My heart keeps beating like a hammer.

So here I am on a Sunday afternoon, just being lazy and feeling increasingly miserable about myself when I discover this amongst all the various crap youtubery of the world:

Wow. Emily Haines talking about the new Metric album. Awesome. Granted, it’s not til next year, but I’m excited about a new Metric album. It’s time. They were honestly my first entry point into that whole incestuous Canadian music collective with the various Broken Social Scenes and Feists and the Stars and all their crazy ass side projects out there. I think I’ve probably come to love Stars more, mind you, but still… you never forget your first love, yeah?

Though I was over them for a long time because… well, same old story: I discovered them years and years ago in, of all things, a commercial. We shared an intense love affair. It was private and quiet. It was hot and it was heavy. I was protective of it and no one knew. Slowly, I let others into my secret sonic joy there, sharing with those I felt were special and had good taste. And then, unfortunately, all the rest of your assholes found out about them and ruined the shit out of it for me.

But, the time is past, and Emily Haines has gotten her solo bug out of her system for a bit, and the band is back. And I could not be more excited. Like I said, their album won’t drop til sometime next year, but honestly… between now and the end of this year, what is the new music we’re supposed to be looking forward to? Chinese Democracy is already here, as is Kanye, but what’s the next big thing that everyone’s equally awaiting? I somehow feel like the new U2 album is not coming out this year since I’m pretty sure I would’ve heard more about it by now.

I mentioned this curiosity to someone the other day and they reminded me that the new Fall Out Boy album is coming out mid-December. They actually mentioned this to me like it was something I should be excited about. WTF? Instead they got a simple, polite “Fuck off!”

Anyways, Metric is touring starting in January, most likely road testing their new material and here’s the new song, “Help, I’m Alive,” that’ll have to hold us over for a bit:

Fall Out Boy. Ugh. Can you believe that shit?

Being thankful is for losers

Sarah Palin kills

The War on Christmas is going swimmingly. Can we start the War on Thanksgiving now? I fucking hate this holiday. I would rather go to the dentist than have to go around the table saying what I’m thankful for Oh, wait, I just did and my teeth fucking hurt, so Benjamin Light’s a little cranky today. Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey dinner is balls, the football games always suck and sometimes you’re forced to interact with unfortunate relatives or that one person who’s a friend of your mom’s who such a loser they don’t have anyone to celebrate the holiday with, so they have to funk up your dinner.

meh.

Also, dear Crazy Obamites: fuck yourselves. It was nice during the general election when you were mostly drowned out by the rest of The Party and we could ignore your naive bullshit, but now that we won, these crazy fucks have decided it’s time to re-fight the primaries. Oh noes! Hillary Clinton as SoS?! It’s a plot! A conspiracy! Hillary is ineligible under the enoulments clause! The DLC Cabal is forcing this on our hero! Obama’s big tent isn’t big enough for the Clinton Circus!

panic

Meanwhile, over in the real world, where Hillary Clinton’s positions are nearly identical with Obama’s, the only concern with making her Secretary of State is in diluting the Senate too much. In other words…

political-pictures-barack-obama-chi

Interlude: dude, I just heard Lieutenant Cedric Daniels doing voice work for a Cadillac ad.

also.

Late contender for Headline of the Year

Late contender for Headline of the Year

Just because…

yahoofrontpage…meh.

Good cop and bad cop have left for the day.

After seven years, The Shield finally came to an end last night, answering the question of whether or not there’d be a happy ending or if one of TV’s ultimate bad guy lead characters would actually pay for his sins.

But even more looming than that question was whether it’d be a satisfying conclusion to the show, especially with the newfound scrutiny delivered by the all around crowd displeasing ending to The Sopranos. So did The Shield wrap itself up nicely?

Put simply: Yes, it did. The ending was both complete and substantial while at the same time leaving everything nicely open ended. And it felt kind of like an emotional pistol whipping.

I’m going to have to assume that you’ve at least heard of The Shield before, but if not, I’m going to give you the shortest recap I can muster: Michael (The Commish!) Chiklis stars as Vic Mackey, super bad cop on the streets of LA, who runs an experimental police strike team of detectives in the fictional district of Farmington out of a former church (called “The Barn,” and thankfully the religious parallels are kept to a minimum, but the idea of sins and confessions works nicely here), based on the real life Rampart police scandal. Vic’s strike team, comprised of mostly dirty cops who don’t play by the rules (they have no problem beating people up for information or planting drugs to make arrests, or worse), have their own idea of justice and will get it any way they see fit.

But Vic isn’t just a bad cop, he’s a monster. He’s Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo. He’s spent the entire series scheming for a higher place in the world for his family and he (at one point they organized a major robbery from the Armenian mob that had violent, lasting reprecussions throughout the rest of the series) and will take down anyone who gets in his way or could possibly expose him. To prove this, at the end of the first episode, Vic shot a fellow cop and member of his strike team (placed there to get dirt on him) in the face.

That one act, the first of many horrible things we’ve witnessed Vic do, still resonates to the last episode, “Family Meeting,” which doesn’t wrap up everything, but provides ample amounts of closure.

Shane, former strike team member who murdered a fellow strike team member for fear he’d rat the rest of them out and Vic’s best friend once upon a time, met a grisly end. He’s spent the last few episodes on the run with his pregnant wife and their sick child, being hunted by the cops and Vic alike, and it’s been a gorgeous white trash tour of desperation and impending doom. There was an episode a few weeks ago that showed Shane his wife squatting in an unsold mansion somewhere, the wife playing wide and seek with the child while Shane hammered away jovially on the piano. Very Badlands-esque. It was so sad and tragic you could hang it on a wall in a museum.

But as we approached the end, we knew Shane and his wife would never make it out of this in any decent way. The wife, Moira, accidentally killed a girl who was involved with some guys that Shane was trying to roll for money, and broke her collar bone in the process. Shane, in that same dustup, got hooked on drugs and has been trying to stay just coked up enough to claw his way towards a happy ending for his family. Theirs is the titular family meeting that gives them the happiest ending they could ever want, Benoit-style.

Shane and Vic do have one last confrontation in this episode, a powerful one that sets up the ending for each character nicely, but it’s sadly done over a phone call. It would’ve been nice to see these two sharing the same scenery again, chewing it up and spitting it out one last time. Especially since every time Shane has one of these moments with Vic, no matter what he says, his eyes plead tenderly, as if he’s having to lash out at a former lover.

We made each other into something worse.” So sad. So true. So very, very true. Just ask Shane’s family.

Vic himself gets immunity for all his past crimes in the second to last episode, on the condition that he participates in a federal bust on the Mexican cartel trying to push drugs into LA and comes to work for the feds for three years (if he doesn’t, his immunity deal is up). Oh, and he has to confess to every dirty crime he’s ever committed that he could want immunity from. Which he does, shocking his new employers who had no idea what they were getting into, starting with the murder of a fellow cop in the first episode leading up to present day. It’s a powerful scene, one that should win Michael Chiklis an award if, for nothing else, moving away from his always pushing foward force of nature style of playing Vic Mackey, and showing restraint, pause. Mackey has spent all these years doing his best to not have to admit to his crimes, so when it’s finally okay for him to, he has to pause. he has to briefly wrestle with those demons himself, and push them out.

But he doesn’t get away completely clean from there.

Everyone around him is burned in his wake. Shane and his family. Ronnie, the most loyal member of the Strike Team, who was actually foolish enough to believe Vic when he said “We’re in this together,” will go to jail for everything Vic’s confessed to. And Vic’s own family, choosing to hide away in federal witness protection for fear of ever being found by him.

(Side note: It would seem that Aceveda’s political aspirations pay off nicely and they cast Jay Karnes’ real life wife as Billings’ lawyer, I presume to suggest that Dutch finally gets himself a lady friend? Nice. They kind of touched upon Julian’s “curing his gayness,” just a little. Hell, even Billings got a happy ending, of sorts. )

In the finale, all his work on the streets down, Vic is then forced to pay witness first hand to what he’s wrought and be made accountable, even if only emotionally by Claudette, the CCH Pounder (one of my favorite actors ever, and one most under utilized), in a very powerful scene. Watching the show all these  years, a part of you wanted Vic to die for his crimes, or at least end up in jail (though a bigger part of yourself, the part you don’t admit to, is that you want him to get away clean), trapped amongst the criminals that he put away (the lucky ones got put in jail), but in a small way, this is just as good. If there was any pride in Vic’s confession to all his crimes in the penultimate episode, it’s all gone now. Because Vic has survived all these years by always moving forward like a shark, and for one small moment, he’s forced to stop and stand still, and let it all not only catch up to him, but wash over him.

From there, Vic goes to report for his first day of work with new masters in the federal government. He’s ready for action, assuming he’ll be doing the same thing he did with the police, but just on the government’s payroll. Wrong. They have an even more cruel, more fitting fate for him: An office job. A suit and tie. Sitting at a computer in a cubicle typing up reports from 9 AM to 6 PM five days a week. The last scene resides there, with Vic sitting in his desk chair, putting up pictures of his family that wants nothing to do with his monstrous self, and realizing that he’s no longer wanted. He’s no longer needed. He’s practically useless, with only a future of utter banality to look forward to. For seven seasons, we’ve watched how he’s sometimes masterfully schemed and bullied his way throught he world, alway struggling to stay ahead of the game, even if just a little, even if only just barely, but always surviving in some way. And now, there’s no more options. This is it. He’s dug a grave and he has to just sit in it, having lost everything.

The metaphor compliments itself nicely when the lights in his federal office building, which are on a timer, go out on him. As much as I loved Michael Chiklis‘ performance in the previous episode (I always liked the show, but with the conclusion of last week’s airing, I loved it), struggling to find the words to start his confession to all his crimes, his performance at the end of this last episode is near perfection. No words, everything on his face, and in his lost, crushed gaze. This isn’t the last image, and I wont’ tell you what that is, but it does leave this series open ended, but in the best possible way. Now that the monster is trapped, what does he do with himself?

It doesn’t cut to ten seconds of all black, that’s for sure.

The Shield is over. It hasn’t always been great, but it’s had more great moments than most shows get. And it’s always been fun and it’s always been a hell of a ride. Part of what made it so fascinating, is the way we all rooted for Vic Mackey deep down, wanting to see him get away with his crimes. We’ve been in total collusion with him this whole time, whether we admit it or not, in this last episode (with also featured Andre 3000 doing another guest spot on the show, I just forgot to mention that earlier), his sentence is our sentence. Whether or not, there was enough satisfactory closure for us here, this is our open ending.

All of my nights, why did my lover have to pick last night to get down?

I’ll be painfully brief: I had a bad weekend. Mondays are bullshit. I feel like reading. Monday, links, let’s do this:

File this under completely unsurprising: The nutjob with the samurai sword who attacked the Scientology “church” was a member. Shocking, I know.

The past and the future of a city as viewed through the park made out it’s trash.

Find out why women go wild on the night before their wedding.

Now! That’s what I call Pedophile Pop Music!

The rain falls mostly on the plains of the solar-powered cemeteries in Spain.

The Strange family and their haunted sofa.

Is urban loneliness a myth?

Now there’s a nap soundtrack generator. Brilliant. Thanks for pointing that out to me, Lollipop.

Yet another confirmation on the inevitable Arrested Development movie, this one from Ron Howard.

Neal Stephenson interview with the Onion AV Club.

The AV Club interviews Malcolm Gladwell as well.

From White People to Douchebags, 27 websites that eventually became books. Tremble in fear of the eventual political erotica/straw man argument about global warming/lit crit wankery that will be the eventual Counterforce book.

D. B. Cooper, just cause.

The Criterion 40% off sale ends today. Good luck on whatever is left. The article I just linked to, by Alex Carnevale, links to a very interesting post on Criterion’s blog about their restoration of Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express. Fascinating stuff.

Also from Carnevale, The funny, sexy guys that would save the economy.

Hey, look at that: 30 days until Christmas. I’m excited to see what my fellow Counterforcers want this year. (But I’ll give you advanced warning: Benjamin Light’s handing out bath towels and Lollipop Gomez is giving everyone condoms. Expired condoms. Just remember, it’s the thought that counts.)

The Vatican forgives John Lennon for the Jesus remark.

Cory Doctow on copyrights and copyfighting.

A guide to Obama’s national security transition team.

The Terminal 2: Armageddon.

Ideology vs. pragmatism: is one more important than the other?

For your consideration… It’s Oscar time, it’s nomination time.

Science fiction is the only literature that people care enough about to steal online.

Proof of a correlation between Myspace usage and illiteracy.

Talking shop with The Bangles.

Farting will get you arrested.

This just in: Stephanie, the middle sister from Full House, is not only newly single, but also fucking hot. I’m just sayin’.

Ambrose Bierce, just cause.

You’ve heard me mention him before, but now it appears that Richey from the Manics is officially “presumed dead.”

No glove, no love? Not always.

Nudists vs. Swingers!

I should point out that I stole just about all of these pictures from various people online. Check out the Counterforce tumblr and you’ll find the original credits and what have you. Or don’t. Or:

This is me right now.

Don’t be fooled by the rocks that we got.

So this morning while doing my internet rounds, I (Marco) happened on This Recording, as I frequently do, and their latest post, “On J. Lo” by the always wonderful Molly Young. The post is a wonderful one, talking about J. Lo’s video for “Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” talking about how from a narrative stand point, the video consists of Jennifer Lopez’ long march, casting off each other her material possessions, revealing more and more of “a perfect disquisition on femininity.” Miss Young goes on to talk about how J. Lo, who used to be so popular, so trendsetting in a way, and is no longer considered such, reveals herself at the end of the video to be incredibly beautiful, no longer resembling the specificity of J. Lo, and instead looking more timeless, like Sargent’s Madame X, or the portraits of Jeanne Samary by Renoir.

It’s an excellent post on timeless beauty about a beauty who’s time has seemingly passed and I almost posted a comment to say how much I really liked it (which is no surprise because I, like you, frequently like or possible even love the writing of Molly Young and the rest of the TR crew), but then i didn’t. Well, I did. I got into the comment box and I started typing. And typing. And I started exploring my thoughts on Jennifer Lopez and that bygone era and, as is the usual case with me, I just kept talking. Too much, in fact (as is the usual case with me), so I stopped. You know what I did then? I got onto gchat and talked with Lollipop about it, as I frequently do in these cases…

Lollipop Gomez: So what was your comment going to be?

Marco Sparks: I would’ve said: This is a beautiful post on beauty, and I especially love that you brought up Sargent, Madame X, and Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau. But is it wrong that J. Lo appealed to me less and less after Out Of Sight? That’s a film that I feel is criminally under appreciated and was also possibly the last time that Jennifer Lopez was an actress (before her return to film became an endless string of Kate Hudson-esque roles)(and there’s nothing wrong Kate Hudson, if that’s what you want to be) and a potentially normal person. After that she became a bombastic explosion of… well, more bordering on manipulated exaggeration of femininity and a pop culture volcano than something real and unique. There’s nothing wrong with reaching those heights in your career and how you’re displayed and enjoying a celebration of your full power as a woman, but I feel that at that point, I was missing Jenny From The Block. Is she again Jenny From The Block, just with more paper at her disposal, or was she ever really Jenny From The Block?

Marco: I meant for that to only be three sentences essentially saying that I liked the post, but, uh, it kind of snowballed.

Lollipop: Of course! And yeah, what happened to her was interesting, especially now when she does nothing but be demanding.

Marco: Yeah, exactly.

Lollipop: Hmm.

Marco: Hmm?

Lollipop: Just thinking about J. Lo… which is an odd thing to be thinking about. I’ve read a ton of essays by feminist writers on Beyonce’s new song, so it’s interesting to go with a somewhat outdated cultural reference.

Marco: Yeah. Which is what she really is. I mean, do you anticipate her returning to music anytime soon? Or acting? Would you even care if she did/didn’t?

Lollipop: Right. Her music was good for… gay club music. But I can’t see her coming back.

Marco: The machine was already eaten her up as much as it probably cares to. We’ve given her millions for pictures of her kids. We’ve watched her exes go through trials and marry others and have reality shows and fuck Kim Kardashian and her mom. Thanks, J. Lo, it’s been real. We’re on our way to destroy ScarJo and LiLo, if we can. And there’s always Britney…

Then there was some discussion about how we should make this into the post you’re reading now… So meta! And we pondered what to title it…

Lollipop: I’d love to call it “My Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” but I don’t want to rip off Molly too much. There’s another song… “Waiting For Tonight.” Man, that song ruled.

Marco: It wasn’t bad. Talk about a song made for the club. Ha ha! I just read that her remix album was called J To Tha L O! Brilliant!

Lollipop: So good.

Then some discussion on other matters before…

Lollipop: So, back to the post… Hasn’t J. Lo released anything lately? I feel like she has.

Marco: According to wikipedia, there was an album released last year that I certainly don’t remember and a greatest hits package coming out next year.

Lollipop: I bet they are terrible. That one album of hers, On The 6? The 6 being the subway line that goes to “the block.” I’m sure she hasn’t ridden the subway in literally years. How can she sing to us now? She’s so rich.

Marco: She would have to sing from the perspective of being rich, wouldn’t she? I mean, don’t tell me you’re Jenny From The Block if you own the fucking block, you know?

Lollipop: Right. But who can relate to that?

Marco: Exactly. I’m beyond loathe to bring this up, but John Mayer actually did a pretty funny video about that at Funny Or Die.

Lollipop: I like Mayer. I liked him On Chappelle’s show… Oh, I’ve seen this! Aww, Kristen Bell.

Marco: Yeah. Kristen Bell. Oh, yes.

Lollipop: I like when he grabs the sandwich.

Marco: I like that there’s a sandwich waiting for him. That’s the Dream.

Lollipop: Seriously. And then he throws it away.

Marco: Also the Dream.

Lollipop: Yes.

Marco: Maybe it’s pointless to talk about realness anymore. Realness just gets remixed with a Ja Rule collab. Beauty too, maybe.


hey, shitface, get off my lawn!

so like all good things, even the great Peanut St. Cosmo! gets old. like really old. many things marked this becoming a reality. i tried to ignore them all, but once they all collectively reared their old head, the facts were hard to ignore.  first up, and most obvious……

it's not just salt and pepper....

it's not just salt and pepper

gray hair. two of them to be exact. i only know they exist because i’m not happy with my colorist and am looking for a new one. but now it’s like i have to go sprinting, fuck that, driving back to the old one and say, “cover this shit, and make it snappy!” how does this happen? how how how???? even though you are never on time, constantly try to get me to go to go to your “dj” shows, and tell me the same old stories of the pimp you think you were before you got “married,” i’ll still take you back…..

secondly, shoes. they matter. they separate the girls from the women from the wheelchair bound. i’ve gone from the high up girl in her early twenties to the more conservative one that got tired of taking those shoes off and walking on asphalt to walking around and not pouting. a signal for the end? fuck yes.

third. celebrity gossip. used to love it. eat it up with a little celebrity platinum coated spoon! all the sudden, who the fuck are these people?? what’s an LC? what’s twilight? where are the hills?

my thoughts exactly....

exactly....

i used to have a handle on this stuff, and all the sudden, shit’s just gone off the map. i blame my air traffic controllers. but really, it’s a stressful job. they do as much as they can. but maybe i’ve just lost touch….with superficial bubble gum sugar free stuff not worth the internet paper it’s not written on? no, no…that’s not it. i’ve just lost touch.

fourth. kids. sorry mom sorry god….i may never have kids. those little heathens tend to run wild. in grocery stores, in restaurants, during my cell phone conversations….they run wild! and in the wrong *republican* hands, tend to wear awful shoes…..but they just tend to be a little bit too much of a liability.

our father, who art in LA, l. ron hubbard be thy name

our father, who art in LA, l. ron hubbard be thy name

yes, they can be cute. you want to take them and have them photographed over and over and sent to all your jealous relatives, have them learn foreign languages you don’t speak, put them in Montessori schools, etc. or you can be just another pregnant mami waiting for their 15, excuse me, 30 (?) minutes of fame. or it can be the absolute worst, and who knows, it may even be due to your upbringing.

lastly….yawn….i know, up past jeopardy/your bedtime right? well up last is the decline of binge drinking!

i am from a thirst world country.

i am from a thirst world country.

i go to bed at almost reasonable times. i wake up almost when the alarm goes off. jose cuervo and i do not text. hell, i never had his cell number. what does it all mean? i don’t know….fuck off, i’m fixodenting!

monday-sunday night, baaaaby.....

monday-sunday night, baaaaby.....