a coincidence.  This Joe Satriani song, “If I Could Fly,” (which he has accused Coldplay of ripping off) does sound a whole lot like “Viva la Vida,” and maybe not just coincidentally so:

A little-known band called Creaky Boards has also accused Coldplay of ripping them off with “Viva la Vida.”

This and the Satriani song are uncanny.  So, what’s the deal?  I think the deal is that Coldplay (particularly Chris Martin) wrote the song without realizing that he was so heavily influenced by these other songs (which he’d probably heard before).  I think that the right thing to do is to give these folks writing credits, and maybe a chunk of cash.  But, I’m sure that Coldplay doesn’t read my blog, nor would they care about my opinion.  Let’s just say that my opinion of them has gone down quite a bit, though.

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