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Archive for March 2009

Ante Up Every Way

Filed Under: Music Reviews

Looking for a new album to drive recklessly to just as the weather’s starting to get nice enough to roll the windows down? LA rapper, producer, and self-obsessed tough guy of all trades, Adrian Champion just released a White Stripes mashup album full of time-tested hip hop acapellas on top of scorching, raw guitar riffs and percussive piano-driven beats. Put simply, it’s the sonic manifestation of the term “badass.”

I’ve fallen a bit out of touch with the mashup scene in recent months; admittedly, the supersaturation of worn-out formulas was starting to get to even me and my bottomless collection of regrettable Flo Rida remixes. Nonetheless, I remain both vigilant and open-minded in my search for fresh ideas in the genre of bastardizing classic songs until they resemble more closely the musical equivalent of chicken pot pie. And let me make this certain: I’ve had a lot of chicken pot pie in my time, but I assure you, I still love me a chicken mother fucking pot pie. So check out the trailer below, it should get you salivating enough to start reaching across the table for the download link.

The White Stripes made a name for themselves with their bare bones, classic sound, and Champion maintains this theme with his selection of vocal samples from various rap legends. The gritty production quality of the instrumentation forms an unlikely but perfectly complementary backdrop to the mid-to-late 90s gangland mainstream hip hop that inhabits most of the album.

The potential to draw comparisons between the last decade’s notable ghetto warfare and rapper-brawling, and the old, lawless days of grizzled cowboys shooting each other dead in the dusty streets across the Wild West has always been there, but this masterfully produced mix has brought the parallels to the forefront like nothing before. And the result is a head-bobbing, genre-defying sonic assault that carves out new territory while still remaining reverent and faithful to the samples that made it all possible.

Champion might occasionally come across a bit like the obnoxious dude at the high school lunch table who won’t stop talking about how big his dick is with all his DJ call-outs spattering the album, claiming it as a “brand new classic.” Nonetheless, his arrogance may be undesirable but it’s not exactly undeserved — this mixtape does for The White Stripes what Danger Mouse did for The Beatles way back on The Grey Album, the album that just may have set off the entire mashup craze in the first place. It’s an illuminating 48 minutes — presented flawlessly, fun to listen to without turning into generic overdone dance trash, and best of all, more than the sum of its parts.

 
aaron

2:45 PM on March 31st, 2009 | 

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I Need a Hobby

Filed Under: TV Reviews

wonderdogSo last night, in a fit of boredom, I decided to see what my cable provider offers me by way of free On Demand content. Perusing the channels available to me, and with so limited an attention span that I didn’t make it past the “A”s, I stumbled upon Animal Planet On Demand - where I found, and spent the next hour laughing at, Animal Planet rags-to-riches show Underdog to Wonderdog

The premise of the show: a ragtag group of semi-authority figures/animal enthusiasts/psychos Animal Planet picked up hovering around the adoption cages at Petsmart pool their intellectual resources to rehabilitate a stray dog in preparation for its new life with an adopted family.

There’s: 
Andrea - Trainer
Ali - Groomer
David - Canine Carpenter
Ryan - Team Leader

First of all, what? If I were Andrea in this scenario, I’d be like “What the fuck? Why do these other douches even get credit? Team Leader!? What does that even mean?!” Having to train a wild dog is just a bit more complicated than building him a doggy house, or supervising someone else building him a doggy house. How does one get to be a “canine carpenter” anyway? Is it special, like getting a veterinary license? Are there certificates involved?

So the show starts with our heroes gathering together in a local coffee shop, which is already weird since why wouldn’t you just meet wherever the dog in need is? In any case, Ryan thanks everyone for coming, which suggests his role might simply be top of the phone tree. (When you’ve got a doggy carpenter on staff, it’s conceivable that phone tree originator would be considered a leadership role). Read More ›

 
kira

10:23 AM on March 31st, 2009 | 

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Bad Artist Copy, Good Artist Steal

Filed Under: Art

Feeling a little uninspired today? Suffering from a bit of post-weekend malaise? The best advice I can give to you, the creatively barren, is to steal from those who are somehow immune to cases of the Mondays, free of this weekly torture either through an irritatingly positive outlook on life, happy employment at one of those fairytale jobs we were lied to about in high school, or a mild to moderate cocaine habit.

Robin Hood is considered a hero, as he went on to inspire President Barack Obama’s policies — but more than that, because he believed in fairness. Those with good ideas will surely have more, and surely they can spare a few to those of us adrift on a blank Photoshop canvas. Because after all, if you don’t have enough gum to share with everyone in the class, then you might as well not chew it at all.

Quote by Jim Jarmusch

This appropriate illustration featuring a fairly incredible quote by independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch was tipped off to me by my friend and fellow designer Brandon. Now go recycle something, it’s good for the environment.

 
aaron

2:31 PM on March 30th, 2009 | 

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My Civic Doody

Filed Under: New York

gavelIt was bound to happen. After watching probably 1,054 episodes of Law and Order over the last five years of my life, and that’s a conservative estimate, it was karmically inevitable that I would - within two years of actual New York City residency - be chosen for jury duty. 

All things considered, I have moved through the stages of grief with admirable aplomb. Denial — “The envelope went to my old address; I wonder if I can just pretend I never got it” — lasted only five minutes, before anger took over: “Fuck the justice system. Fuck it. I don’t want to judge the innocence or guilt of other people. I mean, not professionally. What I do in my spare time, on the subway, without any prompting and based entirely on first impressions, is my own business.” I then bypassed bargaining in favor of depression, and then - after considering how many Law and Order episodes I HAVE watched, and how really I never found Judge Judy/Mathis/Joe Brown/etc. all that boring, I thought, “Hm, maybe I’ll enjoy this.”

A quick Google search revealed that I’ve been summoned to civil court, which means (1) chances of a high-profile and absorbing case are minimal (fingers crossed for Brooke Astor’s son) and (2) all knowledge of the justice system that I’ve gleaned from multiple episodes of SVU is likely irrelevant. On the upshot, it seems unlikely I’d be stuck with the kind of case that drags on for weeks/months, good news for my employer.

So no, I don’t plan to dress in a costume, or spout disingenuous claims about racial bias and white power. Nor do I anticipate a 12 Angry Men scenario, where I’m stuck in a room with 11 moronic strangers for hours upon hours deciding the innocence or guilt of some hapless Brooklynite. I plan to be in, and out. 

Unless there’s free pizza.

 
kira

10:01 AM on March 30th, 2009 | 

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Lazy Sunday

Filed Under: Movies

Movies I suggest for possible abolishment from TV syndication, as every time they’re on - EVERY TIME - regardless of how many times I’ve already seen any of these particular movies, I end up watching them. To the end. It’s like some sort of chemical imbalance and, frankly, I could really use all those hours back.

1. Forrest Gump

2. Miss Congeniality

3. How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days

4. Jurassic Park (and I own the DVD!)

5. Love Actually

6. Live Free or Die Hard

7. Bad Boys I or II

8. Twister

9. Zoolander

10. Tommy Boy/Black Sheep

 
kira

8:30 PM on March 29th, 2009 | 

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ShamOw!

Filed Under: Zero Tolerance

Here’s hoping the ShamWow is as good at absorbing blood as it is with household spills.

The face of ShamWow, and of a night well spent

The face of ShamWow, and of a night well spent

Vince Shlomi, that all-too chipper and potential meth-addicted hawker of the magical dishrag, is going to be needing a few of his voodoo-infused towels to dab up the remains of his tongue — considering a hooker bit it and refused to let go during a late night rendezvous last month that ended with an exchange of punches and the two bickering lovebirds in the clink.

And thanks to The Smoking Gun, we can all relive Shlomi’s ill-fated experimentation with solicited sex, not that I think anybody particularly wants to. Personally, his sordid tale is just more proof of why paying for sex should never have to become an option for anyone — but then again, when your only attractive asset is that you have a ludicrously huge and unnecessary collection of ShamWow towels back at your apartment to help clean up afterwards, perhaps paying for sex becomes the only option.

The police report describes that Shlomi met the hungry prostitute at a Miami Beach nightclub, that she, surprisingly, turned out to actually be a woman, and the two then went back to his hotel room where he paid her a thousand dollars for the worst sex of his life. When he kissed her, she reportedly bit his tongue and refused to let go until he repeatedly punched her in the face. No doubt a little turned off by the encounter, he ran down to the lobby to tattle on Ms. Lecter upstairs, incriminating his own regrettably stupid self in the process, and they both got arrested.

So now Shlomi’s in the SlamWow, and he’s biting down on a ShamWow, as he’s about to get a SlamWow from his cellmate. And somewhere far away, Billy Mays is clutching a bottle of OxiClean and smiling. Hell, Billy Mays probably hired the hooker first and this is how he gets off, that weird, scream-talking, koala-looking fuck.

Meanwhile, I’m having some trouble envisioning how you would go about punching somebody in the face while they’re simultaneously clamped down on your tongue. Of course, and more importantly, I’m also having some trouble envisioning why anybody would even consider kissing a prostitute in the first place. Sorry Vince, but I think you’ve been misled by your own infomercial — all the ShamWows in the world couldn’t get that taste out of your mouth.

 
aaron

5:47 PM on March 28th, 2009 | 

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Freedom Isn’t Free, It Costs A Hefty Fuckin’ Fee

Filed Under: New York

The tower formerly known as the Freedom Tower

The tower formerly known as the Freedom Tower

In an uncharacteristic fit of logical decision-making, the Port Authority said this week that it’s scrapping plans to name Lower Manhattan’s glass monstrosity the Freedom Tower, opting instead for the far more palatable 1 World Trade Center. The decision has sparked no small amount of controversy — as 9/11 victims’ advocates and family members say the name change is disrespectful to the people who died that day. To which the Port Authority indirectly responds: “But we’ll make more money this way?”

And it’s true! Since America is pretty much broke, 1WTC’s first commercial tenant is actually a Chinese firm, for whom “freedom” is probably akin to naming the place “Free Tibet Tower.” Although the Port Authority has reportedly been leaning away from the somewhat anachronistic Freedom Tower for nearly a year, signing an actual deal for an actual influx of actual dollars probably helped them make the final decision.

Besides, it’s not like they changed the name to “Tower of Death” or “Wow, This Place is Cursed.” 1 World Trade is a testament to the fact that we — America, New York City, patriots — are prepared to restore Lower Manhattan to what it once was. By contrast, the Freedom Tower, particularly as it ushered in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Freedom Fries and that repetitive Aretha Franklin song, was little more than a passive-aggressive PR gimmick.

Besides, no matter what we name it, 1WTC will now and always be a phallic representation of our national insecurity. Yay!

 
kira

2:19 PM on March 27th, 2009 | 

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Go For Broke(n)

Filed Under: Post-Its

Skateboarding is like being in an abusive relationship

 
aaron

12:35 PM on March 26th, 2009 | 

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My First 60 Days in Office!

Filed Under: Politics

Offical Portrait of President ObamaIn the interest of national security, President Obama isn’t allowed to have a Respect Authority account and therefore will post infrequent updates from his friends’ accounts.

From the snowy peaks of the Catskill Mountains to the temperate zone of Orange County, we have crisscrossed this great nation for about two months, charged with the people’s work of hope and change.

To be honest, Air Force One is great and all but the workload, stress levels and tension headaches are getting pretty annoying pretty fast. Sixty days ago, I thought I had this. I said to myself, “Barack, you’re a young, smart guy with a slightly larger than average penis — you got this.” But now I’m not so sure.

For example, last week I was on the Tonight Show. Sure, the venue was a bit unusual if not unbecoming of the office, but I was just trying to keep things light, especially appealing in the face of, oh well I dunno, something like a depression. And so there I am, with Jay, and I accidentally make a retard joke. Fuck my life. Read More ›

 
lou

9:14 AM on March 25th, 2009 | 

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Busting Christ Airs Until We Get To Heaven

Filed Under: Music, Skateboarding

Back in 2007, a little skateboarding movie called Fully Flared came out and went pretty much unnoticed, having almost no real impact at all save for influencing a truly fantastic and original Snickers commercial. You may have heard of it if you’re part of the all boys cool kids club that is the greater communal skateboarding consciousness. If not, you were probably, you know, off actually doing something with your life.

Now director Ty Evans has joined forces with long-time collaborator Spike Jonze to produce U.N.K.L.E.’s new video for the song “Heaven.” And what do you know, it has skateboarding in it! In fact, the video consists of a reedit of Fully Flared’s noteworthy intro sequence, which to date, has recklessly convinced countless teenagers that getting blown up by powerful explosives is a good way to die. Which I guess is kind of true, it has to beat being raped to death by a bear anyway.

Additionally, the song was even originally featured in Fully Flared’s credits, so this video really has Lakai ectoplasm spewed all over it like Ty Evans and Spike Jonze just crossed the streams. It’s just too bad the song makes me sleepier than a minion of Gozer whacked up with about 300 cc’s of Thorazine.

 
aaron

5:33 PM on March 24th, 2009 | 

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Is Paul Krugman a Negative Nelly?

Filed Under: Movies, Politics

Yes, he is.

While, I’ve long lost interest in America’s Death Spiral (I’m busy plotting the comeback!) Krugman’s latest blooooog entry annoyed me enough to care again.

The Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It’s exactly the plan that was widely analyzed — and found wanting — a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won.

Zombie ideas? Really? You’re a fucking Noble laureate Paul Krugman. Aren’t you beyond awkward fitting analogies? Aren’t we, as a people, beyond alarmist propaganda? You have no idea how to fix the economy, no one does, and your pseudo-intellectual doom-saying doesn’t address the problem at hand.

Maybe Geither’s plan to save the world is like pumping gallons of seawater into my California roll (oh my, that’s fun) but I believe in happy endings. In my worldview, when the handsome lead desperately pumps the chest of a decidedly drowned love interest — just when it seems certain they’re dead — the beautiful maiden finally coughs up water and is ready to make out. America’s waiting for her Zac Efron, Paul Krugman… get on board.

Zac Efron

[The Conscience of a Liberal - NYTimes.com]

 
lou

9:01 AM on March 24th, 2009 | 

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Great Depression II: The Silver Lining

Filed Under: Politics, Pop Culture

If you’re anything like me, you spent the past weekend wallowing on the couch amid forlorn take-out wrappers and empty beer bottles, wondering how you managed to pass that whole ‘college’ thing with flying colors and still get fucked out of job security.

So with that level of unabashed optimism in mind, let’s take a look at some of the shit that didn’t hit the fan over the last six months. Hell, shit that maybe even rearranged itself on the ground in a way that one might consider borderline appealing: a little bean-bag of shit into which we can nestle ourselves and pray that everything gets better, soon. 

1. Quiznos and Subway, long foes in the world of toasted and non-toasted lunch fare, upped the ante on their price battle in the last few months. The result: Quizno’s, long the better-tasting option—and with a distinctly less depressing in-store environment—now offers $4 foot-long subs. 

2. Teenagers everywhere are preparing to lazily indulge in a summer of video games and Kool-Aid, since their parents have long since stopped expecting them to get out and find “one of those so-called ‘job’ thingies.”

3. The mainstream media, ever the pre-recession purveyor of breaking news like “Britney Spears: Still Crazy!” is finally reporting on things that matter – like economics, politics, war and Chris Brown. 

4. With pretty much the entire country desperate for a new source of income, people (read: politicians) have started looking a tad more favorably on one-time nemesis of morality: marijuana. We may soon be forking over tax dollars for the right to smoke up (conveniently and legally), but at least we’ll be forking them over at CVS.

5. Starbucks has revealed the first chinks in its armor, belying that perhaps it is not the global superpower we had always assumed. McDonalds, on the other hand, definitely is.

6. The recession is environmentally friendly: getting your electricity turned off is kind of like unintentionally going green.

7. People are finally enraged over the proliferation of mothers with more than five children, specifically those who subsist on the hard-earned tax dollars of those of us not choosing to get knocked up every six minutes.

8. Staying home and drinking alone is now frugal, instead of pathetic.

9. More strippers.

10. [Given tight resources, all RA Top Ten Lists have been reduced to nine items. Ignoring that this is our first and only top-ten list to date, simply assume the repercussions will be both widespread and difficult to bear.]

 
kira

3:50 PM on March 23rd, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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