February 18, 2015

7 Things Americans Think About British Culture

Funny stuff that Americans think about the Brits.

1. Britain is full of critics that have very strong opinions. Usually the item/meal/play/film is the best yet or the worst to date. We regard the British as a very binary culture of critics.

2. Ian Botham was the best Cricketer of all time. Better than Sachin Tendulkar, and even Sir Don Bradman. Ian was the best all around player, batter and bowler alike.

3. When a Brit says 'sorry' s/he is really apologizing for the atrocities committed by the crown on native populations across the globe in the name of empire.

4. Baked beans on any dish makes it a breakfast food.

5. There is a pasty shop on every corner.

6.  The British arbitrarily add "u's" to words to match their pronunciation.

7. The American pronunciation of common words is too old fashioned. We are working on it.
Here is Johnathan Cecil reading a bit of PG Wodehouse.

August 23, 2014

Archive: Breaking! Lincon - Douglas style Debate for VPs

I think I'm in love
Can sculpt her from memory
That sounded creepy

Dateline Obama HQ. Shortly after a text message and an email sent out by the Obama camp, Joe Biden attempted to release a statement on youtube, however it was rejected for length. This reporter was lucky enough to snatch the carbon sheets before being 86'd from the joint.

Here are a few excerpts:
"Good morning, I am pleased to announce that after a long and arduous road, that wound from one side of this majestic topiary to the other side of this serious but sensitive nation of ours, I Joseph Biden am running for the nomination for the vice presidency of these united States of America."

It rambles on for a while but here is some juicy stuff:
"If it's a three hour debate that crochety gentleman wants it's a three hour debate he will get!"

After pouring over the thirty page single spaced document (reading backwards off a carbon sheet), I think that Joe Biden is not challenging his Republican counterpart but the whole party.

He writes, "I don't care who you are if they want to debate and your a blood sucking fascist mutant, we will verbally tear the flesh from your bones!" The rest of the transcript is incoherent and describes a post-apocalyptic scene-scape that, interestingly and creatively diverts from biblical imagery.

If it's one thing that this reporter is that would be excited. These debates will be a Hunter S. Thompsian jungle fight to the death, with the last man as the Vice President chosen by the Gods. According to the transcript the debate will take place after New Mexico is swallowed by the worm goddess.

(Update: those carbon sheets that I snatched from Obama HQ was in fact a manuscript of a short story that a senior staffer was in the middle of showing the Senior Senator from Delaware. I will review that story latter this week)

February 26, 2014

Archive Review: Band Of Outsiders Thoughts

(Written years ago... not the best writing by any means, but worth something at least)

A few nights back I finally watched Band of Outsiders the whole way through. I'll talk about it in a bit, but first off... There's this pattern I follow with just about almost every single Godard movie I've watched, and it's almost funny how clockwork it is, with exception to maybe one or two. I get excited beyond belief. I finally watch it. I can't sit through it. I hate it. I end up loving it.

This started 4 years ago when I started hearing more and more about Breathless. Everyone talked it up, and up, and up, to the point that I felt like I had to see it. I read every review I could find, I went through frame captures, and just got geared up for what I expected to be a fun, adventurous romp. Then I watched it, and could barely keep the disappointment from taking over. I still thought to myself that I had to have liked it, I just didn't realize it. Based on that, I got my brother to watch it, and this time, while I followed it and knew more of what to expect, the disappointment definitely took over. About a year later, I rewatched it, and it was alright, but nothing special. Again a year after that, and I actually like it. It is fun. The music's catchy as hell. The techniques are done so well and to such a good effect, that I can ignore a lot of problems with it, to realize that it's a ridiculously archetypal movie, done in a sort of off-putting but funny way.

Five years back, I started hearing about this apparently amazing Masculin-Feminin. Someone I knew told me about it, I pretended to know it, then looked it up. The film looked political, fun, stylish; The whole shebang. I got the Criterion edition for christmas, and spent the day staring at the record label dvd, and reading the frameset and essays going along with it. I was so ready to adore it.

I spent the next week trying to finish it. Without having finished it, I mentioned to someone that it was the most French movie I'd ever seen (which in many ways I wish were true), and so finished it by watching it the whole way through with that friend. And I hated it. I couldn't believe I'd wasted my time on such a cold, pretentious movie. I watched it months later as a demonstration of what kind of terrible movie could be made by the director, and watching it then, a part of me watching it started to really dig it. I didn't think much of it, other than the style's great, until early this fall when I watched it again with someone who expected to like it. She hated it. I just loved it the whole way through, and at this point, it's easy to see why: Jean-Pierre Leaud's cute yet abrasive attempts at fitting in, Chantel Goya's pop songs, the model interview, the Brigitte Bardot interview, the obsession with the waste and drama people create around them during youth, the gun shots that fire off each segment. It's absurd, it's difficult, and it's definitely my favorite movie Godard's ever made, bridging his politics and his fun, his Brecht and his Fuller, with some Stoppard thrown in.
(more after the jump)

February 10, 2014

Awkward Manifesto: Point Vav

This is a warning to all persons, who, through madness or boredom would turn to the hyper-driven world or Irony. If you have ever sat at a table with some really cool people, not trophy winning, green peace lovin', story eyed, save Darfur, going to free Mumia (is he still alive?), free trade, existential, Dreadlocked, going to rot in a pile of his/her own snark 'hipster.' No, I mean people the type of person who spent five months on a novel hopped up on some root they found in their back yard, burning cigaretts and buying Kit Reynolds's on Shabbat just to keep the tension under control and after five days of the most vicious nap they have ever had, they wake up to find their apartment spotless except for a pile of papers the resemble their novel with a metal sign in relief lettering reading "Not Fit-Now Quit" and a ק year old biography of Henry Clay next to it. You look at those people who know what Irony is and say, should I do this? They will shoot back a look that will burn your shoes to your socks, and you will have your answer.