Mark Foley in action!

Oct 07, 2006 in Current Events

The Mark Foley scandal has been all over the news, but if you haven’t yet read the leaked instant messages, they’re hilarious. Well, if you find sexually explicit messages from 52-year-old congressmen to bi-curious 16-year-olds funny, that is.

The interesting thing is that Foley’s messages are often misspelled and grammatically mangled — just like most text messages. Either he’s trying to ingratiate himself to his teen pages, or the esteemed congressman just has lousy typing/spelling skills. Or else he’s typing one-handed.

Among other things, Foley and his bi-curious ex-page discuss fetishes (Foley likes steam rooms, while the boy likes plaster casts and school uniforms), penis size (7 1/2 inches), and Mom’s computer illiteracy. Here are a few highlights:

  • Maf54 (7:37:27 PM): how my favorite young stud doing
  • Maf54 (7:46:33 PM): did any girl give you a haand job this weekend
  • Maf54 (7:48:34 PM): i am never to busy haha
  • Maf54 (7:55:51 PM): cute butt bouncing in the air
  • Maf54 (7:58:37 PM): well I have aa totally stiff wood now
  • Maf54 (7:58:59 PM): but it must feel great spirting on the towel
  • Maf54 (8:01:21 PM): i am hard as a rock..so tell me when your reaches rock
    Xxxxxxxxx (8:01:23 PM): i have a cast fetish

  • Maf54 (8:04:17 PM): um so a big buldge
    Xxxxxxxxx (8:04:35 PM): ya
    Maf54 (8:04:45 PM): um
    Maf54 (8:04:58 PM): love to slip them off of you
    Xxxxxxxxx (8:05:08 PM): haha
    Maf54 (8:05:53 PM): and gram the one eyed snake
    Maf54 (8:06:13 PM): grab
    Xxxxxxxxx (8:06:53 PM): not tonight?dont get to excited
    Maf54 (8:07:12 PM): well your hard
    Xxxxxxxxx (8:07:45 PM): that is true
    Maf54 (8:08:03 PM): and a little horny

On a related note, as fun as it is to make fun of Mark Foley’s horny instant messages to teen pages, part of me actually feels sorry for him. These are not the actions of a fully self-aware, healthy gay man (as Foley himself just recently disclosed). Rather, these are the actions of a highly repressed gay man — one that happened to be a high-ranking Republican congressman.

The Republican party is decidedly anti-gay and anti-sex, so scandals such as this are no surprise. When people have to choose between their political career and their sexual orientation, their sex life often ends up lurking in the shadows as a dark, dirty secret. Thus, the in-the-closet Foley ends up soliciting teen pages for sexual favors, as opposed to having relatively normal, healthy sex with consenting gay adults.


God damn it, I hate my government!

Oct 02, 2006 in Current Events

While there’s a lot about our current leadership that I — and plenty of other people — are dissatisfied with, it takes a lot to make me utter the above sentence. Now that the government has decided to hit my pocketbook, I feel no shame in saying it.

In a cowardly, last-minute move on the last day of business before midterm elections, Congressional Republicans slipped a measure into an important port security bill to ban banking transactions related to internet gambling. A similar bill had already passed the House in July, but instead of getting a fair hearing in the Senate, our own Senator Bill Frist slipped the measure into a bill that was guaranteed to pass. Thanks, asshole.

Social conservatives such as Frist like to drone on about how online gambling “hurts families and children.” (groan) But in reality, Congress’ short-sighted ban has done more financial damage than online gaming ever could. The collective stock price and revenue of an entire multi-billion dollar international industry has declined by at least half, virtually overnight. Nice move for a party that prides itself as the friend of big business. Perhaps the gaming industry should have been more astute about lining the pockets of Republican legislators.

If Congress truly had legitimate concerns about online gambling, prohibition was not the way to fix it. The online gaming industry was practically begging to be regulated. Now, online poker (at least in the US) will be underground and still unregulated. Determined players will still find a way to play, despite the ban.

It’s unclear what effect this ban will actually have on internet gambling. The bill bans credit card and banking transactions for online poker rooms and casinos, but credit card companies have banned gambling transactions for years. The vast majority of US players use third-party transfer services such as NetTeller and FirePay. Unless banks place a blanket ban on all transactions from these companies, the ban will be almost fruitless.

There’s an glaring hypocrisy to the online gaming ban. The original bill carved out exceptions for online lotteries, horse betting and fantasy sports. Many states — including districts whose legislators voted for the ban — make significant revenue from local gambling operations, including state lotteries (”a tax on stupidity,” said Voltaire), casinos and racetracks. A regulated online gambling industry could have produced millions of dollars in tax revenue, but online gambling income is now, for all intents and purposes, illegal.

Not to mention that a US online gambling ban violates free trade agreements. In an as-yet-unresolved dispute with the tiny island nation of Antigua, the World Trade Organization has ruled that the US can not ban online gambling. Other nations that headquarter online gaming companies, such as the UK, will likely join in the fray in the coming months.

And finally, Congress is going against the American people on this one. Recent polls by the Wall Street Journal and CNBC showed that 85-90% of Americans support regulation of the online gaming industry.

The online gaming ban was the only major measure added to the port security bill. Measures that were rejected include:

  • Billions for rail and transit security
  • Lifting the cap on federal airport screeners
  • Tightening security at courthouses and increased penalties for attacking a judge

I guess going after internet poker players was more important than all these frivilous measures.


The Lost Music Videos of Jan Terri

Sep 29, 2006 in Music

One consequence of the Internet is that embarrassing moments – even those created 15 years ago and circulated on nth-generation VHS cassettes – can be rediscovered and preserved for posterity.

Such is the case with Jan Terri, a Chicago-area musician who will be remembered for a trove of low-budget music videos, circa 1991-94, that rank among the best (or worst) moments in outsider pop culture.

Online music magazine Jammed has written what is, for now, the definitive profile of Jan’s brief career. The short version is that she peddled a VHS collection of her videos while working as a limo driver. Copies of the videos began circulating and Jan Terri became an underground sensation.

In 1998, Marilyn Manson invited her to play his birthday party and open for his band on tour (documented on Manson’s God is in the TV DVD). Yo La Tengo began covering her song “Rock ‘N Roll Santa” in 2000, and she was featured on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show that year.

Now that her videos have made their way onto YouTube, more people are discovering and even appreciating Jan’s musical talents. “Losing You” is her most popular video, which features Jan badly lip-syncing to her own song.


A MySpace profile exists, although it’s dubious whether it actually belongs to her. (Nevertheless, you can hear “Journey to Mars” and “Rock ‘n Roll Santa”). Jan’s website, now defunct, is mirrored at the Wayback Machine.

If “Losing You” has whet your appetite, here are the remainder of Jan Terri’s videos on YouTube:


Bart Durham’s “Nashville Soap Opera”

Sep 27, 2006 in Pop Culture

Those of you who live in Nashville are probably well aware of Bart Durham, a personal injury lawyer/ambulance chaser whose commercials are frequently seen on local TV. Durham’s commercials have previously focused on feel-good themes and personal injury stories of “real clients” who have received big settlements from tractor-trailer accidents (a specialty of Durham’s).

But recently, Bart Durham’s commercials have become increasingly bizarre and cheesy, relying on the use of bikini-clad models and now a 20-part Nashville Soap Opera (aka “Coach Foster Fights Back”) to catch viewers’ attention.

The plot revolves around a little league baseball coach who becomes paralyzed from the waist-down after a tractor-trailer accident (sound familiar?), and a risky surgical procedure that might allow him to walk again. There’s also a side plot that takes place in Malibu, CA involving a handsome, egotistical movie mogul, a beautiful Russian neurosurgeon, and a lot of bikini clad babes. Oh, and boats.

If the idea of a 20-part mini-soap opera/quasi-softcore porn sounds like a strange way to promote a law firm, then you’d probably be right. The reaction from local viewers has been overwhelmingly negative. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

“All I can say it I would never use your law office due to the use of sex to sell yourselves. It seems as if Bart Durham has no moral dignity due to his consistent use of scantily clad females in all of his commercials.”

“By the way, does Mr. Durham own that boat in the opening seconds of these commercials? If so, he really needs to tone it down. Such a blatant display of material wealth (albeit earned rightfully through the successful practice of the law) seems to be somewhat of a slap in the face to all of his clients.”

“I’m sure you’re a fine man that works hard for your clients. Having said that…FIRE YOUR ADVERTISING TEAM! I’m stuck at home recovering from brain surgery… but because of this, I’m forced to see your terrible commercials over and over again.”

“This is horrible. Even for an ambulance chaser, MAKING UP a story is terrible.”

And yes, you can see the commercials online.

EDIT: Several weeks after I published this, I received an email from Bart Durham himself, commenting on this post:

Andrew,

Even though your article was critical it was extremely well written.
You nailed it. Congratulations on very professional work.

Best wishes,
Bart

See, he’s not such a bad guy. I’ll keep him in mind if I ever get hit by an 18-wheeler.


Three years of b*** **bs

Sep 24, 2006 in Humor

Just to prove that anything can be sold on eBay, man puts well-used, 15-year-old Seattle Supersonics shaving bag up for auction. Fiancee mocks him, saying that it will never sell, and agrees to give him one blow job for every dollar of the final bid. She even puts it in writing.

The final bid was $1050.00 (The money is going to charity, to benefit Celiac disease research.) Congratulations, and I hope your future wife has a strong jaw! [via Digg]


Rachael Ray, stop making the rest of us look bad!

Sep 21, 2006 in Humor

She has 4 shows on the Food network, 12 cookbooks, a line of knives and cookware, as well as a magazine and now a daily talk show! On top of that, she’s also releasing a series of mix CDs with titles like the Too Cool for School Mixtape for Kids.

She admittedly sleeps only four hours a night, while nearly everyone who writes about her admits that just watching her is exhausting. Rachael Ray is everywhere, and she’s making Martha Stewart look lazy in comparison.

Soon she’ll star in her first motion picture and perhaps make her singing debut. You’ll be able to buy Rachael Ray® 30-Minute microwave meals in your grocers’ freezer. She’ll become a fixture on tabloid covers — “Rachael Ray’s secret struggle with bulimia!” In other words, she’ll be like Paris Hilton, but not as slutty (with the FHM pictorial as stand-in for the sex tape.)

Despite her increasing ubiquity and enduring popularity, it’s no secret that many people find her perkiness annoying (myself included). Therefore, it’s fun to imagine that behind the happy-go-lucky facade is the face of a media empire that snaps at subordinates, makes ludicrous demands and kicks puppies (ala Martha Stewart…except for the puppy kicking part. I made that up.)

I’m waiting for the inevitable headline, “Rachael Ray collapses from exhaustion.” Or the revelation that she’s addicted to cocaine, espresso and methamphetamines. I’ll leave you with a quote from a recent Time article:

“Admittedly, a little bit of the fun of watching her is hoping that you’re there the moment she cracks–when she finally knifes the stage manager with a Wüsthof or wails into her peppers and eggs. She’s like the popular girl in high school who is impressively nice to everyone but everyone secretly kind of hates. She’s too perfect, too in control, and just has to be at least a little bit phony.”


The ugliest Myspace page ever!

Aug 24, 2006 in Humor

Behold, the ugliest Myspace page ever! Not just ugly, but hilariously so. (Note the epileptic warning in the upper right hand corner).

This page in fact won a contest for the ugliest Myspace page. And here are the losers.

Speaking of epileptic seizures, here’s video of a Korean dancer going into one onstage — while the rest of the group keeps singing. Maybe I just have a twisted sense of humor.


Neateye Gouranga!

Jul 28, 2006 in Pop Culture

What do the Hare Krishnas, Grand Theft Auto, UK bridge graffiti and an unusual viral spam campaign have in common? Gouranga!

I recently received an email with the following text:

From: “Neateye” NitaiGouranga@aol.com
Subject: Gouranga

Call out Gouranga be happy!!!
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga ….
That which brings the highest happiness!!

This I found curious because I once practiced Vaishnavism, and am familiar with who/what Gouranga is. At first I thought it was some old acquaintance playing a prank. Then I did a Google search and found out that this same message has landed in thousands of mailboxes over the last three years.

Multi-colored ‘Gouranga’ graffiti appears on bridges across the UK. Posters and stickers bearing the name have also been the subject of a long-running guerilla art campaign across Scotland. The culprits are likely Hare Krishna devotees from the Scotland temple, according to this discussion in the Guardian.

The ‘Gouranga bonus’ is an easter egg in the first Grand Theft Auto game, awarded when the player swiftly runs over a group of Hare Krishnas. An article in the latest issue of Edge magazine documents the making of GTA:

“One of the programmers came up with a routine that had pedestrians following each other. This led to the idea of a line of Krishnas following each other down the street and then, once we had all experimented with ploughing through them all in one go, the Gouranga bonus became an obvious addition.”

Gouranga, by the way, is another name for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the principal avatar figure of the Gaudiya Vaishnava branch of Hinduism, popularized in the West by the Hare Krishnas.

A Wikipedia entry summarizes the Gouranga meme.


More Bon Ami cleanser!

Jul 27, 2006 in Humor

Bob Harris was a contestant on Jeopardy over a dozen times, during which he lost every tournament he played in.

In this hilarious video promoting his new book, Prisoner of Trebekistan, Bob shows off the loot he’s won during his stint on Jeopardy, such as a lifetime supply of Bon Ami cleanser, Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup and Sue Bee honey.


In your absence I find other forms of amusement.

Jul 24, 2006 in Humor

An oldie-but-goodie: I was browsing through the contents of my old Livejournal (you probably wouldn’t be interested), and I came across this link.

The Surrealist Compliment Generator will provide you with minutes of fun, as well as a Dali-esque turn of phrase to woo the woman (or man) in your life. After all, what woman wouldn’t swoon over compliments like this?

A suburban distance lying across your chest, a purpled frock befitting the asphyxiated, cans of lima beans upon your knees, you are truly a goddess of disturbed tranquility!

You blink thrice warned that I can but think of the eyebrows of Richard Nixon covering a hostess of furry twinkies.

Your skin sheds forth so that I endlessly crave pans of fried baclava.

Romantic, no?