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Mitch Hedberg, R.I.P.A Bad Joke, In Book FormHigh Times Meets The My Space GenerationSome Filler, Some Ideas, Some Other StuffTennis and Instant Replays: What Would Bjorn Do?

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March 30, 2006

Mitch Hedberg, R.I.P.

The late great Mitch Hedberg died a year ago. I think we can all agree that his death was a tragic, terrible loss, both to the comedy universe, and to the larger world to which his art contributed.

Ironically, today I finally posted the Spin piece on this site ...so, for those who seem to come in search of it, it's here to be read, and passed along via this link (Spin has not posted it on their site).

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A Bad Joke, In Book Form

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Well, it appears that the churned-out-in-month book spoofing James Frey's A Million Little Pieces is now public and the media circus has begun. I've not read it, nor will I, because, frankly, who has that kind of time? The premise, though hacky and trite, is not a terrible one. However, as with dozens of Saturday Night Lives sketches expanded into terrible movies, what works well as a punchline usually does not hold up in a longer form. Spoofing Frey plays well as a disposable reference. But a 208 page trade paperback? Perhaps prisoners denied any other form of written word will read it.

But, really, the biggest problem with the book is that the whole James Frey episode is already a spoof of itself. This book wasn't necessary because the participants in this tragicomedy already satirized themselves. The purpose of satire is to actually make commentary on a serious subject, and to bring about change. Again, the Frey situation has already run this course, making this book redudant.

I think Weird Al Yankovic should have done a song about Frey....that's what all this really deserves.

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March 27, 2006

High Times Meets The My Space Generation

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A shout out to cityrag for this one....Which proves, once again, that the Internet is, first and foremost, about photos of hot girls doing, well, just about anything. In this case, it's smoking pot. Yes, the soon-to-launch Girls Gone Weed will feature, we're left to assume, hot girls smoking weed (and when we say "left to assume" we really mean that the My Space makes it pretty clear that this is the premise, though the blog explaining the origins does seem to suggest some deeper sense of ethos). Hey, it's a better business model than almost any Internet venture Time Inc. has launched.

Started by a 26 year old "motivated stoner," GirlsGoneWeed.Com seems to be a multimedia enterprise: The My Space page has promos for both a dvd and volume one of "Beats from the Bong," which would seem to be a stoner compilation of some kind or another. Hopefully, it'll be light on the Floyd and the Cypress Hill, since NORML already has a couple "hempilation" mixes of its own out there (though, of course, it's likely that any purchasers of the latter will have forgotten they own it).

In a way, all of this makes perfect sense, since the original computer scientists who invented what eventually become the "Internet" where a supersmart strain of acid/pot heads who happened to be in grad school in California in the late 60s and early 70s, and then had all their ideas stolen by corporations.

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March 24, 2006

Some Filler, Some Ideas, Some Other Stuff

To those who read this blog semi-regularly: I apologize for my delays in updates. I've been saddled with other work, leaving my blog by the digital wayside. But I pledge now to do more updating. Here are a few things that I've been thinking about/that I'll be blogging about in the future:

++ Hard to believe, but it's been 15 years (this month, in fact) since Douglas Coupland's Generation X was published. Whatever you think of the book, it gave rise to a media firestorm as everybody tried to get a handle on that (or my) "generation"....and the term still has merit today. I've never felt comfortable with it, and I remember when The Baffler came out with it's "Twentynothing" issue....ah, those were good days, the early 90s....No Internet, and coffee could still be purchased without a small mortgage. I feel sorry for the Gen Y folks....not near as much effort has gone into trying to reduce them into a marketing demographic.

++ The DUMBO Report will be returning, soon, so all you DUMBO Lovers (and haters), please stay tuned. I'll do my best to answer your questions.

++ I've never, ever watched an episode of American Idol. I'm one the 13 people who has never seen it. Funny thing is, even actively avoiding the show, I cannot escape it. It's everywhere. I guess I just don't get it. I'm sure I'm out of touch, old fashioned and missing a crucial aspect of our culture, but there is so much great music that I currently own and that I hardly have to time to listen to....that I don't really care that much about a bunch of amateurs. Oh well. Clearly hundreds of millions of other people do.

++ If I read one more silly article about "how much the NCAA basketball tournament is costing us in terms of lost productivity" I'm going to....be a lot less productive. We get it. Americans like sports more than they like crappy jobs that take place in cubicles. Nobody talks about how much is lost due to discussions of, say, the use of lanuage and allegory in the works of Michael Chabon or Paul Auster, but it must be in the high three figures.

More to come later...

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March 06, 2006

Tennis and Instant Replays: What Would Bjorn Do?

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Nothing is immune from technological advancement. Not even, it seems, the grand old game of tennis. According to the Associated Press, the ATP Tour has agreed to begin using instant reply in a few limited venues (including the U.S. Open, this fall). The move is probably a good one, although my general knee-jerk reaction is to be opposed to anything that modernizes a traditional sport (cf. The Designated Hitter Rule, which has been ruining baseball since 1973). Tennis, like all of life, is subject to human error, and that's the way it's always been. The new rule will be a little bit like football, with each player allowed to challenge two calls per set (and a third if the set goes to tiebreak), though I don't believe there is any penalty if the challenger is wrong/the call is held. Johnny Mac is for it, and so is Agassi, and if those guys want it, I supsect it's probably the right way to go.

Still, I can't help but think that, in some ways, it's like the move from wooden racquets to those made of inceasingly advanced space-age materials. Sure, the game has gotten faster, harder, stronger and more "exciting," but at the cost of some finesse. Bjorn Borg was probably the last great wooden racquet player (Jimmy Connors, as you will recall, finished his career using a first-generation metal Wilson T-2000 which weighed nearly five pounds) and, at least to me, tennis went through a seismic shift when he left the game. WIll replays have the same impact twenty-five years from now? It remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: My old wooden Donnay Borg Pro, which is still someplace in my parent's house, may see some use if i do feel the need to protest.

 















 


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