Archive for July, 2009

30
Jul
09

Links 2 Make U Thinks: Let’s Play Two!

 

She prefers the links that make you drink.

She prefers the links that make you drink.

The title for today’s entry comes from a saying attributed to Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks who played for the Chicago Cubs (a.k.a. The Lovable Losers).  Back in my hometown Chicago, I used to love this team, in particular the 1984 incarnation that featured future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, Shawon Dunston, Larry Bowa, Leon Durham, and my favorite player, catcher Jody Davis, who always seemed ready to hit a grand slam while the Old Style crowd chanted “JO-DEE!  JO-DEE!”

But as I grew older, my infatuation for the Cubs–and baseball in general–faded, as I came to an unescapable realization. 

By and large, baseball players are assholes.

Dude, we just won State!

Dude, we just won State!

Now JOAM is a friendly blog, but I speak from experience.  While I never got a wedgie from a baseball player of them in high school or college, I never found my self rooting for my alma mater’s team except on the most detached level.  To wit:

“The Gators are in the College World Series?  That’s cool.  I hope they win. Oh they lost in the finals?  Oh well.” 

As athletes, no other team sport prizes selfishness more.  Yes, you have to work together on defense, but when you are at bat, its all about your stats.  And I don’t know if it is chafing in their polyester uniforms, but they are the surliest bunch of tobacco-chewing boys you’ll ever meet around the keg on a Friday night.

Of course, here is where I insert a qualifier, “Some of my best friends used to play baseball” or “Field of Dreams is one of the best sports films of all time”  or “Singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame is an American treasure.”  All these are true, and of course there are exceptions, but it doesn’t change the fact that under certain conditions (evening, or perhaps daytime), even modest individuals are tempted to punch these macho athletes in the face (if they do not strike first, that is).

This week’s L2MUT Headline comes from ESPN, examining the repercussions of Moneyball.  Even though I’m no longer a fan, Moneyball is a fascinating look at thinking outside of collective wisdom to gain an edge.  A part of the Outside the Lines features, this column is a bit long, but print it out next time you do a number 2 at work and time will fly.  If you are a fan of Malcolm Gladwell books, then you will probably love Moneyball.  Also, Brad Pitt is reportedly signed on to star in a movie based on this book, so if you hurry up and read it now, you can better prepare yourself to give the snooty remark: “Yeah, but the book was so much better” .

(If you are still in the mood to read about sports after that, check out this profile of Roger Federer if you haven’t yet, written by the late, great David Foster Wallace about an athlete who (by all accounts) doesn’t possess an asshole bone in his body…unless you want to be pedantic and count his coccyx.)

***

Those arent pillows!!!  Oh wait...yes they are.

Those aren't pillows!!! Oh wait...yes they are.

You know another country crazy about baseball?  No, not Thailand. Japan!  Frequent JOAM reader Mercury Mike sent us this link, a heart-warming, spine-tingling tale about 2-D Love.  About a boy who is deeply in love.  With a cartoon character.  On his pillowcase.

When I joined the couple for lunch at their favorite all-you-can-eat salad bar in the Tokyo suburb of Hachioji, he insisted on being called only by this new nickname, addressing his body-pillow girlfriend using the suffix “tan” to show how much he adored her. Nemutan is 10, maybe 12 years old and wears a little blue bikini and gold ribbons in her hair. Nisan knows she’s not real, but that hasn’t stopped him from loving her just the same. “Of course she’s my girlfriend,” he said, widening his eyes as if shocked by the question. “I have real feelings for her.”

Indeed.

To each his own, I say.  Just like it would be wrong of me to broadly characterize a whole subset of athletes as boorish (Did I?  That was soooo ten minutes ago…an eon in the Twitterverse!) it would unfair to assume all Japanese are any more kinky than other cultures based on this one profile.  But just be careful of where you sleep when staying at the home of a manga otaku friend.  You just might wake up with a two-timing duvet.

I’m off to Samui for work this weekend, supervising a fashion shoot for my magazine.  It is not nearly as fun as it sounds, trying to cajole two girls who barely know each other to kiss each other on the mouth without ruining the expensive borrowed costumes with stray saliva.  In the evening, I shall retire to my room, alone with my Sailor Moon body pillow, and scour the web for more gems for you, loyal reader.

27
Jul
09

Failing Economy? Conflict in the Middle East? Influenza A(H1N1)? No, more Erin Andrews Please!

Erin Andrews, All-American Hottie

Erin Andrews, All-American Hottie

For my non-gringo friends and readers who are wondering, “Who the heck is Erin Andrews?”  Let me do my best Carl Sagan and explain how this flaxen-haired media supernova came to be.

Billions and billions of nanoseconds ago, in the outer reaches of civilization (Gainesville, Florida), a young Dazzler dreamed of a life beyond the beer-soaked frat houses and rhythm nation.  She came of age during the golden age of Sportscenter, watching ESPN’s murderer’s row of Ley, Patrick, Olbermann, and Kilborn and thinking “Yeah, I could do that.”  And so she did, graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in telecommunications before embarking on the long and winding road to stardom.

Working her way from the backwaters to the bigtime, her buxom good looks got her in the door, but her knowledgable approach to sports made her the darling of every beer-drinking armchair quarterback in the ESPNiverse.

While Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, and Megan Fox may dominate the mythical and mental lists of beauty at the moment, among red-blooded American males aged 18 to 49, Erin Andrews is their microphone wielding Joan of Hawt, the girl that guys dream of watching March Madness with on the sofa, sharing a beer, naked.  Talking college football recruiting in the post-coital afterglow.  When the news finally broke, Google searches for Ms. Andrews’ nekkid video skyrocketed.  But, alas, would-be perverts thinking they hit the mother lode found, upon downloading an illicit copy of this hidden video found a gift that keeps on giving, in the form of a computer virus.  The irony is thick, like a drum-and-bass version of a certain Alanis Morrissette song, don’t cha think?

***

I may be omnipotent, but it still a bit chilly here.

I may be omnipotent, but it still a bit chilly here.

From grainy naked blonde (Andrews) to brainy naked blue (Dr. Manhattan) here’s a tenuously related link to Watchmen, which is coming out on Blu-Ray soon.   Zack Snyder may not be Steven Spielberg yet, but its clear he loves his job and pours his heart into the filmmaking process, and tried to walk the fine line between catering to fanboys and appealing to the non-comic reading masses.

Speaking of comics, you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy this live vivisection of the work of comic book artist Rob Liefeld.   These guys painstakingly demolish the guy, who may be laughing all the way to the bank with the jillions he made appealing to the hype feedback loop supported by unknowing early 90’s teenagers.  What are these assholes doing now?  Probably blogging about how cool Watchmen is…when they aren’t trying the clean the digital chlamydia off their Vaio acquired during the hunt for Erin Andrews videos.

16
Jul
09

I Will Be Your Gyros Baby

Mystery Meat Revealed

Mystery Meat Revealed

Have you ever wondered what part of the sheep or cow those delicious cylinders of meat come from? It turns out (get it?) that the rotating grilled delicacy is a mish-mash of beef, lamb, bread crumbs, and black tar heroin.

Learn all about the fascinating history of swivelling, mouthwater gyros (properly pronounced “YEE-rose” and not “jai-rose” nor “guy rose”) here in the New York Times.

Now in Bangkok, you can find gyros at various Wrap-It franchise outlets around town.  It’s okay, but I’ve never walked out feeling like “Oh my goodness, my taste buds are basking in a post-coital glow.” 

Driving down Soi Nana, (an area known for great Middle Eastern/African fare) there is a place across from the Grace Hotel that has an outdoor gyros grill, though I wonder if Bangkok traffic pollutants add the right kind of spice to the glisteningly grilled exposed meats. 

Does anyone have any suggestions?  Any family-friendly anecdotes involving gyros?  Okay, how about some lewd ones?  Please leave a comment below.  Thanks!

15
Jul
09

Links 2 Makes You Thinks-Virgin edition

Juicy Links, courtesy of JOAM

Juicy Links, courtesy of JOAM

Here at Jack of All Media, we work evening and night scouring the web with a fine-toothed louse comb, to unearth gems (often hidden in plain sight) that will make you look and feel smarter than the average bear.  (Fact: the grizzly bear has the emotional intelligence of a 16 year old male human.)

A pre-internet photocopied zine version of JOAM alerted you to one Susan Boyle, who has since gone on the unimaginable riches as runner up to Diversity in Britain’s Got Talent.  When we asked Ms. Boyle, “How has JOAM helped to world discover your talent?” She replied, “Bollocks.  I paid him twenty quid because he said he would get me in Playboy.”   Ah yes, but if it weren’t for me, would you be getting offers like this???

In the tenatively ongoing feature,  Links 2 Makes U Thinks:

  • This just in from jolly ol’ England: Twitter is not Cool for Tweens!  That’s right, straight from the mouth of babes comes the news that the emperor’s ass is showing.  Of course, this report was probably delivered via SMS while watching Match of the Day reruns.  Kidding, it is really quite thorough and impressive for a 15-year old. Read it for yourself here.

 

  •  A gut-busting column by one of my favorite Jews of all time, Joel Stein who decides to try the Tour de France diet.  This is the man who gleefully let us know last year that yes, Jews actually do control Hollywood.  As a Thai of Chinese descent (Hainan in da houze!!!), I find it inconceivable that an ethnic minority could wield such disproportionate power and influence.

 

  •   NERD ALERT! A special report on high-tech glass and its applications in the NYT.  What do we learn?  That glass is actually not a liquid.  The Sears Tower is cooler than ever.  And if anyone tut-tuts and mentions the proverb to you about not throwing stones in glass houses, you can say, “Actually nowadays I can.  So fu©k off, w@nker.”

 

  • Our bathroom break special of the week, a fascinating look at an interesting career.  LearJet Repo man.  JOAM finds it fascinating, and imagines his children one day having this conversation.

T3: What does your daddy do?

RepoSon: He steals jets.  What does yours do?

T3: He is the Jack of All Media.

RepoSon:  Fine, your Dad has a cooler job.  But does he get PAID for it?

T3 respond by combining into a super robot, then pummelling RepoSon into a dollop of Nutella.

 

  • And finally, on a more personal note, if you are looking for some laughs and shocking insight, head over to The Tambourine Queen, scribed by my friend Michele.  People probably saw this girl with the wicked smile and endless legs on the fashion runway, little did they realize that her lovely skull is full of mad brilliant neurons.  She communicates fluently in four languages: English, Thai, Norwegian, and Badass. Enjoy.
10
Jul
09

Transformers 2 Review (with Spoilers)

2009_transformers_revenge_of_the_fallen

Sawasdee,

Let me preface with a few confessions:

• I paid an extra 200 baht so that I could get the Transformers DVD box that could turn into a standing Optimus Prime.

• I put this movie on before bedtime so frequently that my wife insists on exaggerating to her parents that I “watched [Transformers] every day.”

• I did a fist pump when I learned that Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, would be reprising his role in the movie. And while I was disappointed that Frank Welker wouldn’t be doing the voice of Megatron, I thought that Hugo Weaving was a solid choice.

Clearly, I was going see the sequel. I knew ahead of time not to expect anything very inspiring or enlightening; I was just looking to be entertained. I fully anticipated that feeling after polishing off a whole bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in one sitting: a little bit queasy, with a tinge of regret. But while I was mindlessly shoveling it in, it tastes so good.

Post-viewing, I like going through movie reviews glean insight from cinemaphiles who know way more than me. I find it enriches the experience, and so I enjoy how Roger Ebert skewers a bad film, how Richard Corliss from TIME exalts a great one, how Owen Lieberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum neatly summarize their discerning (and sometimes diverging) viewpoints, and how the notoriously difficult to please Kong Rithdee from the Bangkok Post whips exotic adjectives from his pen like an Asian Jackson Pollock.

If there is a movie I know I am going to see, I will assiduously avoid reviews (and even previews if possible) because I enjoy being surprised by the narrative. As a courtesy, people who write about a movie will give a warning that if reader keeps reading, then they may read something that will spoil their viewing experience, so if they want to preserve the element of surprise to stop reading right there. A quick example:

[SPOILER for Terminator 2]

Do you remember in Terminator 2 when the liquid metal terminator and the Arnold model showed up on Earth at the same time? If you were watching it for the first time without any reference except for the original movie, it looks like Robert Patrick is the good guy and Arnold is there to kill Sara and John Connor. The gestalt moment occurs during the first chase in the video arcade, when Arnold tells John to “Get down!” and shoots the evil quicksilver terminator, and then you learn that Arnold is the good killer robot.

[SPOILER for the Matrix]

Because I didn’t pay attention to any reviews about the Matrix and went into the theater not expecting it to be much better than Johnny Mnemonic, it was a complete m!ndfu¢k when Keanu woke up for the first time in that tub of KY Jelly. Whoa!

[SPOILER for The Sixth Sense]

Dude, I couldn’t believe the whole time Bruce Willis was a frickin’ ghost!!!

So you see now how that works? The reason I am carefully explaining the concept of spoilers is in case you haven’t seen Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen yet, and don’t want to have this movie about metal-morphing robots partially ruined. So if you haven’t had a chance to see this movie yet, you might want to stop reading now and come back right after you have, so you can write comments telling me how thankful you are I didn’t ruin your viewing experience.

The following are things I found a little nitpicking. Me, I am superhumanly ready to suspend disbelief, and buy into the notion of vehicles changing into talking robots. I am also willing to believe that a guy like Shia Lebeouf can bag a girl like Megan Fox simply by sporadically writing a cleverly named/relatively obscure WordPress blog. And yes, I know Michael Bay is what he is, and does what he does. He is a highly successful commercial director who ably delivers big, set-piece, summer tentpole studio blockbusters. Most of them are watchable, no-brain fun (Armageddon, Bad Boys, The Rock) and some of them excruciating (Pearl Harbor, The Island).  Turn down your hearing aid, shorten up that attention span, and roll out!

Here are just things about the movie that I found a more juvenile than necessary. Last chance to turn back…

Thumbs up!!!

Thumbs up!!!

BRING IT ON!

Continue reading ‘Transformers 2 Review (with Spoilers)’

07
Jul
09

Remembering Michael Jackson, The King of Pop

Watching the Michael Jackson memorial on CNN now.  I am curious to see tomorrow estimates of how many people around the world tuned in.

Based on updated Facebook statuses, it appears quite a few from Thailand are following along, despite the local time of 1:30 am.  As coincidence would have it, Thailand is observing Asanha Bucha Day, which means that all the bars are closed, and people are home, perhaps looking for something to watch in their enforced sobriety, and inadvertenty joining in the collective mourning.

Amazing to learn that 1.6 million people signed up online for only 17,500 tickets available.  Tickets inevitably started showing up on eBay and Craigslist.  Even the rejection emails are reportedly going for $2.99.

Did you know that in the days after his demise, 41 of the top 100 songs on iTunes were Michael Jackon related?  (Thanks to Nicho for the heads up on that fascinating fact.) Seriously, Michael Jackson’s estate will be printing money for years, and will likely be debt free by the end of the year.  With all the vultures, hopefully the kids will see some of that.

Superlatives and platitudes that will be showered on him, his transgressions and faults glossed over.  But just thinking about the countless people around the world joined together in rememberance of this man, regardless of race and nationality and religion, and it feels like in his passing, he managed one more gift to the world.

As I watch the memorial, I’m following it on Twitter as well.  I will try to maintain an appropriately somber tone…though I know I will fail miserably.

***

-We start things off with Mariah Carey, her voice seems a bit off.  Perhaps she has been crying, or she didn’t have the heart to warm up properly.

-Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder, still showing they got it.

-Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson looking really fidgety.  Does anyone remember that Magic had AIDS?   No matter, KFC must be loving all the free advertising.

-Reverend Al Sharpton, going overboard.  Did you know that Tiger Woods and President Obama owe their success to The Gloved One?  Now he’s glossing over his weirdness, saying it was everyone else that had a problem.  Overall, a fine display of bombastic hyperbole and instant revisionism.

-Hey, it’s John Mayer!  Wordlessly starts playing Human Nature on electric guitar, and showing us why he gets all the girls with his musical O-face.

-Brooke Shields, still looking good.  The ex-Mrs. Andre Agassi giving a tearful, rambling eulogy, her well-shaped eyebrows trembling in grief, as she relates the laughing, boyish humanity of MJ, starting off with the shocking revelation that “Michael Jackson was a unique individual” and finishing strongby quoting from “The Little Prince.”

-Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas makes a powerful speech, which Mook said was “really good.”  I was off checking on the babies, so someone else will have to tell me what she said.

-Usher sings.  Mook asks me who he is, I say “Usher.”  She replies, “No, what’s his name?”  High comedy at 2 am.

-Footage from the Ed Sullivan show, Michael, age ten, singing “Who’s Loving You?” and rocking a hot pink fedora.  Mental note to find on YouTube for” T3 and Me” band costume ideas.

-I heard it throught the grapevine that Smokey Robinson has a picture of Dorian Gray in his closet.  That, or he sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber filled with a mixture of noble gases and La Mer.

-Hey, Shaheen Jafargholi from Britain’s Got Talent!  The young YouTube sensation!  Check it out here…it is probably staged and Simon Cowell is complicit, but he has got the chops for real.  You know Michael would have been captivated by this boy.

-We Are The World!  Even the notoriously singing-averse Mook is crooning along.  And that’s our cue.  Time for bed…thanks for following along.

Sawasdee,

Jack

Postscript:

-Great version of Heal the World, and that’s a perfect way to end the most entertaining memorial service since Graham Chapman of Monty Python.

***

It is refreshingly hard to be cynical right now, seeing everyone’s heartfelt goodbyes to Michael Jackson.   For my part, I remain overwhelmed at how he has touched so many lives and inspired limitless dreams.  His life’s work, writ large, deserves to be immortalized.  My condolences to his family and all those that loved him.

He was one of the greatest entertainers of all time.  I feel lucky to have witnessed part of it, and when Trip, Trey, and Troy reach their Age of Inquisitiveness,I look forward to telling them about the amazing singer, dancer, and artist, Michael Jackson.

Post-Postscript:

Does anyone have a link to the whole memorial service that can be viewed online?  Preferably one that can be accessed overseas as well.  If so, leave in comment below.  Thanks!




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