Alcoholic backseat trinkets

Act 4: If anyone wants to tell me what's going on here, I'll be in the lounge

Sit your place in heaven at once.
When does a decade begin?

No, this is not the old millennium argument. What I want to know is when the decade starts culturally -- when, in the future, we look back and agree on what event really made the new decade start to feel new. We can agree, for example, that the Thirties as we understand them began with the Great Depression, kicked off by the stock market crash of '29. (Economists disagree with each other on that, but this is about cultural memory and "common knowledge," not economics.)

Therefore, when we think of "the Thirties." we usually think of the period beginning October 29, 1929 -- the infamous "Black Tuesday" -- and ending on December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Unfortunately, these divides are almost always signaled by a shocking and sometimes violent event. It says something about the human condition, at least in a go-getter democracy like America, when a big, hard, sudden, utterly unforeseen mass-consciousness slap in the face happens every ten years like clockwork. Culturally or otherwise, the event in question never seems to be something most of us, including those in charge, ever see coming. (Conspiracy theorists, of course, maintain that this is all a trick; the magicians are only pretending to be shocked.)

With that in mind, I ask you... which events will cultural history, our collective consciousness, set in stone as the ones that changed the decades since then? Remember, we're looking for real game changers, not just an odometer ticking over. Not just big events, but
events that introduce a new era of... whatever.

And also remember: the beginning of one decade and what it represents, also means the death of the previous decade and what it represents.

Poll #1387216 When did it begin?

When did the "Fifties" begin?

Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945)
The "Cold War" begins (April 16, 1947)
McCarthyism begins (February 9, 1950)
Start of the Korean war (June 25, 1950)
Rosenbergs executed (June 19, 1953)
Brown v. Board of Education (May 17, 1954)
Elvis records "That's All Right, Mama" (July 5, 1954)
"Rock Around The Clock" hits #1 (July 9, 1955)

When did the "Sixties" begin?

Castro takes power (January 8, 1959)
JFK elected (November 4, 1960)
The "space race" begins (May 25, 1961)
Murder of Medgar Evers (June 12, 1963)
"I Have A Dream" speech (August 28, 1963)
JFK assassinated (November 22, 1963)
The Beatles land in America (February 7, 1964)
Gulf of Tonkin resolution (August 10, 1964)

When did the "Seventies" begin?

The moon landing (July 20, 1969)
The Manson murders (August 9, 1969)
Altamont (December 6, 1969)
Kent State (May 4, 1970)
Munich hostage crisis (September 6, 1972)
Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973)
Nixon resigns (August 9, 1974)
Fall of Saigon (April 30, 1975)

When did the "Eighties" begin?

US hockey team wins Olympics (February 22, 1980)
Pac-Man introduced into US (October 15, 1980)
Election of Reagan (November 4, 1980)
John Lennon murdered (December 8, 1980)
Iranian hostages freed (January 19, 1981)
MTV begins broadcasting (August 1, 1981)
The first PC hits shelves (August 12, 1981)
Michael Jackson on the Motown 25 special (March 25, 1983)

When did the "Nineties" begin?

"Seinfeld" debuts (July 5, 1989)
"Simpsons" debuts (December 17, 1989)
Berlin Wall falls (June 13, 1990)
Gulf War ends (February 28, 1991)
Internet is made public (August 6, 1991)
Nirvana's "Nevermind" released (September 24, 1991)
Soviet Union ends (December 26, 1991)
Bill Clinton elected (November 4, 1992)

When did the "Naughties" begin?

Monica Lewinsky scandal breaks (January 17, 1998)
Britney Spears' first single released (October 23, 1998)
Columbine massacre (April 20, 1999)
Napster launched (June 1, 1999)
George Bush declared President (December 13, 2000)
World Trade Center attack (September 11, 2001)
Iraq invaded (March 20, 2003)
Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005)

Ha ha ha ha ha! Check out this bizarre.
I suppose you're wondering why I've called you all here today.

Let me first enter into evidence Exhibit A: A recent Britney Spears concert in Tampa, FL, on March 8, 2009:

Britney, thinking the mic is off, says to her dancers: "Oh my god, my pussy is hanging out of this fucking thing." Wardrobe malfunction. Live mic. Dirty words. Embarrassing.

Crowd members, uncharacteristically, are laughing, leading one to believe they are actually enjoying a Britney Spears concert.


Edit: Exhibit B: March 24th, 2009. (thanks to ramblingwebgirl  for this one.)

Britney yells "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!" enthusiastically to the crowd, apparently forgetting that Christmas Eve takes place on December 24, not March 24. Note the crowd reaction.

Exhibit C: Six days later. Brit throws out a "BIIITCH!" during the intro to "Toxic." Why? No one knows.

Exhibit D: Britney Spears flipping off the audience at a show in Edmonton, Canada, on Monday, April 6, 2009.

Seemingly normal behavior for a celebrity these days, right? Except no one had provoked poor Britney. And no one knows why she made the, um, gesture.

Exhibit E: Vancouver, BC, April 8, just two days later:

The smoke from "cigarettes" is so thick that Britney leaves the stage, prompting boos. The venue later claims that, contrary to firsthand reports, the smoke was indeed of the tobacco variety. Brit's official blog claims later that "crew members above the stage became ill due to a ventilation issue." Yet when Brit herself ended the concert that night, she said “Drive safely, don’t smoke weed... and rock out with your cocks out. Peace out, motherfuckerrrrrs.”
Exceedingly odd. No one has ever rocked out at a Britney Spears concert. It is physically impossible, whether one's genitalia are exposed or not. And the crowd is, again, giggling. Another clue!

Finally, April 12.

"What's up Sacramento!" yells Britney, working the crowd in a perfectly normal fashion. The only problem is, she's in San Jose. She was in Sacramento the night before. Once again, you can hear the crowd giggling at the mistake. 


(Which, if it wouldn't put money in the most evil and wretched of pockets, might be a good idea.)

I would give you, both night and day, love satisfying.
The short version: had an intestinal flu last week, so I lost about three days of work, then had Easter creep up on me (I usually work on Sundays -- don't ask) so that didn't help, and... ARGH. Things have been generally okay, I just stand amazed at my ability to lose large chunks of time without meaning to. I repeat, slightly more quietly: argh.

So much I wanted to bend your ear about. Where to start? The Spector trial, I suppose. For those who care, he was found guilty.

Oh, back up? Okay.

If you've ever heard the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," or the Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio," then you've heard the work of Phil Spector, the "Wall of Sound" architect some still consider the best rock producer of all time. Being a recluse for three decades and not producing a major album since the Ramones in 1980 means that the vast majority of folks have forgotten who this insane genius is, or why they should care.

But even comparing him to a modern-day counterpart, like a Rick Rubin or a Timbaland, doesn't quite cut it. Spector was, in fact, the first real rock producer, the first person to actually take pop craftsmanship and apply it to rock and roll, but his popularity somehow exceeded even that.  He was dubbed the "First Tycoon of Teen" by no less a literary lion than Tom Wolfe. He served as the inspiration for the characters of Z-Man Barzell in Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Swan in Brian DePalma's Phantom of the Paradise. (True fact: the character, who offers a Faustian bargain to his proteges, was originally called Spectre. Get it?) I spotted an episode of the '60s live-action Batman once that sported a Phil-like character who was being targeted by some villain or another. In fact, anytime you see an insane, megalomaniacal rock producer protrayed in any fictional work, chances are you're looking at the legacy of Phil Spector. 

And then, after years of locking himself up in a fake castle located in the Alhambra suburb of Los Angeles, he invited a z-movie actress (and part-time House of Blues cocktail waitress) named Lana Clarkson over, and according to the state of California, shot her in the mouth. Dead.

I've been covering this story for since it broke in 2003
-- there's not a lot of oldies news to be had, you know -- and the entire investigation, as you might expect from L.A., was screwed from the beginning. The coroner's report indicates Spector was holding the gun when it went off (and it had been wiped clean of fingerprints), but the powder residue seemed to indicate a suicide, and no other evidence seemed to prove anything. All the prosecution really had -- and it was enough, apparently -- was Spector's long, long history as an insane fuck, someone who would pull his gun out at the slightest threat to his ego and wave it around. Especially if it was a woman. Phil had many, many issues with women. Many, many issues. Something like six women he'd threatened to kill were called to the stand.

I have no idea if he did it. The defense had nothing to work with, either, except the notion that Clarkson was despondent and decided on the spur of the moment to blow her own head off. Which sounds unlikely: she'd gone shopping for shoes that day. But she'd told friends she'd kill herself by 40 if she wasn't famous and had reportedly been growing increasingly despondent over her career situation. This became a major plot point.

Since Spector has a very public history of insanity to damn him, however, I'd like to take a moment and show you something the public hasn't heard much of -- the final tape Clarkson made, a "highlight reel" she borrowed her last $30,000 to make, in the desperate hope that she could jump-start her nonexistent movie career as a hot 40-year-old blonde. In this segment, she attempts to parody Little Richard on a home-shopping network.

It's... not pretty.

I don't like to dog on places I haven't personally been to. I really don't. But I've seen Blind Date enough to know the kind of insanity the city (and its biggest businesses) produces, if you will, in its wannabes, has-beens, and never-wases. And my question for the ages is: what the fuck is the deal with Los Angeles, anyway?    

I respectfully request the world stop spinning for a week or so in order for me to CATCH UP.


Writer's Block: Grab and Go
Scenario: For exactly 1 minute, you get access to all the databases of all the intelligence agencies in the world (CIA, FBI, KGB, MI-5, etc). What do you want to find out before time is up and you're caught and jailed forever?
Um, jail blueprints, I guess?

(There goes my butt again.)

And I have learned how these things work together.
I wasn't gonna say anything about it. I wasn't. Because, okay. Sinister ol' Jack Valenti, former head of the MPAA and apparently, if looks mean anything, a bud that bloomed off of Robert Novak's black hide, instituted the wonderful modern ratings system we enjoy so well. PG-13 was actually Spielberg's baby (and, as with all ratings, it only made PG filmmakers throw one to four unnecessary angry f-bombs in their movies, in order to get them to the next level), but the infamous NC-17 rating was all Jack's.

I've always hated it. Not because it forbids children under 17 from seeing Madonna fuck Willem Dafoe on the hood of a car, for that is noble work. No, NC-17 has always been odious for the way in which it was applied. Man and a woman fucking? R. Two women kissing? NC-17. It was the homophobic standard for many years, favored by the same people who don't want gay teachers touching their children, for fear that they'll brush up against them and get some sick with the gay.

So fine, whatever. I wasn't gonna say anything about the mysterious aforementioned IT, because a) Valenti went to hell two years ago, and b) who gets an NC-17 anymore, right? I mean, when was the last major American film you saw with that rating? Even Brokeback Mountain passed with an R, proof that people can sort of deal with seeing two men kiss now. (Although it didn't stop the film from being rejected by any film chain not located in an urban metropolis.)

Well, as it turns out, NC-17s still get handed out all the time, and for much the same reason. It's just that these days, most studios feel the infamy is not worth the trouble, and turn the heat down on the gay sex for the coveted R. Foreign films, as usual, get hit worse than American ones; indies are held to a much stricter standard than majors (Brokeback, remember, was developed by a faux-indie arm of Universal), and violence, as always, barely turns a head. It should be mentioned, at this point, that the official MPAA ratings board is not made up of industry professionals or film critics or family psychologists, but rather ten Californian parents. I'm not making that up. Ten ordinary "concerned" parents. They decide who in all of America sees what, and when.

So I let it go. Until I heard that Sacha Baron Cohen's new film, Bruno, had been given an NC-17. Why? Because the main character, Bruno, is gay, and so gets laughs from suggested gay sex, specifically with people who are uncomfortable with the very idea of gay sex. hence,the joke. But Cohen's previous film, Borat, in which two naked men fight, one with his butthole all over the other one's face, got an R. You can rub two men's naked bodies together, in other words; you just can't have them enjoy it.

Here's the official, red-band (over 18 only) trailer, which is somewhat NSFW and does not hint at any of the banned scenes, which were specifically isolated as one suggesting anal sex and one where a naked Bruno sneaks into another man's tent on a camping trip:

Oh, that mysterious IT that I wasn't going to mention, but felt I had to after the Bruno scandal?

Turns out, a few weeks ago, we learned that Jack Valenti himself, architect of the homophobic NC-17 rating, was being followed by the FBI in the Sixties... because of persistent rumors he was gay.

What is it with this shit, anyway? J. Edgar Hoover, Roy Cohn, and now maybe Jack Valenti? is there some sort of men-in-power rainbow self-hate going on I don't know about? Are there house and field gays? Was Jack just being an Uncle... um, Arthur, I guess? Jesus.

Standing there with nothing on. She gonna teach me how to swim.
If there is a God. he/she/it/they is/are drawing the edges of the universe closer together, like a warm blanket on a cold night.


Here's a typical panel from the Tatsuya Ishida webcomic Sinfest, in which God mocks Satan by using a hand puppet:

And here's a panel from Jack Chick's latest tract, in which Jack's God gets him to mock Christianity by using a hand puppet:


Writer's Block: Prison Time
If you were sent to prison for an undefined amount of time, what would you miss most?
My anal virginity.

(Yes, I still have it, smart guy. Though, whenever I go to the Quarter, outside attempts are made.)

The best conversation I have ever seen on Facebook.
(to someone else) I bet!! -huggles- I lurve you!

(third party) lurve? what the hell is that?

You have to be in the circle... you're not in the circle..

I don't think I want to be in the circle if it involves huggles and lurving. It sounds like some Hello Kitty world where people talk in text message languages.

He's just jealous he's not in the circle. You have to be in the circle of trust...

Circles of trust usually involve drinking Kool Aid in odd rituals and wearing all black waiting for comets to appear.

Sounds like you have had first hand experience...

I saw the afterschool special on ABC.


Is this guy a major asshole? Probably. I friended him anyway, because some things need to be said. Besides, I have to keep you people on your toes.

The eyes of the child see no wrong.
Becausemsanborn  basically pulls me around by my cock, I am violating a more or less ironclad rule of this journal and *sigh* posting a meme.  



It's the marry, shag (fuck), and throw off a cliff meme!

First off, here's the rules:

1) Comment to this and I will give you 3 people.
2) Post this meme with your answers.
3) Provide pictures and the names of 3 people.
4) Label which you would marry, shag, and throw off a cliff.

Marian gave me Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson (of Heart), and Stevie Nicks. Median age: two million and six.

Marry: Pat Benatar. (I've used only recent photos, since this little riddle does not involve a time machine.)

I was never that crazy about Pat Benatar. I liked her songs, but her onstage persona was a little bitchy and smug for me. Surprise! She's one of the nicest people in the business, or so I hear, and her marriage to songwriter/guitarist/partner Neil Giraldo (also pictured!) is one of the strongest in all of entertainment. They've been together since the beginning, and they're obviously crazy about each other. Plus, I'd like me and my betrothed to look this good as we near 60. So, if Neil gets hit by a bus, I'm in.

Shag: Ann Wilson.  

HURR HURR ANN WILSON IS FAT. Yeah, she is. I'd still fuck her. For one thing, I'm a fool for long-haired brunettes; for another, she's one of the few female rock stars whose talent I have any respect for (we're talking real rock stars here, not just singers), and, hey, I'd fuck her just to hear what comes out of that throat when she comes. Besides, if you've heard "Magic Man," you know she MUST be good in bed.

Cliff: Stevie Nicks. 

I have nothing personal against Stevie. I like her music well enough, she seems nice, and her voice doesn't send me into epileptic seizures the way it does some people. But I only have three to choose from, and the waif-witch-moon goddess thing is just not my deal. If I did throw her off a cliff, she'd probably sprout wings and fly away, cackling.


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