Check it, Peons: Your CNN Humiliation Compartmentalized

Monday, November 30, 2009

TOP TEN ALBUMS OF THE DECADE



Since most people purchase music by cherrypicking singles now, the album is becoming a dinosaur. The idea of actually listening to an entire album as a cohesive piece of art instead of a collection of singles is antiquated. Who knows, this may be the last decade in which a Top 10 Albums List is even attempted. So I'm taking the opportunity while I can.
Obviously, I'm no professional music critic. If you hate this list, or think I've missed something or added something absurd, go ahead and call me a jackass. It won't sting much.
But make sure you tell me what you'd have chosen instead.
I came up with this list through an unscientific process of looking through my i-tunes play counts,  personal preference, and pure whimsy.
Have at it, Peon Confidential readers:

1. Is This It? -The Strokes
I had just moved to New York when this album came out. I remember standing in the Virgin Record Store in Union Square (which, sadly, like Foxy Lady is no longer there) listening to the whole album, start to finish, wearing those smelly public headphones. I must have looked like a moron, grinning, nodding and closing my eyes for the length of the album. And I'm glad I bought the import CD. The English album cover on the top is a million times more iconic than the American cover:

 

2. Chutes Too Narrow-The Shins
"Garden State" is to "The Graduate" as The Shins are to Simon and Garfunkle. Discuss.

3. The White Stripes-Elephant
Shrieking, sexy vocals, bluesy riffs, strange lyrics, red, white and black outfits. Plus, the Led Zeppelin influences are a treat for a Pacific Northwestern girl like me, where Gettin' The Led Out is a regional obsession.

4. Funeral-Arcade Fire
For the sheer number of instruments per song, people on stage and misty eyed hipsters in the audience.

5. Girls Can Tell-Spoon
This band manages to turn a song about dad's fitted shirt into a rock anthem. Now that's cool.

6. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below-Outkast
Incredible mix of styles from Andre 3000 and Big Boi. "Hey Ya" is perhaps the best single of the decade. I can't picture any other song that could have moved a roomful of dull, pasty CNBC employees at a boring holiday party in a New Jersey hotel to get up and "shake it like a Polaroid picture". Yes, this happened. I witnessed it with my own eyes. Plus, if you never saw this Peanuts remix, do yourself a favor and check it out: 


7. Back to Black-Amy Winehouse
Show me a woman who hasn't lived Amy's songs at least once and I'll show you a liar.

8. Alright, Still-Lily Allen
Yeah, yeah. I can hear the groans from you serious music fans. Well, to borrow the title of another Lily Allen song, Fuck You. This album is like candy. Every song is a delicious pop confection, and the sly lyrics are hilarious. Plus, Lily is my kind of pop star. She never hides behind any sweet, virginal facade. She misbehaves with rock stars on first class flights to Tokyo. She makes an ass of herself at awards shows. She talks shit about other famous people. What's not to love about Lily?

9. Franz Ferdinand-Franz Ferdinand-
Just because almost every song on here is a summons to the dancefloor. Which shouldn't really be a reason to put it on this list, except that I am a really fucking bad dancer. So this is an achievement. I'll hear the opening chords to "Take Me Out", and think, "Yep. I've been served. It's a sonic subpoena." Then off I'll go to embarrass myself in front of strangers. (See also: their follow up album "Tonight" which offers up sonic subpoenas "No You Girls" and "Ulysses".)

10. Music For Men-Gossip
Beth Ditto is the most original front person to emerge in years. Now that I think about it, this decade launched quite a few interesting female singers, and not in the tedious, yeast infected Lilith Fair way: Beth Ditto, Karen O, Lady Gaga.
Whether or not you like what they do, they're certainly doing it in a unique way.

Honorable Mention:
Less Sophistication-The Jessica Fletchers
Very few people have heard of this band. This album doesn't have a single review on i-tunes. But I love it. It's the sound of a sunny Midsummer Night festival. And how can you not love a band that takes its name from your granny's favorite mystery program?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

RELIGIOUS VISIONS IN HOUSEHOLD ITEMS: THE TIMELINE



So-
Every so often, there will be a news report about some deluded individual who sees either The Virgin Mary or Jesus in a potato chip, a pizza pan or an egg sandwich. (For some reason, these people never see Moses or Elijah.) The blessed item will often be placed under a glass pie cover to respect and preserve it. Citizens of the hamlet where this miraculous sighting took place will gather 'round it, bearing witness to religious history. (These sightings rarely happen in large cities, presumably because people are too busy to notice such things.)

Well, it's happened again.

This time the lucky visionary is Mary Jo Coady of Methuen, Massachusetts, who discovered the face of Jesus on her iron. (See above photo)

Now, maybe I'm not as sophisticated as Mary Jo Coady, but I don't see it. And I've really tried. But all I see is a burnt iron, and I worry about what happened to the clothes she was ironing.

Then I tried to picture the timeline of this miraculous event. Since I wasn't there, I have to fill in the details from my imagination. So I figured the timeline might go something like this:

9:30am: Mary Jo Coady finishes a hearty breakfast, in which for a thrilling moment she thinks she's seen the Virgin Mary in her Eggo Waffle, but ultimately concludes that she was mistaken. She sighs.


9:45am: Mary Jo Coady goes to the laundry room, wearily piling up the clothes she has to iron. She puts on the Adult Contemporary radio station ("The Greatest Hits of Yesterday and Today!") to put a little kick in her step. 


10:00am: Mary Jo Coady begins ironing. 


10:15am: Mary Jo Coady gets distracted while reminiscing about her exciting and educational trip to Colonial Williamsburg two years ago. The result is that she burns her favorite Quaker Factory sweatshirt.


10:17am: After a brief moment of grief, Mary Jo Coady turns that frown upside down. Because she examines her iron which reveals...the face of Jesus. 


10:25am: Mary Jo Coady calls up some friends and tells them about the Heavenly Glory in her laundry room. 


11:00am: Mary Jo Coady's coffee klatch descends upon her house to inspect the Blessed Burnt Iron.


11:30am: Over a cup of Maxwell House and pie, one of her friends (the wacky, crazy, fun gal--she's a hoot!) throws out the idea that they should contact the local news station. 


11:40am: More coffee.


12:00pm: Amped up on Maxwell House, Mary Jo Coady calls the local news station. The Assignment Desk is enthralled by her tale of religious imagery in domestic drudgery, and they send a reporter to her house.


Thus, Mary Jo Coady has cemented her place in local news lore...


UPDATE: Here I thought my Eggo Waffle bit was sarcastic, but now I find that in Port St. Lucie, FL a woman just sold a pancake that she claims shows a vision of Jesus and Mary. She managed to make a 338.00 windfall from her Holy Pancake.

Friday, November 27, 2009

ADULT ENTERTAINMENT: MYSTERY SOLVED



The Peon Confidential hiatus is over, just in time for me to assist you with your Black Friday shopping questions.
And in particular, your porn shop questions...Okay, it's really just the answer to one porn shop question.
You see, I went out with some pals recently and learned the answer to a mystery that's been haunting me for far too long.

So, a couple years back a former CNN peon and myself had tickets to a concert at Madison Square Garden. We get there and find that it's been cancelled. Devasted but still in search of fun, we popped into a porn shop around the corner. Within this porn shop we found the usual merchandise: blow up dolls, DVDs, vibrators and those weird plastic pussies that truly creep me out.
You know what I'm talking about? They're just these cooters that come in a box. They aren't even attached to a plastic woman. I hate to think about tragic, lonely men pounding away at these things, then rinsing them out and putting them away in their Kmart dressers for use later.

I do not know what I would do if I were dating someone, opened their dresser drawer and found one of these pathetic fake snatches. I suspect the reaction would be the same as when I found a massive roach in my New Orleans bathroom. It was crawling on my toothbrush. Then when I tried to throw out the toothbrush with roach attached...the motherfucker flew at me. I ran out of there so fast that I slipped and banged my head on the wall. Then I called for backup. I'm a tough woman but I have my limits.

Okay. So. Back to the point...
There we were in the porn store.

And in the midst of all these seedy sundries, we see three massive stacks of...Delta Burke's book entitled,
"Delta Style: Eve Wasn't A Size 6 And Neither Am I."


We could not figure this out. Who would buy this book here? Does Delta Burke have an audience we don't know about? Do perverts read uplifting celebrity accounts about learning to accept their fat thighs? But mostly it was just an overwhelming thought of...why?

Well,  I finally got my answer the other night.

Turns out that in certain places, there is a 70-30 law. Meaning that at least 30% of the merchandise in a porn shop needs to be non-porn related. So Delta Burke and her uplifting book were helping these porn purveyors uphold the law!

Mystery solved.
And with that, I'm off to slice a piece of pie for breakfast.

Happy first official day of the Holiday Season to all of you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

DESOLATION BOULEVARD: BLOGGING IN THE HARSH GLARE OF KINKOS


Hello Peons!
Just checking in with you to tell you I'm not dead. Neither is the blog. What's dead is my computer. But it's with the nerds at the Mac store, where I can only hope they are treating it with as much love as I do. I cannot tell you how forlorn my desk looks now, with only a cookie crumb infested keyboard on it.

Until my computer and I are reunited, I'd just like to leave you with this bit of information: Southern Cooking Personality Paula Deen was smacked in the face with a ham yesterday.

Back soon with more of the useless shit you've come to expect from this blog...

-VJDutton

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TOP TEN WORST ITEMS TO SELL DOOR TO DOOR




(Enjoy today's Large Print Edition. No need to dig out those reading glasses. No, I didn't do this on purpose. Not sure what I did wrong, but I can't seem to fix it.)


So-
I just read this from the Associated Press:


BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 19-year-old Brownsville man is jailed on a drug charge after he allegedly went door-to-door trying to sell marijuana. A Brownsville police spokesman says Anthony Carrazco's alleged scheme went awry when he knocked on a police officer's apartment door.


Now, this fellow is an idiot. (Almost as idiotic as a person who can't fix font issues on their blog.) No question there. But it got me to thinking about other goods and services that are best not sold door to door.
I came up with this list:


1. Opened tubes of hemorrhoid ointment, accompanied by an offer to help with application


2. Lederhosen 


3. "Manager's Special" Ground Beef


4.  Dentures


5.  Opened boxes of Tampax, accompanied by an offer to help with insertion


6. Internal Organs


7. Whoopie Cushions


8. Tubas


9. Monkeys (That didn't stop 70's cult leader Jim Jones from doing it, however)


10. Opened jars of Vaseline, accompanied by an offer to help smear it someplace

Monday, November 16, 2009

AM I CRAZY OR IS THIS A VAGINA? TAKE THIS POLL, PLEASE



So-
A certain bespectacled, grey-haired curmudgeonly pal of mine had a back stage pass to Metallica at Madison Square Garden  last night. (Another pal was in charge of tuning guitars for the band.)

Afterwards, he showed me the above badge and I immediately said,
"Oh, that's subtle."
And he said "What do you mean?"
I said, "Well, that's clearly a pussy."
He said I was wrong. Crazy in fact. And no, he was not being ironic. Of course, he was still a little drunk. Maybe he will sober up and see the truth.

Admittedly, I am painfully aware that us women are shaving/waxing/plucking/laser beaming our nether regions now, so perhaps this photo does not automatically conjure up genital visions.

Point being...
Cast your vote now!

A. Yes, that's a Hairy Clam
B. What the hell are you talking about, you lunatic?
C. Don't I have better things to do?

Friday, November 13, 2009

FACEBOOK ANNOYANCE DU JOUR



You know, I have enough people trying to make me feel guilty: PBS with their fund raisers, my mom on the phone, Hallmark with their insistence that I'm a bad friend who doesn't care enough to send the very best if I don't buy their cards.
Now Facebook is joining the guilt chorus.
I see in my suggestions column that they've taken to putting a friend's face there and saying, "You haven't connected with ___________ on Facebook in a while. Send______________ a message."
Better yet, they put: "Help make Facebook better for her."

What is the meaning of this shit? How did I become a Facebook charity work volunteer?

Why is Facebook telling me that I'm an uncaring asshole? Facebook is like one of those irritating, overbearing moms who always tried to mediate grade school conflicts:

Irritating, Overbearing Mom: Wendy, why can't you just forgive Saara for trying to steal your Little Pony, even though I'm sure her family can afford to buy her one and it was very rude of her.

Wendy: No! She's fat and ugly and I hate her!

See? And I understand Wendy's outrage. Truthfully, I still hate her too. Plus, I already had a Little Pony, I just took hers out of spite. And I'd do it again, bitch!
So Facebook, stop dropping unsubtle hints about friends I may be neglecting.
But if you still want to emulate an Irritating, Overbearing Mom, at least have the courtesy to carpool in an unflattering velour tracksuit, bathed in Elizabeth Arden perfume while you're doing it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

UNDER THE VOLCANO IN NYC: THE DEATH OF COOL



You know the only thing worse than your favorite bar going out of business?
Your favorite bar under new management.

For many years, there was a fantastic New York bar called Under The Volcano on 12 E. 36th Street. It was a murky joint that took its name from Malcolm Lowry's 1947 book about a depressed alcoholic expat in Mexico. There were incredible Dia de los Muertos creatures placed in strategic locations. Candles dripped wax all over the bar. The music was great. The staff could actually translate and explain the literary relevance of a famous quote from the book, which had been painted on the wall: LE GUSTA ESTE JARDIN? QUE ES SUYO? EVITE QUE SUS HIJOS LO DESTRUYAN!

In a dull part of Midtown, this strange place was a beacon of cool in a sea of boring, charmless pubs. Instead of office drones knocking back Budweisers, you'd find punk pioneer Legs McNeil sneering at everyone in the corner. (Okay, I only witnessed this once, but it still counts.)

Well, I went in there recently, and the whole place had been revamped. There were flat screen TVs blaring college football. They'd replaced the spooky amber windows. They'd removed all the Dia de los Muertos art and the dripping candles. The music was shit. They'd painted over the famous quote on the wall.

And yet they've kept the name "Under The Volcano". Why? What the fuck is the point? It's false advertising. Just go ahead and rename it Andy's Ale House or McDuffy's or some other shit.

I won't be back.

Anyone else have a similar story about your favorite bar?

UPDATE: Not sure if the new management reads this blog, but I walked past this place a couple days ago to find that that they've changed the name to The Archive.

Monday, November 02, 2009

MEMO TO THE PACKS OF LOUD, OBNOXIOUS STRAIGHT GIRLS INVADING GAY CLUBS




I’d like to begin by stating that I have been a fag hag since I was 5 years old, when I asked my mom for a Paul Lynde lunchbox.  Being from a rural area in Finland, she could not grasp the concept of a "lunchbox", let alone Paul Lynde. She presented me with a cigar box, upon which I pasted several pictures of Paul Lynde that I cut out of an old Bon Appetit Magazine.  I also pasted a photo of his “Millionaire’s Salad”.

So I feel that I come from a place of some authority on this issue, even though I’m not a gay man. And I need to tell you good time girls something:

You are really fucking annoying.

You teeter into gay clubs, shrieking, laughing and thinking you look so damn cute. You carry with you the same entitlement that you take to straight clubs, the idea that you’re “sitting on a goldmine”. Newsflash: you’re surrounded by gay men. They don’t want your pussy. They don’t even want to think about your pussy. Your pussy is about as relevant as the last piece of sweaty cheese after an office holiday party.

And why must you come to gay clubs in packs? Or worse, bachelorette parties? You ruin the whole vibe. You wander around like you’re on vacation in a foreign land. You pretend to dance with abandon and gingerly put dollar bills into g-strings like you’re the most daring mavericks that ever walked the earth.  Some of you even stare and point. You and your pack of giggling idiots just aren’t adorable or funny. You are rude. You reek of self-satisfaction.

And honestly, aren’t there enough Senor Frogs type establishments you can go to where you can sing into your Miller Lite beer bottles and talk about your insensitive boyfriends?

I’m certainly not saying that there should be no straight women in gay clubs. I love to go to gay clubs. But never in a bachelorette party pack. It’s disrespectful. The ratio should be the reverse of straight clubs. You know how sexy girls get in for free at straight clubs because they don’t want too many men? Well, it’s payback time. Bring at least one gay male for every straight female. It’s only fair.