Almost four years ago Natalie Portman and The Lonely Island created a SNL Digital Short rap parody. It was great mostly because the humor was raw, it was unexpected for Portman to deliver the hardcore rhymes, and hip-hop had really never been lampooned by a female like that before. It became one of the most successful viral videos of all time (fresh off the success of “Lazy Sunday”). Unfortunately since then, we’ve been forced to endure hundreds of shitty rip-off videos of the same premise–someone famous going against type to show they have a sense of humor and/or humanize them. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn’t. The latest victim is Rachel Bilson. Continue reading
Another happy accident. Some leftover vegetables, a little creativity and a hearty craving. And to be honest, this recipe came out a lot better than I thought it would. The carrots and squash work great together to deliver a rich sweetness while the sherry gives finishing depth and balance.
1 Peeled and Cubed Butternut Squash (About a Pound and a half)
1 Pound Peeled Carrots
3 cloves of Garlic, smashed
1 Medium Onion, diced
8 Cups Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Sherry (roughly)
A Couple Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
A Couple Dashes of Green Tabasco Sauce
1 Packet of Goya Sazon with Cilantro and Achiote
1 Bay Leaf
Immersion hand blender
Look, I like pop punk. I make no bones about hiding my allegiances. I like what I like and this list is a fair representation of the albums that really stuck with me in 2011 or just struck the right chord. I still buy albums the old fashioned way and remain excited about upcoming releases, artwork and physically owning a tangible item. Call me a dinosaur, but I’ll be here until I’m extinct.
I’d love to see your lists or favorite albums of 2011 in the comments.
10. Neighborhoods – Blink 182
Was Neighborhoods earth-shattering? Not by any stretch. But it’s good to have them back. Key Track: “Hearts All Gone”
9. Lioness – Amy Winehouse
This record just came out a few weeks ago and it’s much better than the train wreck everyone anticipated. It’s actually quite sad. Winehouse had her demons, but she could fucking sing. Always was a fan of her retro-soul sound and really hoped she’d pull through. So instead of celebrating another great album that’s really just leftover scraps, we’re eulogizing what could have been. Key Track: Original take of “Tears Dry on Their Own”
8. Wasting Light – Foo Fighters
This is a really great album. (iTunes’ album of the year btw). I love everything about this band and the way they exist. I’ve said it before, but Foo Fighters have officially eclipsed Nirvana as the better rock band. A lot was made about the analog recording process in Grohl’s garage with Butch Vig and all parties delivered. I appreciate Wasting Light for what it is, but it fell out of the car stereo rotation pretty quick. Key Track: “Rope”
The older I get, the narrower my tastes in music gets. Sure, there’s some great artists out there if you’re willing to look, but most music nowadays is shit. If you’ve turned on a radio in the past 365 days, chances are you’ve heard all of these gems. Hopefully, you won’t have to suffer much longer.
10. “Rolling in the Deep” – Adele
This isn’t a bad song by any stretch, but who decided that it needed to be played by every single radio station in the country every 2.7 seconds? Expect multiple Grammys for the British singer who just can’t stop whining about her shitty ex-boyfriend.
9. “Tonight Tonight” – Hot Chelle Rae
I saw these delinquents accept some award at the American Music Awards and one of the members looked mildly retarded. Explains a lot about this song, actually. Continue reading
I’m not a political person. I hate politics, actually. I’m jaded and disillusioned and am of the opinion that what happens in Washington rarely actually effects my daily existence. But just because I’m indifferent to political parties and bureaucratic bullshit, doesn’t mean I’m oblivious as to what’s happening in the world.
America is in a recession. We’ve been stuck in a downward financial slide for the last three years mainly because of bad bank deals, a growing debt and insanely greedy and rich people who just want to get richer. The Occupy Wall Street movement, started in New York in September, is a direct reaction to people finally trying to fight back. Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi has been on the front lines at Zuccotti Park and finally brings some rational thought and coverage to the movement in the latest issue of RS. Here’s my favorite except, that distills what so many are feeling:
“We’re all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. We see 10 million commercials a day, and every day is the same life-killing chase for money, money and more money; the only thing that changes from minute to minute is that every tick of the clock brings with it another space-age vendor dreaming up some new way to try to sell you something or reach into your pocket. The relentless sameness of the two-party political system is beginning to feel like a Jacob’s Ladder nightmare with no end; we’re entering another turn on the four-year merry-go-round, and the thought of having to try to get excited about yet another minor quadrennial shift in the direction of one or the other pole of alienating corporate full-of-shitness is enough to make anyone want to smash his own hand flat with a hammer.”
Pretty much sums it up. Right now, life in America for 99% of the population is about surviving and coping. Things won’t get better overnight and I don’t think the Occupy Movement will accomplish much in the long run. For right now though, I agree with Taibbi in the idea that we shouldn’t try to over analyze the protests or project what will happen or stereotype all involved as dirty laid-off hippies.
A lot of people are frustrated and fed up. They have chosen to exercise their right to free speech and for once, others are paying attention. So while part of me can appreciate the optimistic idealism of the protestors standing up to The Man, the other part of me knows that The Man doesn’t give a shit and will keep running our country the exact same corrupt, capitalistic, and catastrophic way its always been.