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Archive for February 2009

Here Comes The Sun

Filed Under: Zero Tolerance

sunshineOn any given Sunday (not to be confused with the overly dramatic football movie) I find myself lounging on the loveseat, talking absently to Godzilla and watching all manner of awful television. During the cold winter months, when snow or even the mere threat of it was enough to keep everyone indoors, this sort of sloth seemed at peace with the greater population’s proclivity for, you know, DOING things on the weekend. I could claim exhaustion, or illness, but most rewardingly I could just say - to my friends and indeed to myself - “Fuck that, it’s just too fucking cold.” In other words, winter is one big scapegoat for homebody potheads.

Yet these days, as the temperatures inch up and there’s not a cloud in sight I find myself anxious about the climate’s good fortune. For how long can I justify sitting in flannel pants and a clashing sweatshirt, munching on leftovers and lowering my cinematic standards with every new Lifetime movie? The answer appears to be - approximately one hour, after which the sounds of wildlife outside (my rambunctious neighbors included) begins acting as a 50-degree guilt trip over my inability to get out and appreciate the much-anticipated change in seasons.

I don’t even have any particularly riveting activity ideas, or wads of cash with which to spend a day on the town, but spring has the power to make even my refusal to  just go for a walk — among the overflowing trash bags and halfhearted stoop parties of Bed-Stuy — feel like an affront to Mother Nature. I get it, bird chirping right outside my window, it’s not quite winter anymore. The onus is on me to get up and out and enjoy these beautiful days before summer sneaks in and makes it okay to lounge around at home again, sipping ice-cold beers and saying things like “Nah I can’t go out. It’s just too fucking hot.”

 
kira

11:46 AM on February 28th, 2009 | 

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Thank You, New York Times

Filed Under: Science and Medicine

elephantsSo much about this makes me laugh.

 
kira

2:07 PM on February 27th, 2009 | 

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The Face In The Sidewalk

Filed Under: Photography

Do you see him? If you squint a bit it even looks like he’s puffing on whatever it was that got me seeing faces growing out of the fucking street in the first place.

The Face In The Sidewalk - Photography by Aaron Hatch

The Face In The Sidewalk - Photography by Aaron Hatch

Who knows, it’s probably just Jesus or whatever.

 
aaron

11:30 AM on February 27th, 2009 | 

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Sunny and Partly Cloudy

Filed Under: Art, London

Two days ago, artist and apparent soap fetishist Stuart Semple released 2,057 smiley-faced clouds into the miserable gray wash the British call “sky.” The clouds, made up of helium, biodegradable soap, and vegetable dye, floated past the Tate Modern and Southbank before dissolving into the air after 30 short-lived minutes. Frankly, I’m not sure if seeing a few of these hovering next to my face on the way to work would come across as anything other than smug. Like, “Hah hah, I’m a cloud, I never have to work! See things in me!”

The project, intended to inject a little cheer into the dreary London skyline, was certainly unique. However, the artist probably could have made people even happier if he just threw all the money these blissfully ignorant clouds cost into the air instead. Not as cute, maybe, but after using that free money to buy a few beers, everything else starts looking cuter anyway.

And while they may have elicited a few unsuspecting chuckles at the time, now just imagine if all of those little happy clouds had anthrax or nerve gas mixed into their sudsy solution. The clouds and even great Allah himself might be smiling now, but they’re the only ones!

So yeah, the clouds were a real gas. But only in time will we see which definition of the word really best applies. Smile, we live in such a wonderful world!

 
aaron

2:30 PM on February 26th, 2009 | 

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Tyler Perry Gets Smart

Filed Under: Movies

madea

Point it at yourself. Please.

Finally, Tyler Perry is doing something right. 

According to the Associated Press, the director-writer-producer-actor-annoying motherfucker is mulling the potential death of Madea, the foul-mouthed grandmother character that Perry basically stole from The Nutty Professor and then made a billion annoying movies about. 

Although Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail topped the U.S. box office last weekend, exploiting countless idiots to make some $41 million in its first three days, Perry said he would “love to see Madea die a slow death in the next film.” 

Considering that no one’s movies are raking in the dough these days, and Jail is in line to top Perry’s first hit, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, it’s financially unlikely that the ridiculous character will actually kick the bucket. But the 39-year-old is apparently tired of becoming 187-year-old momma Madea, a process that probably involves at least seven hours of makeup. The only reason Madea’s still around: fans keep coming back. 

So if you hadn’t already dear readers, please boycott Madea. Because Tyler Perry’s Madea Fucking Finally Dies is a movie I would pay to see.

 
kira

9:42 AM on February 26th, 2009 | 

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Amazon.com Not An Equal Opportunity Rapist

Filed Under: Pop Culture

Feeling frustrated by your inability to violently rape somebody without necessarily becoming a complete fucking sociopath who deserves to get dragged behind a car for hundreds of miles of road paved with shit and human teeth? Fortunately, that zany Japanese culture with all its beautiful idiosyncrasies, like Hello Kitty contact lenses and motorized blow job machines, has done it yet again with a computer game that allows players to gang bang women and then force them to get an abortion. Apparently it’s hilarious.

Frankly, I have no idea how this only got one star.

Frankly, I have no idea how this only got one star.

Unfortunately, the game, creatively titled RapeLay, has been pulled from Amazon Marketplace after being deemed inappropriate by some puritan no doubt. And once again it is available only to those lucky Japanese creepsters who actually think this sounds like a fun way to spend an afternoon. Too bad too, I was really looking forward to its production company’s other tantalizing diversion, “Battle Raper.” Wonder what the premise of that one is.

A spokesperson for the company offered this ironclad defense of the product, saying “We believe there is no problem with the software, which has cleared the domestic ratings of an ethics watchdog body.” The only real response to this I can muster is a near constant shaking of my head, indeed, shaking like a Tamagotchi.

More importantly, where the fuck did you find this so-called ethics watchdog body? The darkest bowels of Hell? Regardless of whether or not the game should be sold, at the very least, believing that simulating rape is in fact ethical has got to be proof of long term radiation poisoning on the entire island of Japan. So there you have it, RapeLay is but one more solid argument for total nuclear disarmament. Seems some good has come out of it after all.

All you disappointed shoppers who had this one mysteriously left over on your Amazon wish list after this Christmas will sadly have to make the trek to Godzilla’s home town, where the evil, flashing neon, school-girl-obsessed volcano that originally spawned the game is located. And why not — I’m pretty sure actually raping somebody is legal there too.

 
aaron

2:54 PM on February 25th, 2009 | 

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Staying In Love Is Too Tricky

Filed Under: Politics

obamaDespite a head cold that’s made it near-impossible for me to enjoy my favorite herbal refreshment, I managed to tune in - soberly - for President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation yesterday evening. 

The spiel, which included any number of morale boosters and both long- and short-term promises, instilled in me that same national pride afforded by any of the president’s statements. That said, I find myself a little speech-weary these days. Show me an inspiratial Obama speech and I’ll show you a country that’s still totally fucked. 

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t lost faith. Rather I’m simply concerned, like any American who’s started to see the effects of the recession. And for the first time since he became a public figure, Obama was just a little less adept at hiding his own concern. 

After months of touting a progressive effort to look forward instead of back, the president was throwin’ bows last night, sniping about the deficit he inherited, the war his predecessor mismanaged, and the economy decades of past presidents, executives and regulators let grow exponentially on the back of fabricated money. He also outlined, rather frankly, some of the most impressive failings in America today: if you drop out of high school, you’re a loser. If you bought or are buying a home ludicrously out of your price range, you are a loser. And if you decide to redecorate your office in the midst of a recession your very company helped create (I’m looking at you John Thain), you too are a loser. 

Luckily for Obama, and in a “kicked while they’re down” scenario for Republicans everywhere, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s GOP response was nothing if not awkward, ill-prepared and 75% off topic. The speech, which Gawker phenomenally pegged as a real-life incarnation of 30 Rock’s hillbilly/aid Kenneth - included gems like “as a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my dad,” and some weird metaphor involving volcanoes. Moreover, although Jindal can hardly be blamed for Hurricane Katrina, he made a mistake in alluding to Louisiana as a model for fiscal and governmental success: New Orleans is basically Sodom and Gomorrah these days. By the end of Jindal’s clip, I was ready to spend another $740 bajillion just to get him off screen. 

Barack Obama has always wanted to, and promised to, make us a country full of winners. We should be at the forefront of new industries and technology, without sacrificing national integrity in the interest of a bottom line. But last night was the first time I got a whiff of impatience from the poised president: before we can be a nation of winners, we have to undo the mistakes of quite a few losers.

 
kira

9:19 AM on February 25th, 2009 | 

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Colicchio Goes On A Diet

Filed Under: Food and Drink

colicchioAfter watching chef Tom Colicchio on countless seasons of Bravo stalwart Top Chef (and by countless I mean five), I’ve grown to respect and perhaps even like the bald-headed foodie icon, whose presence on reality television softens the fact that his Craft restaurant empire is way out of my price range. 

So it was a little disappointing to discover during the 81st annual Academy Awards Sunday that Colicchio has joined the ranks of celebrities hocking something inane just to make a quick buck. 

Indeed, despite Top Chef’s ludicrous pandering to sponsors Glad and Kenware, I was surprised to see Colicchio himself starring in a Diet Coke commercial. Joining the ranks of former Diet Coke spokespeople Adrian Brody and Kim Basinger, the renowned chef has hardly sunk to the bottom (where there’s currently a tie between Tony Hawk’s Bagel Bites and everyone who’s ever endorsed Right Guard Xtreme Powerstripe), but considering chemically-sweetened diet soda is a far cry from gourmet dining, it’s a rather odd pick for Colicchio. Sort of like Rachel Ray’s endorsement of Dunkin Donuts, except Colicchio wasn’t wearing a scarf that small-minded morons might confuse with traditional Arab garb. Smart thinking, Tom. 

I guess with this whole recession thing putting a damper on fine dining, even a culinary scion has to sell out every once in awhile. 

[Fun Fact: Past Diet Coke slogans have included three reprisals of "Just for the taste of it!," as well as "You are what you drink" and -- oddly -- 2006's "Light it up!"]

 
kira

3:32 PM on February 24th, 2009 | 

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NSFW

Filed Under: Art

Normally I don’t subscribe to college humor-esque YouTube videos, but explaining the FUPA to countless people over the years (real actual adults excluded, since I can’t bring myself to say “pussy” without giggling), I have to respect that the term has gained enough prominence to merit multiple faux music videos. Here’s a juicy selection:

And here’s a camel toe for good measure.

 
kira

9:29 AM on February 24th, 2009 | 

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The Old And The Restless

Filed Under: Politics, Pop Culture

depressingoldlady

Mary "my face makes you want to die in a freak accident at 37" Appleby

If there’s anything more depressing than watching your own 401(k) deteriorate, it’s knowing that hundreds, if not thousands, of frail old people are being forced back into the job market by dire financial straits. 

Indeed, the Wall Street Journal’s Monday morning depress-a-thon — bank nationalization, bankruptcies, abandoned railroad boxcars — was complemented by a story on an emerging class of workers: people over the age of 65, or in more depressing scenarios (save geriatric anomalies like Hugh Hefner and John McCain) people 75 and above. 

According to the Journal, the percentage of people 65 and older who are in the work force rose to 16.8% at the year’s end, from 11.9% a decade earlier. Among people 75 and older, the increase was even greater — to 7.3% from 4.7%. Though improved medicine and longer life expectancies can be credited for some of the gain, it’s unlikely that such a massive swath of elderly folks managed to improve their arthritis in the course of a year. Rather, people like 76-year-old Mary Appleby are looking for minimum-wage work to supplement disintegrating or limited retirement funds.

So what does this mean for the rest of us? Well, the last time I saw my 82-year-old grandfather he was pantsless and learning how to use a DVD player in the 90-degree sauna that is his apartment, so I suspect he’s in no hurry to get back to the working world. But even the thought of sending old Duddy, who spends his days on jigsaw puzzles and John Wayne movies, into the tedious and fast-paced world of retail, or worse, food service, breaks my heart more than a little. 

This, without a doubt, was the Journal’s intention. After all, their photo of Appleby is enough to make me want to open an assisted living facility in my apartment. Continence necessary. Must like cats.

At least this generation of elderly can in part count on the Social Security that will have long since dried up by the time I’m wearing Depends and matching tracksuits. I personally plan to work at Barnes & Noble (which, in my experience, appears to only hire people 65 and over) until they find me keeled over in the Fiction & Literature section, clutching a large-print copy of the latest bestseller.

 
kira

2:58 PM on February 23rd, 2009 | 

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I’d Like To Thank The Academy

Filed Under: Movies

oscarsIn an unexpected attempt to keep up with the water cooler gossip this morning (after all, even Aaron watched the Super Bowl) I took it upon myself yesterday to sit down for all 23 hours of the Academy Awards, marking the first time in probably five years that I’ve seen the overly dramatic ceremony firsthand. 

It’s not that I don’t care about the Oscars, or the self-indulgent gathering of hundreds of A-list celebrities — if anything the potential for reality-television levels of awkwardness should make the awards show a must-see for me. Rather, despite my attempts to forestall the inevitable whimsy that comes with being a child of Generation 2.0 or whatever we’re called, my attention span is not so much that hour upon hour of mind-numbing acceptance speeches and overpriced lighting effects can keep me interested. I usually tune out after the first 20 minutes. 

So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself entertained, if not quite riveted, by the proceedings last night. Hugh Jackman made a valiant effort to fill the “hosting because I probably won’t ever be nominated” role that’s seen its fair share of suffering since being vacated by Billy Crystal. The gowns were gorgeous, Brad Pitt was beautiful and Meryl Streep seemed to have eaten a monstrous piece of humble pie. Even the awarding of technical and musical awards went off without a hitch - since beloved TiVo allowed me to fast forward right through them. Read More ›

 
kira

9:20 AM on February 23rd, 2009 | 

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He Sees You When You’re Googling

Filed Under: The Future Freaks Me Out

While everybody was busy praying every night for Rihanna to dump Chris Brown or preparing a cache of molotov cocktails for the savage riot ensuing a hypothetical Heath Ledger loss at the Oscars, something much darker was creeping around the halls of Congress… but I guess what else is new.

Just your average invasion of privacyOn Thursday, a number of Republican politicians (”conservatives” up to something sinister and morally questionable? What?) proposed the next rung on the short ladder to Big Brother’s tree fort — a heavy handed federal law that would require all Internet providers and even millions of Wi-Fi access points including hotels, restaurants, libraries (hope you don’t have to do a report on nuclear weapons any time soon), and coffee shops to keep records about all their users’ activity for two years to “aid police investigations” and “better invade the privacy of everyone in the entire fucking country.”

To be clear, this is basically Wire Tapping: The Internet Edition.

Texas Senator John Cornyn defended the bill, saying “Keeping our children safe requires cooperation on the local, state, federal, and family level.” But I’m like, it’s not Little Susie’s fault if she’s attracted to older, predatory men.

And I mean, yeah, the only real reason I’m upset is because I don’t want the government knowing about my Hannah Montana fake nudes collection, but this sounds like the kind of thing I should be outraged about anyway.

Sigh. Just another reason to live off the grid. Anyway, I gotta go find my credit card, I’m getting one of those sweet Blackberries that make you look rich and important today.

 
aaron

2:22 PM on February 22nd, 2009 | 

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