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High Concept Catch Phrases that Should Catch On: Dropping The Cougar

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Dropping the Cougar has nothing to do with ‘cougars’, the trendy phrase used to describe older women who prey on younger suitors. By the way, isn’t it funny how young women seeking out older guys are gold diggers or have daddy issues, and older women are feline predators, but both young men and older guys walk away unscathed? Huh. Thought I’d point that out. Mull that over as you’re like ‘ugh Sabrina just ruined this blog with her damn feminist theories.’

No, we’re talking about the old school Cougar. Not the Puma. The John Cougar Mellencamp. What you don’t know about JCM is that he is very cool. He was all posed to be the new Bruce Springsteen with Pink Houses and songs about the heartland and left wing politics. And then it all went wrong. ‘Wild Nights’ came out and his music somehow lost its hipness and relevance. There’s no one blowing off dust on his ‘Nebraska’ and declaring it a lo-fi classic, although he’s a talented, smart guy. No doubt about it, between Jack and Diane and Wild Nights, he’s considered a novelty.

So what happened? Well, we believe it can all be traced to one moment: the decision to drop the Cougar from his name and become simply John Mellencamp. This moment shall here after be referred to as ‘Dropping the Cougar’, when you make the decision to change or rid yourself of something distinctive that makes you more intriguing, although you seem to judge it as a hindrance. See also: Jennifer Grey’s nose.

I’m Getting Old

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It’s that time for me as a woman. Thirty is a mere four months away. I can already taste the ashes of my youth in my mouth. Sure, people say, thirty is the new twenty (which, why would anyone want to be twenty again? Twenty sucked! Twenty, you were stupid and still a nervous teenager! 23 was the goddamn bomb). My generation is experiencing a renaissance of relevance. Most people’s careers at this point don’t get kick-started until they’re thirty. It could be worse, I could still live with my mom. And so on, and so on, comfort comfort back pat back pat.

But I can feel the change. It spreads over me as I stand, pensive in front of my wardrobe, realizing I don’t want to wear my novelty t-shirts. Much like the Game of Thrones meme Winter Is Coming, age is wrapping its cold, withered arms around me. I am getting….old. And these are the signs.

1. I want babies. I don’t SUPER want babies because let’s face it, babies are horrible, boring, shitting, crying, non-communicative wiggling piles of dictatorship who dominate your life and destroy your sleeping patters. For years, I’ve kept my secret OMG BABIES urge repressed by reminding myself that I can’t even handle the concept of pregnancy without cringing. I think those 3D ultrasounds look like parasitic demons have taken residence in your womb. Yet, I want. I want my own kid. I know that’s selfish and shitty.  There are so many needy kids in orphanages. But what if I get one of those Russian babies with attachment disorder? If I’m going to get a fucked up, crazy kid, I want it to be because he or she inherited my fucked up, crazy genetics. It’s narcissism, I know. BUT anyway, stop judging me, fuck you. So let me go on with why this is worse than any other time when I’ve supplemented some creepy urge to parent with a pet. I am worried about my reproductive parts. Yes, we’re living longer and having babies almost disturbingly late in life, but my mother went through menopause pretty young. So the window of time for me is narrowed. Which, of course, puts an undo amount of stress on any future relationships I will probably continue not to have. So, after giving this careful consideration and putting it forward to a couple people, I concluded that by 35, I would request one of my very handsome, tall, gay male friends help me with this dilemma. As soon as the deal had been made, I looked at the mirror and almost screamed. Somehow, in the last decade, I have gone from aspiring to be Gloria Steinem to being Jennifer Aniston. Fuck my life.

2. The Youth Music Sucks: Okay, not all of it. I quite like some of the snazzy tunes, but for the most part, when I turn on the radio, I just hear a constant stream of derivative shit. I carefully combed through the Pitchfork top 100 and NME top 100 singles of 2011 and 85% of them were horrible. Mumford and Sons? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE. I mean, they make Coldplay sound like the Sex Pistols. Occasionally, I stumble upon the odd Jay-Z single, nod my head gently and say NOW THIS I LIKE, the way my grandparents would whenever a swing revival band popped up.

3. Speaking of youth music, I now hate Ben Gibbard: It occurred to me while letting my iTunes just do its thing: he annoys the shit out of me. His voice once registered plaintive pathos; now I find myself telling him to shut the fuck up. ‘Someday, you will be loved’? Really? That’s the most patronizing sentiment of all time. Fuck you.

4. Old guys are getting a lot hotter and young guys look like fetuses: I felt like a child molester when I was watching  American Horror Story and ogling Tate (he was born in 1988, it’s safe!) For the most part, guys in their early twenties look like pretty little babies to me. I’m suddenly much more interested in the Jon Hamms and Michael Fassbenders and the guys with flecks of gray in their hair and scars on their faces.

5. I judge the way my dates live: This sounds bad. It sounds mean and bitchy. And honestly, I will say: you are exempt from this if you are a male under thirty. However, when a 35-year-old guy is living in a rundown apartment with no furniture but a mattress on the floor and his guitar collection, a kitchen sink overflowing with molded dishes, and a non-functional shower, I realize: this is your life. You really don’t see anything wrong with living in constant debt/fear of eviction and don’t care that the last show your band played was at The Cobalt three years ago. I can no longer envision dating someone who doesn’t at least aspire towards somewhat nice things. And I know a lost cause when I see one. And when I have children, they have to be of the non-adult variety.

6. I want nice things: I am no longer sated by cheap crappy furniture from Ikea. I want to own…antiques. I want things to be organized. I want a housekeeper who comes in twice a week because I admit that I loathe cleaning but want things clean. I don’t want to live like a college bum anymore.

7. I’m too old for Forever 21: Okay, I still shop there, because I’m kind of not rich, but I hate it. I want to be able to shop in nice stores where everything isn’t chaotically crammed into non-organized piles and a teenager isn’t following me around, asking if I need a dressing room/sort of making sure I’m not shoplifting. I don’t want to buy horribly sewn together, cheap clothing that dissolves in the washing machine. I want to afford Les Habitudes and top of the line vintage.

8. I’m patronizing teenagers: I always hated them a little, especially when I was one, but now I have become one of those eye-rolling assholes regarding youthful idealism.  I know it’s their time. It’s their time, down there, and I’ve already ridden up Troy’s Bucket of Crushed Naive Political Notions. They need to march around in their Amebix back patches and shout ‘No Justice, No Peace!’ and really feel like they’re CHANGING THE FUCK OUT OF THINGS and pierce their faces and whatever it is that makes being a Super Liberal College Freshman so awesome. So I don’t pull over and point out they spelled college wrong on their signs advocating free education (although I suppose that would be evidence in their favor that it’s a necessity) or that they’ve incorrectly credited ‘The revolution will not be televised’ to Zach De La Rocha. Or lecture them on the idea that looking super punk rock may not be as important as dressing like an adult in order to get people to take their point seriously. Because hey, I was there. I used to be them. I went to Black Bloc meetings (and, admittedly, got into constant fights with everyone because I was a Debbie Downer pragmatist) got detained with anarchists, having many harrowing stories about almost getting maced in the face. So who am I to sneer at their ambitions?

9. I enjoy Frasier: There, I admit it. I find the bantering between Rozz, Frasier Crane, and his brother Niles to be absolutely delightful. Cheers still bores me, though.

10. I hate 90s Nostalgia: I now understand how the generation above me felt when everyone in the early 2000s started grabbing their neon exercise pants and grooving to Olivia Newton John, while waxing nostalgic about the eighties. Because now the 90s are back, and no one is old enough to remember that they mostly sucked. Especially the fashion and music. Sure, there were like two years where grunge and Brit pop were promising, but by 1995, the airwaves were dominated by plastic, shitty hip hop and Rolling Stone was predicting the death of rock and roll and the rise of rave/electronic “culture”. And by culture, I assume they meant “repetitive, shitty sounds played over loudspeakers in warehouses crammed with white people with no rhythm sucking on pacifiers and tripping balls”. The movie Go is not exactly the Fast Times of Ridgemont High of the mid-nineties, okay? And dressing like Stephanie Tanner or Kimmy Gibler on Full House is not ‘ironic’, it’s ‘ugly’.

The myth: 

The reality:

11. I am out of touch with slang: I realize that the expressions I use now are as awkward, clunky, and dated as when my mother describes something as ‘bitching’.

12. Calling oneself an ‘alcoholic’ is now a depressing admission.

The myth:

The reality:

13. Realizing there are fundamental life skills I will never develop: I will never be magically good at gift wrapping or interested in cooking fancy meals or know how to/want to sew things. I want to pay other people to do those things.

14. I would rather die than work in retail ever again. 

15. I refuse to learn any of the names of socialites more recent than Paris Hilton.

16. I can never have sex with anyone who has a mohawk again. Because, I mean, if they’re my age, they’re retarded, and if they’re younger, it’s creepy.

17. Realizing all the youthful things I’m never going to do in my twenties: Well, fuck.

18. Wait, Miley Cyrus isn’t the face of tween life anymore?

19. WHAT THE FUCK IS A TWEEN?

20. This is what I’ve been listening to for the past month:

21. I want to live in a house. My house. Where I can start collecting old news papers and slowly evolve into the elderly witch lady I’ve always wanted to be.

22. I forget a lot: Seriously, I have a touch of the Alzheimer’s. To start with, I forget where my keys are, what I did over a weekend, important dates, doctors’ appointments, where I’m going, and a lot of really good topics I had for this list.

Greetings from Cassadaga, Florida’s premiere psychic community

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Greetings from Cassadaga, Florida’s premiere psychic community

Traditionally, the most frightening thing about Florida is how Wonder Bread it is. Tract houses, planned communities, street after street of strip malls, Walmarts, Ruby Tuesdays. And hulking in the center, like some monstrous heart, is Orlando, home to Celebration, the town that Disney built, which only recently experienced its first violent multiple homicide.

But for the most part, whereas the rest of the South relies on its Gothic history, overgrown swamps, and ghost legends, Florida is frightening in a John Waters kind of way. Sure, they have their fare share of homicidal toddlers, and at any minute, an alligator could snap its jaws around you while you’re pruning by the pool. And let’s not forget the pythons that morons released in the Everglades, unaware that a female python can lay 500 eggs in a lifetime. Yeah. Sleep on that for a second. But it’s not spooky. If anything, it’s just blatantly horrifying.

So that is why Cassadaga Spiritual Community seemed to be an anomaly in the otherwise homogenized landscape of Florida. Cassadaga Spiritual Camp is a psychic/Spiritualist community founded about 116 years ago, about forty minutes outside of Orlando. A road off the I-4 leads you past housing developments, commercial gas stations and a Winn Dixie, through some actually undeveloped forest (don’t tell any Florida politicians) to a rural town consisting of a scattering of paved streets that branch off into soft sandy dirt roads. As you initially enter the town, it may seem no different from any of the small, older towns falling into disuse in the South: Victorian and 1920s homes sag into the dirt, build upon in a hodge-podge manner and decorated by plastic windmills, American flags, and rusted cars on overgrown grass. But if you look closer, you realize they’re each adorned with nameplates and signs advertising an array of services: Mediums, Psychic readings, spirit healers, handwriting analysis. Some even offer psychic readings for pets.

Spiritualism has seen its ups and downs in popularity over the past hundred years, and so has Cassadaga. When the church was at its peak in the 1920s, people flocked to the so-called healing waters of Colby Lake and built up the town. After interest declined, the town became more insular, ‘those weird witches’ as most locals tend to refer to them when being asked. However, interest remained: the Southern Gothic culture will always incorporate a little  magic and witchcraft into its Christianity.

In general, Florida has found itself to be a strange cultural vortex that attracts the most curious of people: everyone from arch conservatives, land developers, Disney fanatics, and Jewish retirees to witches and the Ringling Circus. Just a couple of hours from Cassadega, Gibsonton has long served as the wintering spot for America’s carnie community. Locals still meet up in a dive bar called Showtown USA, which is adorned in Ringling posters and has a wide array of erotic games to play on the bar machines. In Venice, elderly people tan on the beach just a mile down from a trapeze school.

Florida is a weird place.

So of course, I had to go there. Not just to Florida, where I lived for one memorable year in third grade, splitting my time between an Embassy Suites hotel by Sea World and a home in Orlando’s Winter Park suburb while my mother and father worked on a television pilot for Universal. But specifically to Cassadaga.

Most people picture a Tim Burton movie when they envision a Spiritualist Community: imagine an entire town comprised of the weird witch lady down the block. But that’s not very fair. Mostly, Cassadaga, like other psychic communities in the US, is populated by New Agey types with faded Ankh tattoos, airy tye-dyed dresses, and long, graying hair.

My friend Jacquelyn and I got a late start exploring the town, because we’re lazy bastards. After checking into our hotel and observing the various faded signs for all sorts of spiritual cleansing, massages, and crystal healing, we headed to the bookstore across the street, which is also located in the Andrew Jackson Davis building, a town meeting hall of sorts. The sign outside advertised the schedule for Tuesday’s community events: Healing Services, a tour and lecture on Orb Photography, and Bingo.

It was the allure of Bingo that brought us to the town, because having grown up with a mom who went through a New Agey period of horror, (FUCK YOU, BODHI TREE BOOKSTORE. YOU ARE SO BORING) I have a fair amount of wariness regarding the rather predatory instincts of those who proclaim to have The Third Eye. After attending multiple Whole Life Expos, I pretty much realized what my mom didn’t want to see: that a huge percentage of this was, like every other faith, a scam to exploit people for money. Yeah, you don’t need a ten thousand dollar psychic hot tub to be spiritual in. I bet you can be just as in touch with your dead relatives in a regular hot tub.

So I thought, what better way to REALLY get to know these people than by meeting them through an activity that doesn’t put anyone in a position of authority? You know, all the jokes about psychics knowing what the Bingo results would be aside, I assumed in this way, they wouldn’t be trying to give me a precognitive hand job and I wouldn’t be a condescending cynic and also, I might win the jackpot.

As we perused the bookstore, which also sold crystals, crystal-affiliated jewelry, and had book sections such as ‘fairies’ ‘2012’ ‘prophecies’ and, of course, ‘shapeshifting’, I struck up a conversation with the clerk about Bingo. She was utterly nonplussed and informed me that if Bingo was happening, she didn’t know about it and couldn’t give two fucks. Then she encouraged me to go on the Orb Photography tour, which was, incidentally, $25 bucks per person.

She was the only person who tried to prod me towards any purchase. Otherwise, for a town whose entire income thrives on luring in believers, no one suggested anything to me.  No Psychic Witch Community is complete without a rumored Devil’s Chair in the cemetery and stories about automobile trouble related to the area, or vengeful gypsy psychics pulling bad juju on cynical lookyloos who come to mock the town, but when we inquired, the woman at our hotel dismissed the stories with a cynical eye roll.

We decided to explore the Devil’s Chair, although the woman at the hotel told us it had been removed from the local cemetery, thanks to vandalism. Kids: ruining things since forever. A poorly-paved road that eventually just gave up and turned into sand led us to a sunny, small cemetery, holding a modest number of graves and plaques. Most of the trees had been cut down in the area and minimal landscaping held sway, so the cemetery lacked the spooky, haunted feeling other Southern graveyards so strongly emote: no low-hanging willows or cyprus trees, draped in Spanish Moss, hovering over crying angels. In fact, the cemetery felt fairly modern and more charmingly ill-kept than anything else.

Disappointed, we decided to head to the Colby Lake, where the healing waters supposedly convinced Cassadaga followers to set up camp. This was a little scary: not because of anything supernatural, but because of the clusters of rednecks in ripped up sports t-shirts, sitting in the beds of their trucks, drinking beers. At like, five p.m on a Wednesday. As we sat by a small inlet off the lake, dipping our toes in the surprisingly hot water and questioning the potential for alligators, we overheard this conversation:

Man: You’re like the son I never wanted! (proceeds to throw things at teenage boy)

That said, we decided to move on and have dinner. During dinner, we debated our actual desire to attend Bingo. I blame the influence of a bottle of wine on this, but we eventually decided we’d rather go to Winn Dixie and procure more liquor instead of play Bingo.

Keeping it classy, we ended up drinking wine out of styrofoam cups in our hotel room, up until we heard someone bumbling around in the hallway. Excited about capturing a very clumsy ghost, and also wanting to smoke a cigarette, we headed out and bumped into a group of ghosthunters.

And then things got interesting. Not ghosthunting interesting, but Florida interesting.

Two strippers, accompanied by three excited Orlando boys, were attempting to contact the ghost of one of the stripper’s friends, who was most unfortunately shot and killed before she could testify at the stripper’s custody trial. The issue? The stripper, let’s call her Thelma, was in an abusive relationship with a racist who hated her Cuban roots and resented her for forcing him to drop out of the army.The reason she gave for his discharge? She couldn’t sleep at night, because she was being haunted by ghosts, so he had to come protect her. THIS DEFINITELY WORKS AS AN EXCUSE TO GET OUT OF MILITARY DUTIES! Anyway, Thelma claimed to be ‘extremely sensitive’ to the spirits and hoped her friend could give her testimony from the beyond. Meanwhile, she was chugging from a hug of Carlo Ross white wine the entire time and her friend, ‘Louise’ was very aggressively chasing off the three boys despite the fact that Thelma sort of vomited sex everywhere. It became increasingly obvious that Thelma was completely oblivious to the fact that Louise was living out the plot of Notes On A Scandal with her.

The hotel conveniently had a seance/conference room (same thing, I guess) for us to contact the ghosts. Unfortunately, it seems we suffered massive interference due to the overwhelming amount of ghosts aspiring to speak with Thelma, who became freaked out, suckled from her Carlo Rossi bottle, and decided to go smoke a joint.

Curious, we follow the group outside. The three boys seemed normal enough, despite constantly showing me what was obviously smears on their cameras and proclaiming they caught orbs. Somehow, I made a comment about how the bookstore was overwhelmed, unsurprisingly, with David Icke books, not expecting anyone to really know who that was. The strippers gazed dully at me but all three boys snapped to attention and barraged me with their extensive knowledge of the New World Order and the Reptilian conspiracy.

Ooookay.

Between that and the excessive amount of wine imbibed earlier, we quit for the night. Both Jacquelyn and myself were utterly unmolested by ghosts throughout the night, although at one point I did walk into a closet I thought was the bathroom, and I’m pretty sure supernatural shenanigans were behind that.

The next morning, we packed into the car and headed to the Tampa airport, bidding Cassadaga and the rest of Florida adieu.

Catch us next summer at the Lily Dale Spiritual community in New York, meditating in the Fairy Forest or taking in  a lecture on Moon Magic: Waxing Fortune or Waning Glory.

Yeah, I’d hit that: Dead Guy Edition

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The best thing about hot dead guys is that for the most part, they died before they could get ugly. Or, if they did get ugly and old, their death instantly erased that portion of their lives from our memory, forever immortalizing them as handsome youths. Let us begin.

1. Paul Newman: Despite the omnipresence of his elderly, lined face on nearly every household product (avoid the wine! Avoid the wine!) we remember him fondly as the handsome blonde cowboy of yore.

2. Ian Curtis: Who doesn’t love a wide-eyed, tormented poet torn between loyalty to the family and life he was raised to have and seduced by the possibility of an entire new world unfolding in front of him? Or someone who writes ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ to the wife who will never understand him but whom he still loves? 

3. Sid Vicious: It’s a bad idea, but there’s not a punk rock chick on earth who would deny it. His eyebrows were verging on unibrow status, but he was the style icon for every guy who wanted to bang aforementioned punk rock chicks, so he was doing something right.

4. Kurt Cobain: Yes, he has the tragic rock god thing going on, but that’s not what makes him hot. Neither is his status as a depressed, bad grunge poet. Because let’s face it, the so-called Voice of A Generation didn’t actually make any sense at all. But he was exceptionally attractive. Give that boy a bath and a bowl of soup, stick him in warm pajamas, watch him smile, and it makes you feel all glowy inside. He’s the grown-up, doomed future Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.

5. River Phoenix: Granted, the more the years grow between us, the creepier I feel about my crush on River, since he died before he could fully evolve out of the youthful fetus phase. Still, he was exceptionally attractive, with more delicate bone structure than his brother Joaquin, who’s a handsome guy when he’s not doing stupid hillbilly hip hop hipster side projects. And he was another rescue project: raised in the Children of God cult and forced to act to pay for his parents’ bullshit.

6. Cary Grant: I think we all know that Grant was batting for the other team at this point, but I’d still toss him a grounder or whatever. Hey, cut me a break here, I know nothing about baseball. Also, check out this hot French guy doing Cary Grant movie commentary.

7. Clark Gable: Men, let me break it down. Dumbo ears aside, Clark Gable is quite possibly the only man who can saturate a mustache in sexiness. I’m sorry.

8. Sir Laurence Olivier: My first silver fox crush in Rebecca. I don’t know what happened to strong jaws like his. They seem to have been eradicated from the gene pool.

9. Marlon Brando: Yeah, he got fat. But let’s forget that Brando and focus on the one from Cat on A Hot Tin Roof.

10. Brad Renfro: Poor Brad Renfro, or as he was eternally immortalized, Brad Redfro. His career went to shambles thanks to his drug addiction, but prior to that, he was a pretty attractive dude. Remember Apt Pupil? Or even Ghost World, where you could see that it was going downhill, but he was holding on.

11. Lewis Powell: Who? You ask. Good question. This strapping young lad was part of the conspiracy to execute Abraham Lincoln, so he was probably a racist douche. Still hot.

12. James Dean: You know, I’m going to say it. He was hot, but his hair sucked. Stop emulating that five-head, rockabilly boys.

13. Young Elvis: Undeniably smooth, in his suits and tattered shoes, worn thin from forbidden dance moves. And even more so when he popped out of the army, fresh in leather. Then someone started handing him painkillers. Basically, this is Christina Aguilera’s path now.

14. Johnny Thunders: Sort of rat faced, terrible heroin problem, incredibly small, and probably smelled bad, but that’s what legends are made of! He was like Prince but fucked up and cool! Note: Prince is not cool. Sorry. You may love his music but any interview with him and his bat shit crazy, surprisingly homophobic for a man who used to wear fishnet butt pants, Christian rhetoric makes him crazy.

15. Lux Interior: Whatever, American Horror Story, Lux made the gimp suit bring out the dark side of a lot of us long before you thought about sticking Tate in one. Sexy, handsome, and had an epic, wonderful relationship with his wife. Basically, if he’d marketed a few more products, he’d be the psychobilly answer to Paul Newman.

16. Houdini: Diminutive, sure, but surprisingly handsome before he started to unfortunately look like PT Barnum.

17. Rudolph Valentino: Valentino was so handsome that he didn’t need to prove a modicum of talent to flood the streets of New York with grieving women when he died.

18. Layne Staley: His death rivals with Johnny Thunders’ for most tragic: left to rot in his apartment for days after overdosing. And his drug addiction left him barely able to contribute to Alice in Chains in his last years, but he was a good looking guy, despite all the wrong ingredients: weird potato nose, that creepy cotton candy blonde hair, gross goatee. Kind of the same reason some of us were like ‘you know, Mr. Tumnus is kind of hot in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.’

19. Ernest Hemingway: The man could carve a perfect sentence, and I’d get down with the young Hemingway, before he slowly morphed into a sea captain Anthony Hopkins.

20. Salvador Dali: The pin up of the art world.

21. Basquiat: Poor beautifully doomed Basquiat, whose fame happened too fast and who never found his niche anywhere. He meets all the standards of our favorite dead artists. Handsome, talented, and tragic.

22. Joe Strummer: I hate putting him on here, because I hate realizing he’s dead.

23. Johnny Depp: he’s not actually dead, but he’s been dead to me for about a decade. Still, we’ll always have the rockabilly rebel of Crybaby and the grungy What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

Yeah, I’d hit that: Indie guy edition

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Ages ago, I had a blog. That blog was called ‘Yeah, I’d Hit That’ and it was immensely shallow. Like all blogs, I let it lapse because I go through bouts where I have minimal interest in writing anything about hot guys or murderous children from Florida. I KNOW, I don’t understand how I could possibly run out of commentary on either topic. But anyway, so here’s an attempt to reproduce some of the deep concepts explored in that blog, although surely, like all translations, some of the myth will be lost. Without further adieu, I bring you: my choices for hottest scrawny, scrappy Indie rock dude, ALIVE. This is important because I plan to have a subsequent blog titled ‘Hot Dead Dudes’. So in no particular order:

1. Evan Dando from The Lemonheads. No one remembers the Lemonheads for some reason, and when they do, it’s to associate them with their (albeit great) cover of Mrs. Robinson. Yeah, couple of stupid, argumentative people out there reading my blog, that is a cover. Just like 10000 Maniacs didn’t write Because The Night. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Anyway, the Lemonheads had a lot of other insanely good songs that all manage to somehow be the musical description of what it’s like to have Evan Dando hug you. Which would be awesome, because he’s also really underrated and insanely adorable. Just look at the video below: he’s in a shopping cart! He’s holding a puppy! Balloons!

2. Stephen Malkmus from Pavement. Yeah, he’s probably a huge asshole, but he’s lanky, shaggy-haired, and fucking adorable. And he’s excellent at crossword puzzles, which, while annoying in a relationship where you’re constantly unsure of whether or not you’re actively being mocked based on his outstanding vocabulary, is also sexy. Plus he’s so lazy and indifferent about being cool, like it’s annoying and boring to him. Women love that shit. It’s his self-involved contempt for the world that makes it so much more endearing when he actually appears to be enjoying himself. And he’s aging really, really well.

3. Beck, Loser-era. It’s very important that we distinguish WHEN Beck was cute. Because now, he’s a Scientologist, which totally disqualifies him, but in 1994, he was an adorable little ragamuffin with an acoustic guitar strapped to his back and filthy long hair, mumbling nonsensical songs that sounded like Allen Ginsberg poems being put to music.

4. Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes: YEAH I KNOW. His music is really lame now if you’ve graduated college. If you haven’t, then you can still find depth in ‘Lover I don’t have to love’. But semi uni-brow and rumored piss-poor hygiene aside, he’s quite attractive on occasion. Let’s face it, we all had crushes on the guy who looked like him and wrote shittier versions of his music when we were in school. Or, sometimes on butch chicks who looked like him.

5. Matthew Gray Gubler: He’s not an indie musician, no, but he embodies everything somewhat twee and also mussed up, shaggy, and huggably adorable that qualifies him as ‘this type’. Now, first of all, I bet he does play some kind of instrument like the ukulele , and in addition to being a non-irritatingly quirky, non-repulsive amateur magician male model (a feat unto itself), he’s an actively interesting artist, and I’m not just saying that because cute guys make me overrate their work.

6. Gram Parsons: Yeah, yeah, he’s country, but look at him: shaggy hair, Evel Knievel jumpsuits, strange friends who steal his corpse…

7. Ryan Adams: Another controversial figure, granted. And he hasn’t aged well. But he was super hot in Whiskeytown and goes through stages of being incredibly attractive. Plus, even if he’s overly prolific (re: annoyingly over-releasing) and has to sustain from trying to be Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, he’s still talented. And anyone who ever plays Dancing With The Women At The Bar one day on the world’s most obscure jukebox while I’m sitting in a mostly empty bar somewhere in the middle of nowhere will instantly have my heart.

8. Jon Spencer, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I have no idea if he even constitutes ANY of the qualifications for indie, but he’s fucking hot and from the ’90s, so I’m loosely connecting them.

9. Christopher Bear, Grizzly Bear: I won’t lie. I am not sophisticated enough to enjoy the hot mess that is Grizzly Bear and I find their music to be slightly less enjoyable than deafening myself with a long, pointed stick. But this kid’s adorable.

10. Zach Condon of Beirut: Having a mom that lives in Santa Fe, I can safely say this is the hottest guy who has ever come out of there. Ever. Period. And a snazzy dresser.

11. Panda Bear from Animal Collective: Again, I’d rather eat glass than listen to his music, but I’m not blind.

12. The guys in The Rakes and The Editors when you don’t look at them too closely. Individually, they’re somewhat of a mess, but in an arty Joy Division light, they’re quite attractive.

As you can tell from the shorter descriptions, I’m over this topic. Stay tuned for Hottest Dead Guys, Hottest British Guys, and, of course, Hottest Douche Bags. BTW, there is a FUCKYEAH Tumblr for every single one of these guys except Jon Spencer. UNACCEPTABLE.

Movie Romances to Avoid

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Ah, the cinema. Since the dawn of the movie era, it’s served as the template for romantic expectations. Sometimes in an entirely unhealthy way. Here, I am going to critique some of the worst examples of Hollywood romances from film and television throughout the past 80 or so years.

1. My Man Godfrey: Carol Lombard and William Powell meet and fall in love in this exquisite screwball comedy from 1936. Powell is a ‘forgotten man’ that Lombard retrieves while on a scavenger hunt. After developing a crush on him, she convinces her father to hire him on, where he gets to witness the savageness of wealth, until it’s revealed that his ‘forgotten man’ status means he was, at one time, a known man, and he saves the family with the wisdom he’s acquired on the street.  First of all, how many homeless guys or slackers do you know who actually pull themselves up and teach everyone a valuable lesson about the value of the dollar? Second, Lombard’s character is borderline retarded here and he’s pretty much a genius. Granted, she’s hot, but there’s nothing to sustain.

2. Sid and Nancy: Well, they both die. And pretty much, they both kill each other. And before that, they lie around a lot in shit and vomit, and they never fuck.

3. The Little Mermaid. You might remember this fondly from childhood. This is the reality: Ariel is 16. SIXTEEN. And her father has the audacity to believe that A) she might not know what’s best for her at that age and B) wants better things for her, but he’s the enemy. And the whole part where Ursula declares “The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber/They think a girl who gossips is a bore!/Come on, they’re not all that impressed with conversation/It’s she who holds her tongue who get’s a man,” is only partial jest. Their entire relationship is based on her fawning over him and him thinking she’s kind of pretty.

4. Pretty much any Disney romance. Look, just because you woke me up from a curse doesn’t mean I automatically want to marry you.

5. Breakfast At Tiffany’s: He’s gay. She’s a bitch.

6. SLC Punk: The ending, when Steve-o meets the girl who changes everything for him, all we see is a mustached cunt who makes a lot of superficial judgements about people. Womp womp.

7. Flashdance: The biggest problem is that there really wasn’t any need for a romance in Flashdance, so the line they threw in where the rich guy is after the poor girl who lives in an amazing warehouse of awesome is really extraneous and forced. Plus he’s creepy, old and unattractive.

8. Pretty In Pink: All of the romance in this is awful. First, we’re supposed to root for Andie and Blaine. Blaine is a douche and a half. I mean, he’s worse than Stef because he’s a pussy hypocrite. He dumps Andie before the prom because he freaks about his social status, and then when she shows up anyway, he acts like it’s a big test and has the nerve to say, “You never believed in me.” And she falls for it and forgives him! What! But who can blame her when her role model is Annie Potts’ awesome character who sells out all of her punk rock originality to dress like a sick yuppie in order to appease her complete tool of a boyfriend.

9. Batman Begins and Dark Knight: Why does anyone like Rachel? In Batman Begins, she’s an uptight, self-righteous bitch who judges everyone. She’s basically a sophomore political science student at a liberal East Coast private college. Sick. And in the Dark Knight, she’s a sarcastic, insensitive  asshole. Instead of being all indignant about everything, she’s an eye-rolling know-it-all. Batman, stick with your own kind.

10. Superman Returns: Before we start on how this movie sucked, let me say, the one hero in this is the poor guy Lois Lane married, who isn’t superhuman but risks everything to save his asshole of a wife and his kid who isn’t his kid, yet all the credit goes to Superman. Maybe Superman and Lois Lane are actually perfect for each other because she’s a self-involved twat and he’s a hollow piece of wood.

11. Bonnie and Clyde: He’s impotent and quick to rage, and she’s desperately trailing after him.

There will be a sequel when I bother to think of some.

 

Iconic Image of the Day/Week: Louise Brooks

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This is what I’m going to do: take some picture of a beautiful bitch or awesome photography, and discuss the shit out of it. Maybe daily, maybe monthly. Let’s face it, I’m sporadic and easily distracted. Anyway, today’s Iconic Image Award or whatever will go to the easiest face I can start with: Louise Brooks. YES, I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE JUMPED ON THIS BANDWAGON. Ugh. I will say: the Louise Brooks Society of People Overly Invested in Dead People has existed for quite some time and definitely assisted in my obsession when I was young.

Let me start by saying this: I used to have insomnia. Well, I still have insomnia, but I don’t care as much anymore. But at 12, I couldn’t drink myself unconscious, so instead, I watched the IFC and TCM. I’m going to make the assumption that you know what those acronyms stand for. Otherwise, you’re not hip enough to read me, son. We don’t speak the same language, ya know? See, I could have used those two sentences to clarify what I’m talking about, but I chose to waste your time mocking you instead. I’m a jerk!

So I’d be up all night, watching a plethora of stuff that no other 12-year-old was into, and establishing my weirdo tastes. While everyone else cooed about the latest Christian Slater movie, I was memorizing City of Lost Children and Party Girl.  Yes, I am aware the former makes me pretentious, but the latter makes me a fag-hag in training wheels, so I like to think those two cancel each other out. Also, I never really got the Christian Slater thing and I am maybe the only indignant 11-year-old who walked out of Untamed Heart because it was so stupid. Anyway. They also showed Pandora’s Box a lot. And that was when I was like ‘Who is this Louise Brooks person, and why is she the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen, and her style is awesome.” I didn’t speak very eloquently back then. I was formatting my style as a rambler.

My mom is a huge, huge collector. The kind there will be an A&E reality show about at some point. She frequented  Ephemera shows in Pasadena and Santa Monica, so I’d tag along and dig through materials to find Louise Brooks stuff. At the time, the only other people I’d meet with similar interests were much older, incredibly creepy, profoundly nerdy men. They’d gush and gush about Louise Brooks and marvel over me knowing her. That was how I discovered that she was sort of an addiction. Louise Brooks is the kind of look you’re either obsessed with, or you have no idea what I’m talking about and don’t care at all.

Let’s get some background here: Brooks started out as a Ziegfeld Folly in the early ’20s, before being ‘discovered’ and sent to Hollywood. She did the usual handful of fairly unknown pictures until Beggars of Life. Wikipedia is trying to tell me A Girl In Every Port was her first major one, but I’ve never seen it nor heard anything about it, so whatever, weird obsessed Louise Brooks fan who wrote her Wiki. Anyway, she went on to star in The Canary Murders, which is pretty horrible but has some great costumes, and it marked her downward slope as far as Hollywood power was concerned.

Brooks pretty much thought Hollywood was bullshit, besides giving her a lot of attractive men to fuck, so she took German filmmaker G.W Pabst up on an offer to star in two of his films, Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl. This is pretty much what made her infamous. At this point in time, it wasn’t considered cool to go to Germany and make a film about being a widow accused of murder who seduces other women, or a whore. It was pretty much her version of working with Lars Von Trier. All of these films were censored and she’d effectively pretty much shot her career in the face repeatedly. Now, of course, you HAVE to make an avant garde foreign film to really seal your status as a Serious Actress versus Hollywood Actress. 

So she came back to the states, told Paramount to fuck off with their talky shit, and was blacklisted. Paramount spread the word that her voice was not acceptable for film. Anyone who’s watched the documentary Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu, knows there’s no truth to that. In fact, she spoke with every bit the erudite, faux British accent they were looking for at the time. She was just too scandalous.

And if that doesn’t make you love her enough, you can read her book, Lulu in Hollywood, which is surprisingly eloquent and witty in the style of Dorothy Parker.  She was pretty unabashed about sleeping with everything that looked good, claiming in her documentary to have bedded at least one man for every day of the year at one point, and describing her sex life as one guy coming in while the other went out the window. And she didn’t even die from Syphilis! Take that, embittered, misogynist male philosophers of the past!

She died old and crippled from arthritis, survived by her cats. See, we have a lot in common. This is 100% how I will go out.

Now, she’s mostly known for her image and her bob, which is largely and falsely attributed to her: many, many starlets and models at the time rocked the black bob. She just did it the best and the most naturally. Loads of girls, including myself, attempt to recreate the Brooks image. And as a person who has had exactly three haircuts my entire life: the Josephine Baker, the Brooks Bob, and, uh, whatever slightly longer bob I let my hair grow into, let’s call it The Doom Generation Bob. the secret to pulling it off is A) making sure it actually looks good on you (NO NO NO if you have Rumer Willis face. no) and B) remembering to incorporate your own natural style. Where vintage fanatics fail is when they just look like they’re playing dress-up all the time, instead of falling out of a silent film and wandering around, ala The Purple Rose of Cairo. And that is my sage advice today.

Fan Art: The hidden jewel of the internet

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Fact: You cannot spell fan art without fart. Well, you can try.

As we know, the internet is a veritable gold mine of undiscovered talent. More than one lump of livejournal coal gets dusted off to reveal a diamond underneath. Yes, we all applaud the wit of those who can. But let us not forget those who can’t, yet try so, so hard.

Have you ever noticed how much more prolific the writer with no skill is than the carefully trained, honed, and brilliant one is? Seriously, in the time it took Marcel Proust to fine-tune a sentence in Remembrance  Of Things Past, Stephenie Meyers wrote all of the Twilight series. And yes, it’s easy to marvel over the speedy efficiency bad writers pop things out, we just as easily dismiss them.  But we must also remember to applaud their imagination. Where else but in the bowels of the Internet would someone think to write femslash fiction pairing Law and Order SVU’s Olivia Benson with a Farscape creature?

Bad art is an art unto itself, and nothing is more marvelous than the dedicated fan, who in his or her pursuit to properly convey admiration for the idolized person of choice, winds up creating an iconic image so terrible that it seems to be a massive injustice to not give these people credit where credit is due.

And so, without further blathering, may I present some of my favorite fan art renderings of Hollywood’s most revered stars.

As a caveat, may I say that there are many, many well-done portraits of the stars. Those are no fun.

Angelina Jolie

Jolie is quite a popular subject among amateur illustrative artists. They all appear to secretly view her as some kind of vile monster.

Brad Pitt

No, I swear it’s not Butthead.

Jennifer Aniston

Sarah Michelle Gellar

But you knew that. It’s obvious.

Oprah

Leonardo DiCaprio

You have to admire this artist, who appears to have used the age-enhancing program police reserve for milk carton children, to create his Leo.

Harry Potter

This is more filed under ‘weird’ than bad, per se. It appears to be a forlorn Harry Potter being comforted by either Jesus or Kurt Cobain.

Kurt Cobain

And while we’re on the topic.

Edward Cullen

Now, before everyone says, “Sabrina, that’s mean. I bet a special needs eight-year-old drew that,” please keep in mind the average Twilight fan is a desperately sad, mentally questionable thirty-eight-year-old woman still reeling from the disappointment of the bottom collapsing on the Beanie Baby market.

And finally, where would we be without this blog’s namesake?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. And I can’t wait to explore the realm of people who get celebrities tattooed on them.

Murderous Toddlers: the trend continues

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Last week, a candidate for Father of The Year  fingered his two-year-old son as the triggerman in the assassination of his mother as she turned her back on the deranged toddler. This week, we find out that he won’t be alone on baby death row. Now, a four-year-old stands accused in the drowning death of his younger sister.

Like the first murder, this crime took place in Florida, where apparently police don’t bat an eye when you point a finger at your baby and J’ACCUSE them of homicide.

According to Daytona police, a fun game of Pretend To Drown Your Three-Year-Old sister became a deadly round of I Actually Drowned My Three-Year-Old Sister in a kiddie pool in the family yard. This time, instead of leaving a gun hanging around the house where a two-year-old could access it easily, despite the many, many places that are out of a toddler’s reaching range, the mother explained to police that she excused herself to the bathroom to take a dump, and when she came back, the daughter was submerged in the water.

First of all, little kids can drown in sprinklers and puddles of water. They can drown in a doggy dish. What would ever make a woman think she can just leave them for two shakes of a lamb’s tail to sit and flip through People Magazine on the crapper? Oh, wait, I know. Profound stupidity.

There’s no mention of why the mother is so adamant that the little girl didn’t just drown on her own while her four-year-old brother watched, so either the kid is a terrifying Omen Bad Seed of Evil or maybe, just maybe, the mother is trying to absolve herself of accepting responsibility and owning up to her negligent parenting by blaming her murderous, evil pre-schooler.

Those of you eying your door nervously and anticipating a gang of delinquent diaper wearers won’t sleep any easier knowing the baby will walk/toddle away from this consequence-free:

Under state statutes, the 4-year-old boy can’t face charges because of his age, officials told CNN-affiliate WESH.

IS THERE NO JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD? Something must be done to stop America’s newest threat. There is only one solution. Women like this MUST take the preemptive strike and abort. Kill them before they kill you, parents.

Invaluable Lessons The Babysitter’s Club taught us

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They were the best friends we never had. All it took was one Great Idea (copyright Kristy Thomas) to launch a thousand piss-poor babysitter clubs that never took proper fruition. And can you think of a book since that’s so confident that it gets the point across that it has TWO EXTRA CHAPTERS to dedicate to fillers and recaps? I mean, that shit had more ‘Previously on…’ than an HBO season premiere. And we took so, so much from it. Let us recount here the stories taught us the life lessons our parents were too bashful to share with us.

1. DIABEETUS--The Truth About Stacey. In which Stacey, consumed by frustration over her special dietary needs and feelings of alienation after relocating from the city to Stonybrook, binges on candy and goes into diabetic shock. Diabetes: it’s not just for fat old people!

2. Kids suck--Claudia and The Bad Joke. Yes, arguably every Babysitter’s Club gave us motivation to tie our tubes, but none so much as the time a particular little monster BROKE CLAUDIA’S LEG during a prank, forcing her into a cast. This is also how we learned that legs get spindly and creepy in casts and they itch very badly.

3. Death is sad--Claudia and The Sad Goodbye. We barely got to know Mimi as the only member of Claudia’s family who gave two craps about her before she died suddenly, leaving us and Claudia suicidal and depressed. Fortunately, sneaker shopping, babysitting best friends, and a secret cache of candy heal all wounds.

4. Autism isn’t just an anti-social life choice–Kristy and The Secret Of Susan. Kristy–and the rest of us–learned the harsh truth that idiot savants are more idiots than savants when she tries to lure autistic child Susan out of her insulated world after discovering her gift for music. Failed socialization attempts leave Kristy a little more bitter about humanity.

5. Small towns are racist--Any book about Jessi. Virtually all of Jessi’s adventures led to them discovering some bigot in town wouldn’t let her watch their kids, because she might make them black.

6. Deaf kids are cute--Jessie and The Secret Language. Jessi’s newest sitting charge is deaf.  Fortunately, Jessi is adept at sign language! Black people are useful to Stonybrook after all.

7. Vegans are annoying–EVERY SINGLE DAWN BOOK. As a California native, I constantly facepalmed at the irritating, pushy antics of Dawn.

8. Quiet girls get hot guys–Logan likes Mary Anne. Who would think that the girl who dressed like a toddler for the first three books would be the first sexually experienced club member? Well, anyone who knows the first girl in high school to get pregnant is always the shy one. Hello, Lifetime TV movie plots.

9. Rich people are douchey but overall nice–Poor Mallory, Kristy and The Snobs. Mallory and Kristy are both forced to cope with their middle-class lifestyles and how rich people are mean, cocky assholes. First, Kristy’s mom remarries and moves them into a huge mansion. POOR KRISTY JUST WANTS TO BE LOWER MIDDLE CLASS. There, she is forced to deal with uppity country club bitches. But one of them takes pity on her pathetic Oliver Twist form and gives her a dog. And that is how Shannon becomes an alternate in the BSC. Meanwhile, Mallory’s dad loses his job, which puts his family of eight billion in peril. Out of sympathy, everyone defers to Mallory for first choice when it comes to babysitting gigs, because surely the twenty bucks a week she makes will feed the entire Pike clan, especially the fat carsick one. However, Mallory gets stuck with a well-paying but emotionally tearing job for wealthy people in Kristy’s neighborhood whose carefree lifestyle and parent’s ability to refrain from reproducing like rabbits fills Mallory with jealousy. As does virtually everything with Mallory.

10. Ballerinas are crazy, neurotic bitches--Jessi and The Awful Secret. Jessi’s ballerina class taught us all we needed to know about Black Swan years before anyone clued in Darren Aronofsky. It was full of catty, vile bitches who never ate, chain-smoked, and used racism against Jessi, because apparently there was nothing else to hate about her. Oh, and attempted to sabotage her and other dancers in order to get better roles (Jessi and the Dance Class Phantom). And then there was the one chick who accepted her who was like oh BTW, I vomit up everything I eat, don’t you, FATTY?  And so we stepped into the sordid world of eating disorders. More to come.

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