Archives for June 2011

The Bulbous, Botoxed Antichrist

I was reading the news on the latest developments on the Anthony Weiner situation — his resignation from Congress in the wake of his fundamental misreading of Twitter’s purpose and basic functionality — and my blood began to boil. Not because Weiner resigned (although I’m not quite sure how it came to this so fast — and that his own party was even quicker to denounce him than the moral scolds across the aisle — considering he didn’t break any laws or do anything worse than tasteless), but because I saw a familiar face in the day’s roundup of related stories. I beheld the face of evil, my friends. I beheld the awful visage of Gloria Allred.

What do Anthony Weiner, O.J. Simpson, Scott Peterson, Tiger Woods, and Britney have in common? (Other than having generated media circuses whose coverage quickly outgrew the public’s actual interest.) Self-described “celebrity lawyer” Gloria Allred found a way to attach herself to each of their cases, get her name in the newspaper, and get her face on CNN. She can smell publicity like a dog can smell a meatball: even buried under five pounds of trash, she’s going to find a way to get at it. Read More

The Coolest Band Ever Is Not Cool At All

The lead singer and guitarist takes the stage wearing a shapeless black smock with a high turtleneck collar that can hide the lower half of his head if he so chooses; the upper half of his head is dominated by an almost literal mop of tight, silver curls that brings The Simpsons‘ Sideshow Bob to mind. The stage lights play perfectly upon it, as the fan blowing from atop his Marshall amp keeps it dancing lightly, in contrast to the incredibly loud music he’s playing.

This is Buzz Osbourne, aka King Buzzo of the Melvins. His band’s lineup has changed ceaselessly for the entirety of its 28-year career, as the Melvins have gone through bass players like Kleenex for their whole lifespan, but the band has been exactly what it is for all that time: Heavy. Loud. Slow. Fast. Kind Of Funny. Kind Of Scary. Experimental. Weird. They emerged, seemingly fully formed, from some kind of primordial ooze that they refuse to sink back into, they have not changed a thing about what they do, and they seem to be better, and doing better, than ever before: I caught them this week on the second of two sold-out shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

A Long, Miserable Day Doing The Right Thing

I was lucky enough to be chosen for Jury Duty not long ago — much the way I was lucky enough to catch meningitis when I was in high school — and after two postponements my date of service finally came up on June 1. So, like any good citizen, I got up extra early, put on a nice shirt, and tried to fake my own death.

I’m just kidding, of course. I didn’t really put on a nice shirt.

Unfortunately, my ruse didn’t fool my wife, 4-year-old-son, or either of our dogs — I guess they saw my belly moving — so I accepted my fate and went to the courthouse for my call time of 8:30 am. After I went through the metal detectors I found myself in a huge room with about 300 seats, all facing a podium.  A short video that touted the greatness of the modern justice system by dramatizing a medieval witch trial (“If she floats, she’s guilty. If she sinks, she’s innocent!”) got everyone’s attention by combining the production value of a Learn-To-Speak-French video with the raw charisma of a pre-earring Ed Bradley. (And even though the person on trial in the video sinks to the bottom of the lake, the camera thankfully holds on the scene long enough to see her pulled safely from the water. I’m not squeamish, but bearing witness to a drowning death so early in the morning would not have been an ideal start to the day — grateful though it made me for the modern jury system.)

Then we are all instructed to fill out a form declaring our occupation and whether or not we’ll be paid our full wages while we’re at jury duty. And here is where the game begins.

Read More