Your fears, your dreams, and your imagination can run away from you… to the internet.

(Old) mad linkage:

A tale of two volcanoes.

Petraeus eyeing a presidential run in 2012?

The 50 best book people to follow on twitter.

Chloe Moretz and McLovin in a really weird music video.

Getting off on facebook.

Matt Fraction’s brilliant Casanova moving to Marvel’s Icon imprint, recolored and remixed.

This Stephen Baldwin/Martyr bullshit is real? Seriously?

Iceland volcano spews consonants and vowels.

Horosu” by Mayumi Haryoto.

Hulu to start charging for content as early as May.

Jon Stewart, South Park, Comedy Central, censorship, and fear of Muslim Extremists.

The final cast photo for Lost: “Final Flight.”

Embracing the digital book.

The search for J. Lo’s lost booty.

Fuck yeah, I have a crush on your girlfriend.

Can technology cool the planet?

Helen Mirren/Russell Brand in a remake of Arthur and Mickey Rourke is Genghis Khan.

The land of flying stones.

Another year, another month, another week, another birthday.

Last year it would seem that, like an idiot, I was actually two days late (which typically spells the start of bad news in my book), and I don’t want that to happen again, so…

TODAY is Peanut St. Cosmo’s birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Peanut, we love you here at Counterforce.

Actually, we love you pretty much everywhere. But it’s easier to say it on the internet. Especially with celebrity pictures, you know what I’m saying?

And we miss your posts.

So, if you’re reading this and you’re unlucky enough to not be Peanut St. Cosmo, you should leave her a comment or send her an email or shout at her on twitter on tumblr and wish her a very, very happy birthday. And remind her that she’s pretty awesome. Tell her to have a lot of fun today, tonight, whatever, but to keep it clean and safe and legal. And to save us some of that birthday cake!

Ergo sum.

“The Arch-flatterer, with whom all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man’s self.”

-Francis Bacon

This is from the MIT Persona project. It’s lovely to watch it compile. Like Nick Douglas suggests, put on some Coltrane, or maybe some Stereolab, or even the BBC shipping forecast/Permanent Bedtime, and watch it do it’s thing. And it’s thing is you.

Teenage Wasteland.

Teens have it so hard today, man.

A quick summary of something stupid: Miley Cyrus. Teen Choice Awards. Pole dancing. It looks like this:

Compared to the Sean Kingston thing from a while back, yeah, there’s a big of a double standard going on why this is not okay and that is supposedly okay.

But I think before you even get into objectification and underage sexual representation and, honestly, hypocrisy toward young female sexuality, I have to register this point again: Why is Miley Cyrus a successful pop star again? I feel like ten years ago we were force fed Britney Spears as a joke (herself a slightly more trashier version of someone like… Tiffany)(Though “I Think We’re Alone Now” is still awesome and “Hit Me Baby One More Time” was never all that awesome), and now it’s like that joke has become a wound and BillyRay Cyrus’ daughter is the salt that the Evil Music Industry Powers That Be are stabbing us with because they can.

It’s such a bizarre conundrum of the young female pop star, any young female pop star, with some initial talent and something marketable that is then seemingly surgically removed and changed into something even more marketable. She teases subliminal and not so subliminal interests of naughty sex and eroticized youth while possibly not quite understanding it herself. And not being given the breathing room to actually make that journey of discovery (which, yes, involves the breaking of certain boundaries to see what they’re made of). All the while surrounded by adults who should know better, but possibly don’t know better, or just have $$$ in their eyes. Then there’s the younger generation, who either are lead to believe that this is okay, this is socially acceptable, or that actually find something they can relate to, a down home-ness, a simpler mindset, an affinity for something positive in skeeziness.

I’ll stop myself there. I understand how it all works and because of that, I don’t understand how all of this actually works. And I don’t want to. Who are the positive young female role models for their youthful peers in this country?

Beyond that, there’s questions that come with certain aspects of pop culture – lolita obsessions, violence in movies, really bad music that is more choreography than actually listenable music – that don’t have answers. They just pose more and more questions and shudders of worry about posterity. Does everything fall into This Is What They Want?

Obviously she’s not American, but one of the many reason I like Lily Allen is because I still get the sense that she’s either doing or at least trying to do everything on her own terms. Her mistakes and her successes have one very important thing in common: They belong to her equally. Also, she’s awesome.

I’ll leave this particular spice of WTF with saner words than I can manage on the subject, one of Counterforce’s favorite internet crushes, Tracy Clark-Flory:

“That’s some potent imagery: an emblem of childhood (an ice cream cart) juxtaposed with a symbol of modern young womanhood (a stripper pole). Looks like her managers are following the Britney Spears sexy-virgin path to success — or self-destruction, depending on your perspective.”

In other news:

Meteor shower tonight!

Jake Ryan: “Be my guest.”

Will Arnett and Mitch Hurwitz team up for new FOX pilot.

Big Willie Styles in Vegas for his B-day.

Crystal ball sets hour on fire. Should’ve seen that coming!

Guy coming to rescue gets shot in the balls.

Watch Community, the new pilot starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase.

Everyone wants a piece of you…

“Sex alleviates tension. Love causes it.”

“I feel sex is a beautiful thing between two people. Between five, it’s fantastic.”

-Woody Allen

If you haven’t noticed already, This Recording is doing their Woody Allen week this past week, and I was lucky enough to have a small entry in it, reviewing one of my favorite of the films in the Allen catalog, Manhattan Murder Mystery. If you haven’t yet, then la dee da, please give it a read?

I especially want to thank Alex at This Recording for letting me write for them and risking the quality of his site on me :) Now if I can just talk them into letting me do it again…

And, for the record, Diane Keaton is quite possibly my dream woman. No joke.

I’m glad she survived her recent injury, now categorized as just a bump on the head.

I really like this song, “Fall From A Height,” by the Honeydrips, which samples Annie Hall in what has to be an interesting way by it’s very nature:

The Whores Of Mensa,” a short story by Woody Allen.

Woody Allen on The Magus.

The lovely Julie Klausner on Hannah and Her Sisters.

Even as a kid I always went for the wrong women. When we went to see Snow White, everyone fell in love with Snow White and I immediately fell for the Wicked Queen.”

-Woody Allen


The angel in the marble.

Two of the things I tend to ramble on about quite a bit here are art and Lost. Like… excessively, right? Well, today is just more of the same, so I hope you love it. :)

I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of interesting people online since we started here at Counterforce (I know, I know, it’s shocking to hear that people actually read this site), including a few fellow ridiculous Lost fanatics. But recently, one of those wonderful people that I’ve encountered in my online travels, the amazing and lovely Lia, started watching Lost herself. In fact, when she sent me a message the other day asking me whether the Others were scary magical or just another group of survivors who had just plain gone wrong, I had to seriously bite my lip from the hundred million responses I could give to that question. Instead, I think I answered with something trite like, “Keep watching,” I believe. Sorry, Lia, but don’t worry, they’re the good guys.

But her journey through season 1 got me thinking about it myself. That and conversating with another friend of mine about the movie Taken, which he loved because it’s an hour and a half of Liam Neeson going Jason Bourne’s badass daddy all over Europe as he tries to get back his kidnapped daughter, played by Maggie Grace, who played Shannon way back when on Lost. That was easily a hundred million years ago.

Long story short, I got to thinking about those days of the show, and the characters, and I fondling traveled back to the episode “Hearts And Minds,” the only Boone-centric episode, the one in which Locke takes Boone out into the woods and through the aid of a few chemicals (in a very Carlos Castenada hallucinogenic style), helps him to finally let go of his obsession with Shannon and move on…

On to what? Well, on to being the sacrifice that the Island demanded, of course, ha ha!

Intriguing premise, but a bad movie. Watch the original.

But anyway, I was reminded of Boone and Locke there in the jungle, Boone very much the student and Locke not so much in the hunter role that he is suited for, but in the role that he seems to crave the most, the mentor/teacher. And as he went to work, cooking up Boone’s catharsis drugs, listening to Boone’s frustrations about the hatch (at this point, they were desperately trying to figure a way into it, which they were keeping a secret from everyone) Locke told Boone a story…

“Ludovico Buonarrati, Michelangelo’s father. He was a wealthy man. He had no understanding of the divinity in his son, so he beat him. No child of his was going to use his hands for a living. So, Michelangelo learned not to use his hands. Years later a visiting prince came into Michelangelo’s studio and found the master staring at a single 18 foot block of marble. Then he knew that the rumors were true — that Michelangelo had come in everyday for the last four months, stared at the marble, and gone home for his supper. So the prince asked the obvious — what are you doing? And Michelangelo turned around and looked at him, and whispered, sto lavorando, I’m working. Three years later that block of marble was the statue of David.”

The point? None, really. Just a nice little Lost flashback, and one of my favorite moments with Locke. Especially since, it seems like the character is usually so lost (pun intended) as he tries to keep his head above water, bobbing up and down on the waves of destiny, and I just like it when he gets to play the teacher to someone else. As for you and me… we should probably get back to work, whatever that is.

Ancora Imparo.”

-Michelangelo (which translates as “Yet I am learning.”)

Hail To The Chief

I’m too wired to write anything too coherent, but here are some random thoughts on that thing that happened today.

“I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t think about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about something more substantial…

Hope — Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!”

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

Like many of my West Coast brethren, I watched the inauguration on my couch in pajamas.

Watching on TV certainly didn’t diminish the almost bottomless pit of sappiness I felt. My favorite was at the end, during Reverend Lowry’s benediction. He says: “Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen.”

Reverend Lowry with Martin Luther King, via Cornell University

Reverend Lowry with Martin Luther King, via Cornell University

But okay, we get it with the historical significance, right? We get it. Let’s move on to more superficial matters. Like for one, we have attractive people in the White House once again. Look at this fucking hot Presidential team back when they were on the Campaign trail:

And let’s not forget how adorable Sasha and Malia Obama are:

you know joe biden is the coolest fucking uncle ever, right?

you know joe biden is the coolest fucking uncle ever, right?

Sex is totally happening in the White House tonight, you guys.

The Look.

"You want to know how Barack prepares for a debate?', 'He hangs out with me' -- Michelle Obama

Let’s not forget Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden (she didn’t get her doctorate for you to call her Mrs, okay?) who killed it with the sexy knee high boots today. Fashion forward Michelle wore a custom gown designed by Isabel Toledo, foregoing her usual Narciso Rodriguez (who designed the red and black dress she wore on Election Night). The kind of clothes the first lady wears sends a big message to the fashion industry, rather than go with big name designers like Donna Karan or Oscar De La Renta (although Michelle would look beautiful in an Oscar gown, sigh), Michelle’s choice of going for smaller names is indicative of the message this administration is sending. It’s time for change. Big changes. Look how stodgy and old the Bushes look versus the Obamas:

I am fascinated by what George Bush would say to Obama. The Bush sisters wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal today giving advice to Sasha and Malia, which I thought was pretty cute and interesting. On election night, one of the creepiest thinsg I head was the NBC newscaster getting a little too excited over the fact that there’d be “little girls” in the White House again.

the time has come to set aside childish things

the time has come to set aside childish things

I’ve been watching the coverage on ABC all day (still haven’t changed out of my pajamas and Veronica Mars hoodie. Its my sexy blogger outfit!) and have been fascinated by the traditions that follow the Inauguration. After the ceremony, Obama saw the Bushes and Cheneys off as Bush boarded a plane (no longer called Air Force One since he is no longer President!) and Dick Cheney was wheeled into a limo to take him to his evil lair. He was looking an awful lot like Mr. Lebowski today. Then, he got to sign his first executive orders and continuity of government, which expired when Bush’s term officially ended. I felt a particular chill when Dianne Feinstein called him Mr. President as he signed all the papers.

After that, lunch time! On the menu: seafood stew (paired with a sauvignon blanc), a  brace of american birds (paired with a pinot noir), and an apple cinammon sponge cake (paired with a california sparkling white wine, the web site says champagne but whoever wrote it is obviously philistine who does not know that if it’s not from france it’s not champagne it’s sparkling white wine.) All California wines, which is a nice touch! They’re also presented with gifts, which include a giant framed photo of their ceremony, the flags that were flown over the Capitol and two engraved crystal bowls. If it were me, those bowls would hold candy on my desk in the Oval Office. That’s probably some kind of sacrilege, right?

the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

During the lunch, which was closed to the press, in a you couldn’t make this shit up move, ex KKK member Senator Robert Byrd collapsed. I guess his little racist heart couldn’t take seeing a woman who was directly descended from slaves be seated at the head of the room.  The news people actually felt bad about was that Senator Teddy Kennedy also collapsed and had to be taken away in an ambulance.

After lunch, it’s time for the inagural parade. Many people thought the Obamas wouldn’t walk the route to the White House but they did for some of it. Michelle managing to keep it together in that short dress and Jimmy Choos in 25 degree weather is an inspiration to us all.  No taking off the shoes and walking barefoot on concrete for our First Lady.

If I ever had to run against her for public office, I know that she would beat me without much difficulty.

"If I ever had to run against her for public office, I know that she would beat me without much difficulty. "

What’s on the agenda for President Obama this week? Some of his staff have already gone into the office while the president was having lunch. After partying it up tonight (I just heard he plans on attending 10 inaugural balls), Obama plans on starting his day with some prayer and meeting with some military officials to discuss Iraq. If you’re in DC, you could also sign up to be taken on a special tour of the White House. And to make it all official, the White House website has changed to reflect the new president and guess what? It’s got a blog. I wonder if he’ll add us to his blogroll?

Yes We Can.

"... that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can."

Etc:

Text of Obama’s Inauguration Speech

Text of Obama’s Election Night Speech

Text of Obama’s 2004 DNC Speech