Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Favorite Stand-Up Comedians

My friend Mike asked me for some stand-up comedy recommendations. So I decided to post my current favorites here & 1 album recommendation for each to get you started with:

Patton Oswalt – Werewolves & Lollipops
Eddie Izzard – Dress to Kill
Mitch Hedberg - Mitch All Together
Jim Gaffigan - Beyond the Pale
Daniel Tosh – True Stories I Made Up
David Cross - Shut Up You F*cking Baby
George Carlin - Back in Town
Nick Swardson - Party
Ricky Gervias – Fame

Bonus Recomendation: Comedy Death-Ray Compilation

Update: I forgot to mention:
Bill Maher - Be More Cynical
Robin Williams - Live on Broadway

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Election Day: Choosing the Least Painful Option

I was one of about 60 people in Dykstra/De Neve that went to the polls today. After a couple weeks of reading about the measures, some soul searching, and using what I've learned in my current class on California ballot propositions, I headed to the polls. I held my nose as I tried to choose between some pretty ugly choices (this includes the local candidates as well as propositions).

Today there was no feeling of as excitment like when I cast my vote for Obama in November. But I gritted my teeth and made my choices. And it looks like the only one that might pass is the one that is purely symbolic and doesn't really matter: 1F (elected official salaries). I am interested (and scared) to see where we are going to find the money to plug the deficit. Welcome to reality: you can't demand that we spend money on everything you want but refuse to raise taxes to pay for it.

From the LA Times:
"The public's contradictory impulses were laid bare by a recent Field Poll. It found that voters oppose cutbacks in 10 of 12 major categories of state spending, including the biggest, education and healthcare. Yet most voters were unwilling to have their own taxes increased, and they overwhelmingly favored keeping the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Personal Day

One thing I am going to miss about college is the ability to decide to sleep in or skip a class if you don't feel like going. Today was one of those days for me. I didn't feel like going to a class and instead went to Westwood to get a haircut and read at Damon and Pythias.

I really needed a day like today to just enjoy half a sandwich, some onion rings and a very tall $2 Red Hook beer while alternating between reading my new issue of The Economist and a book about the Legislative Branch for a class all the while listening to some Silversun Pickups and Fleet Foxes.

I may be excited about the prospect of working (contingent on me finding a job, and a job that actually interest me), but I will miss days like today.

Recommendation: Rent the movie Adaptation. I love Charlie Kaufman's work (he also wrote the wonderful Synecdoche, New York and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). I usually don't like cheesy quotes about love and stuff, but one line that stuck out to me that wasn't cheesy in context when re-watching Adaptation was:

Donald Kaufman: I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn't have the right to take it away. I can love whoever I want.
Charlie Kaufman: But she thought you were pathetic.
Donald Kaufman: That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Titus Andronicus

For the past week, I've really only listened to two albums on repeat. They are the new Manchester Orchestra album, Mean Everything to Nothing, and the self-titled album by Titus Andronicus.

While I was trying to figure out why I couldn't stop listening to both bands, I started to realize the similarities. Both singers are my age, but feel worn out by the world. While taking different approaches, both TA and MO discuss crises of faith, existentialism, and finding their places in the world. Also, both bands put on amazing live shows and sound best cranked up very loud.

Here are some lyrics by Titus Andronicus that have provoked some thought:

My Time Outside the Womb

"The first thing you see is the light.
Then, you focus on a man in a mask with a knife
as he cuts you away from everything you thought you knew about life.

And now you’re in your mother’s arms, wrinkled and wet.
You’re gonna spend the rest of your life trying to hard to forget
that you met the world naked and screaming, and that’s how you’ll leave it"

No Future

“If you’re weary, I don’t mind sharing the load,
just keep me some company on the road.
All I’ve got is a bottle that I ought to leave alone,
but it’s the only thing that I can call my own.

So I’m saying goodbye, and no, I won’t forget to write.
It’s just been too long racing towards a yellow light,
and I know that I say this every night,
but I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired of life”

“Because I’ve been waiting all year for the temperature to drop,
but now I’ve got a fever and I don’t know how to make it stop."

Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ

"Now the way we hold each other so tight
would look more like a noose if held up to the light
because we betray each other in dreams every night."

Albert Camus

“But underneath it all, there is an apathetic heart of gold"

“Because the more we think, the less it all makes sense,
tonight we will drink to our general indifference.

Upon Viewing Brueghel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

"I was born into self-actualization,
I knew exactly who I was,
but I never got my chance to be young."

Titus Andronicus

"Throw my guitar down on the floor.
No one cares what I’ve got to say anymore.
I didn’t come here to be damned with faint praise.
I’ll write my masterpiece some other day.

Fuck everything, fuck me.

I’m repeating myself again.
Innovation, I leave to smarter men.
Pretty melodies don’t fall out of the air for me;
I’ve got to steal them from somewhere."

Joel Stein's Take on the Time 100

I'm kind of a nerd and a fan of lists, but even if you don't like random lists, you should really check out Joel Stein Ranking the TIME 100. See why he thinks some people on the list were important and others were not. Some highlights:

7. Zac Efron: I interviewed you over coffee and though you didn't say anything that changed my life, I do go to that coffee place now when I'm in the Valley. Aroma has a killer chocolate chip bread pudding!

11. Jay Leno: I was at your show in the dressing room with Ron Paul when another guest, Tom Cruise, came in to thank Paul for some piece of legislation about psychology or something. Cruise left and Paul asked who that guy was. Awesome.

15. Paul Kagame: Ending Rwandan genocide, even for a little while, means I get to stop listening to celebrities talk about Rwandan genocide, even if just for a little while.

17. Nicolas Sarkozy: When Jacques Chirac was President of France, I don't remember seeing one photo of his wife. Now I get my fill of hot French lady photos every week. Merci beaucoup!

27. Sarah Palin: Holy crap that was funny.

29. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger: You made me pay attention to the part about "in case of a water landing." I always ignore that part, figuring we had no chance.

34. Ted Turner: He created CNN Headline News, which paid me to talk during the inauguration. Guess who watches CNN Headline News instead of CNN during the inauguration? Because I can't

35. The View Ladies: You give wings to the misogyny buried inside of me.

49. Carlos Slim: When the world's third richest person is Mexican, you feel bad about yourself as a Jew.

52. Bernie Madoff: Not good for us Jews

55. Tom Dart: As sheriff in some part of Illinois, he's shutting down prostitution on Craigslist. I've never used Craigslist, but as I get older, I like to know it's there. Just in case.

79. Dan & Sam Houser: I don't play Grand Theft Auto — not because I'm morally opposed, but because it's too confusing for me. It's actually easier to kill a hooker in real life.

84. Norah al-Faiz: Saudi Arabian feminist? You sound as influential as the vegan who works at KFC.

85. Suraya Pakzad: A feminist in Afghanistan? See number 84

92. Doug Melton: You've been on this list twice, and still no one has heard of you. Perhaps this influential list isn't very influential.

90. Manny Pacquiao: Pound for pound the best boxer in the world? That would be awesome if it were 1954. But in 2009, that's right below pound for pound the best Guitar Hero player in the world.

93. Alexander Medvedev: You run Russia. Sure you do.

94. Angela Merkel: Not only don't I live in Germany, but my entire race left there 60 years ago. Do whatever you like, lady, no big deal to me.

98. Robin Chase: Really? Zipcars? You can get on this list for creating something everyone talks about but no one uses? Is the person who invented the dental dam on this list too?

99. Shai Agassi: You work on green transportation. I live in Los Angeles.