Toyota Six Feet Under

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It’s ridiculous! First the accelerator sticks and now the brakes don’t work. Enough with the hollow apologies and hokey whoopsie-doo-baby-made-a boom-boom commercials, alright? We expect more. We didn’t collectively kill our auto industry for shoddy workmanship and unreliability. If we wanted that we could have just bought a Buick. I mean it is a Japanese company. Shouldn’t a couple of those execs be falling on their swords, literally? See that’s the problem. We need to bring back good old-fashioned Samurai ethics. I guarantee that the impending threat of hara-kiri would get ole Akio to personally double check those vroom-vroom pedals and stop-stop pads before they left the assembly line for our crumbling pot-holed highways.

Lucky this didn’t come to light five years ago or it might have sullied Six Feet Under’s stellar season finale montage (one of the greatest product placements in the history of advertising). Where instead of Claire driving her pristine Prius into a panorama of the great wide open to Sia’s Breathe Me, she’d have floored it directly into an oncoming semi-tractor trailer (due to a jammed gas pedal and ABS failure) ending in the sound of screeching metal and a death-rattling scream. Surely a subdued sewing-up and embalming of little sister Fisher’s mangled corpse by David and Rico, concluding in a tasteful yet somber service, would not have held the same place in our hearts. Continue reading

Punxsutawney Meltdown

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PETA demanded this week that the organizers of Pennsylvania’s Groundhog Day festival replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robotic stand-in.

A disgruntled Phil has steadfastly refused to abdicate his position and be replaced by what he calls a “animatronic fraud”. He has reportedly armed and barricaded himself in his burrow, chittering that he would shoot if he sees “anyone’s motherf*cking shadow” . Recently fathering a litter of six and with unemployment at an all time high in Pennsylvania, the laid-off rodent would be hard pressed to find a job, let alone one with a premium Health Plan for his brood.

Five Non-Balloon Boy Hoaxes the Media Missed

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1. Buggy Boy: Lancaster’s own little Amish 5-year-old Jebediah Junior’s romp with a cart full of freshly packed pickled preserves ending in a bone-rattling crash into Elder Silas’s windmill. Turns out, the boy was alive and well and hiding in a butter churn. Meanwhile his derelict daddy used the distraction to shave his beard, throw on a contraband pair of dungarees and a Kenny Loggins t-shirt, and skip town. Heading out to the big city of lights with his unbridled dreams of opening an adult-themed quilt shop/lemonade stand. The media missed the boat on this one… because, well, they have no media.

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2. Cabin Boy: Alleged 1994 full-length feature film starring Chris Elliott and David Letterman. Yeah, right!

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3. Tandem Bicycle Twin Girls: Remember the buxom blond stars of the late 80′s Wrigleys Double Your Pleasure Double Mint commercials? They were shown in dueling string bikini’s chewing gum and peddling their double-seated transport carefree across a beautiful boardwalk on a perfect seaside day. Turns out not only were they unrelated (let alone monozygotic) but were actually incapable of masticating and cycling at the same time, due most likely to a combination of eating disorders, cocaine abuse and/or casting couch roughhousing. After a grueling 483 takes and a near-death tragedy involving an imploding saline implant it was finally decided to use a separate shot with two unknown body doubles legs. If you look really close you can see the brunette stubble. The horror….

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4. That Hummer Guy: You know the supposedly really tough cookie with the fu manchu and red doo-rag that blared past you on the way to work, blasting AC/DC’s Who Made Who and spewing tobacc-ee chew juice out of his open driver’s side window onto your freshly washed Honda Accord’s Dash? Well it turns out he was racing home to watch When Harry Met Sally for the 76th time on HBO while he cried on his futon in the fetal position, spooning chunks of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream into his pained, grimacing, vulnerable, pockmarked mug, pining for any type of real human connection that didn’t end in probation or community service. You just don’t understand him!

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5. Rapture GILF: The runner-up Miss Alaska token GOP crapshoot VP pick who is still taken seriously even though she:

(a) took 6 years and 5 different colleges, to finally graduate–from the University of Idaho for communications-journalism (it shows!) ,
(b) believes human beings and dinosaurs were hanging out by the tar pits 5,000 years ago like in Land of the Lost,
(c) claims to be a champion of family values although her eldest daughter had a child out-of-wedlock on her and her almost meth-in-law’s watch,
(d) is an avid disciple of the Third Wave Movement (which believe that all Christians will re-align under the Fivefold Ministry of Prophets and Apostles and others approved by the Big Bad Kahuna in the sky, while the youth will form “Joel’s Army” to rise up and combat the wicked during the end-of-days…oh and that they will have superpowers), and
(e) was personally prayed over by the Pastor Thomas Muthee (a firm believer in “territorial demonic possession”, that is that geographical locations and populations can become possessed by evil spirits) to protect her from witchcraft (it’s on YouTube folks!).

Nonetheless, she is continuously cited as a spokesperson and leader of the future Republican movement, even after she recently exercised her freedom of choice to abort her governorship before it came to full-term cause other people no play nice with her :(

Oh wait, I guess the media is in on that one….

Starschmucks Folly: VIA, the Instant New Coke

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You could put lipstick on a pig, but…

So it seems that Starbucks, the U.S. brewing behemoth, has decided to hawk an upscale version of Folger’s Crystals (currently gathering dust at the back of your out-of-touch nattering Nana’s pantry), but don’t you dare display your displeasure whilst within the immediate vicinity of one of their brainwashed baristas, or be prepared for a barrage of inane talking points and propaganda rivaling Liz Cheney’s blind backing of enhanced interrogation techniques. I’m not sure what remedial reprogramming retreat these poor part-timers were forced to attend, but it was apparently led by that murderous maenad Maryanne from True Blood or a direct descendent of Jim Jones ’cause there is zero room for dissension. Resistance is futile. You simply must drink the Kool-Aid… or neo-Sanka swill.

Is it somehow surprising that the franchise’s base of upscale liberal lefty latte-guzzling pseudo-intellects, who pride ourselves on being caffeination connoisseurs, might be a mite perturbed over the prospect of having a white-trash product pimped to us while trying to get our five o’clock fix and recharge our iPhones? We aren’t brewing up a batch of crystal meth in the bathroom units of our double-wides, looking for a quick-fix beverage to wash down our derelict dinner of Cheez-Whiz and Ritz Crackers for Cletis’s sake! Give it a rest; we don’t want to take your stupid taste test! We don’t care if this isn’t our grandfather’s instant coffee, it reminds us of our grandfather (who was last spotted hollering about health care at a town hall meeting due to a combination of dementia and Glenn Beck).

We have already agreed to pay three dollars for a cup of coffee. You’ve won. Don’t insult our intelligence by trying to get us to pledge allegiance to an inferior un-brewed commercialized commodity conceived by some snotty young marketing exec fresh out of grad school with plans for cutting losses by diversifying your elitist appeal to the general populace. Talk about watering down your “brand”. It was bad enough when you started in with that awful homogenized Pike’s Peak to compete with the Dunkin’ Donut’s demographic and their pansy palates. And let’s not forget those putrid pre-manufactured breakfast sandwiches (re-heated in those creepy gray cancer-causing ovens) prominently featured in your fly-ridden refrigerated display cases–yummers!

But for the coup de grace, it’s hard to believe your insolent insistence upon undermining the entire foundation of your existence: freshly ground, percolated C. Arabica that we pay a premium for you to prepare. Something authentic to be ingested and savored as we make our way through another impersonal, cyber-connected, pre-fabricated day. The churning in our stomachs, the burning in our bowels, the bing! bing! bing! of when it finally kicks in and everything is ok in the universe again. Gradual descent into despair transforms into rocketing ascent into possibility, hope and “what if?” Why would you want to dilute that?

Che Gueverette: Rodizio Slayer

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Like grandfather, like granddaughter, I guess. As it seems that 24-year-old Lydia Guevera is now taking up the revolutionary reins from her famous family patriarch. Is she waging war against U.S.-controlled conglomerates that have diabolically implanted puppet dictatorships and repressive regimes around the world? Helping those aging Castro hermanos get their hands on some brand spanking new thermonuclear-armed ballistic missiles to test the mettle of yet another U.S. prez in a life-or-death showdown, bringing us all to the brink of atomic annihilation? Desperately trying to drum up a Neo-Marxian revolution by teaching remedial guerilla-tactics classes to the natives in the deep, dark jungles of the Congo? Don’t bet your Batista!

Don’t get me wrong, she’s still serious about defending the rights of masses that have been forced into labor, their entire lives consumed by hungry capitalists who just see them as a meaningless multitudes of bodies and oh so much meat–they just happen to lack a cerebral cortex and prehensile thumbs! That’s right, folks, Lydia is taking the fight to the carnivorous powers that be by posing semi-nude for the latest PETA ad campaign. ¡VIVA LA REVOLUCION DE VEGETARIANS! Yesiree, the ole family legacy lives on as the Butcher of La Cabana’s bodacious petite-fille is out to butcher the butchers by showcasing her prime cuts.

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And have no doubt that her titillating spread will become equal in notoriety as her revolutionary progenitor. Just look at the publicity still where she strikes the Guerillo Heroico pose (which graces the hats and t-shirts that so many disaffected over-privileged, upper-middle class white teenage suburbanites wear–not with any consciousness of its historical context or meaning, but because it looks so f*cking badass dude!). I mean the similarities are uncanny. Both look highly bangable in their sexy berets and bandoliers (only his is comprised of life-stopping bullets while hers is fashioned from organic baby carrots whose high concentration of vitamin A help maintain healthy retinas). One wonders if she’s also armed with extra-firm tofu grenades and a flax-seed thrower for when things get totally FUBAR.

I for one am totally stoked for the inevitable five-hour Steven Soderbergh biopic of this young woman’s harrowing struggle against sweetbreads and tripe. If I can only somehow manage to attain tickets to the gala premiere (fingers crossed!) I will most certainly doll myself up in my best pleather pants and hempen baja (and if it’s wet wintery day, my lush faux-fur-lined galoshes) to celebrate.

Free Drugs for the Unemployed… Not the Fun Kind

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Whoever said big billion dollar medical conglomerations didn’t have a heart, as well as shill high-risk chemical concoctions for it? It’s official: Pfizer Inc. has announced that it will provide 70 of its most popular prescriptions (like Lipitor, Zoloft and Viagra) gratis to the poor, fat, flaccid sad sacks who have been unlucky enough to have lost their jobs and medical coverage… and (read the fine print) been loyal Pfizer customers for three months or more–JUST DON’T BUY GENERIC! WHATEVER YOU DO, STAY AWAY FROM GENERIC BRANDS THAT DO THE SAME THING BUT COST MARKEDLY LESS!!!

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Yesiree Bobby, it seems altruism is alive and well within the amalgamated capitalist model. Slap on back. Hand on heart. Salute. Zoom up on single tear trickling down a chubby corporate fat cat’s face, starting from his rad Ray-Bans and slowly pooling within the dainty dimple in his jaunty jowl.

Meanwhile, legislators in eight states are advocating that beneficiaries of Uncle Sam’s subsidized programs such as food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare be required to submit to random drug testing (AKA Operation Buzzkill) for certain substances that are not government approved. It seems the marijuana lobby, not surprisingly, isn’t all that organized.

Seriously, though, I know there are diabetics that desperately need their testing supplies and medicines in order to survive, but Pfizer’s plan (recently hatched at a leadership training program) seems more aimed at maintaining product loyalty than preserving the phalanges of the masses. What about all the non-Pfizer-buying sufferers left in a life-or-death limbo without the aid of desperately needed pharmaceuticals? F*ck em’, I guess. ‘Cause this is really about cutting losses and making sure none of the docile drug-buying sheeple stray away from the pack.

For in times of dire economic depression some might question the actual malady they are “suffering” from, seeking out alternate measures to treat the trauma they’ve been mindlessly medicating, as long it didn’t make them choose between the deluxe cable package or the other little blue pill (that was for all you Matrix nerds). Worst of all (cut to aforesaid corporate fat cat’s sweat-drenched visage, crocodile tears dried, eyes red and frantic, his douchebag-designer sunglasses long ago having slid down the slippery bridge of his rhinoplastied, cocaine-caked nose and shattering into a Million Little Pieces) some might even choose to exercise, change their diets or question the source of that mental pain they have been numbing for months or years–rather than directly line the pockets of an industry that, more often than not, encourages dependency rather than a cure. Can’t let that happen!

To conclude, let’s just take the Viagra subsidy in and of itself. Unemployment plus artificially stimulated erectile function in the elderly and/or infirm can only lead to positive developments for society as a whole, right? Hey, far be it from me to knock the importance of providing the prescription-paying public with boner pills so that they might procreate in their down time, breeding a whole new generation of loyal customers indoctrinated into the practice of pharmaceutical instant gratification by their pill-popping parents. Best of all, these newly distracted descendants who spend their formative years ministering to their drugged-out adult dependents can open up a vital ADHD market. Win-win!

Now if only they could concoct a new drug to stave off the impending Swine Flu Apocalypse, or better yet cook up a new virus to contrive a drug to avert …that would be a real money-maker! Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Preparing for the Swine Flu Apocalypse

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First SARS, then Avian Bird Flu, and now the Iddy Biddy Piddy Pandemic. Here we go again, and this time we are at DEFCON 2, apparently. And of course in times of artificially manufactured duress we must remember to not under any circumstances remain calm–it is very important to panic and support a good healthy public hysteria. Do your part. Support the mass media’s fixation on a modern-day Captain Trips narrative. They need the ratings. There hasn’t been a good old-fashioned saucy sexual scandal among the politicos in quite some time, all is quiet on the tsunami/volcano front, and the Craiglist Killer just doesn’t got what it takes (hard to empathize with sinners’, who were utilizing casual encounters, most unfortunate endings when they were financially hawking happy ones). I mean we seriously can’t be expected to sit in front of the boob tube drooling over Arlen Specter’s spectacular defection to the Democratic Party can we? Where are the tantalizing titillation or doom and gloom? Please! I might as well read a book or pursue my dreams or something.

Also, it is important to boycott bacon and pulled pork sandwiches, even though the offending pathogen’s transmission has not been scientifically connected to the consumption of the succulent buttermilk-bathed bodies of these mud-trolling cob rollers. It shows that we are serious and committed to overreacting. I mean you’d think the United States would take a world leadership position here. Instead we have to idly watch as other nations out-frenzy us. Russia and Gabon are blatantly banning all imports of the other white meat, while Egypt has ordered the mass-execution of all of their unhallowed hoggies (although this could merely be a convenient excuse to settle an age-old Islamic grudge–why must unsanctified flesh taste so delicious!).

Meanwhile, pork industry lobbyists are out to ruin all our fun by trying to change the name of the swine flu back to H1N1 Flu or even worse: Hybrid Influenza. Borrrrring! One sounds like a Star Wars robot and the other like an environmentally sound automobile that runs on germs (actually not a bad idea–someone contact Al Gore), but neither is particularly catchy. How are we supposed to foster widespread irrational pandemonium with these mundane lab-coat clad monikers?

And keep up the good work out there by continuing to make stupid jokes about acts of bestiality with our pink, hooved, pot-bellied friends, poor Kermit’s marital bed quandary, and awful puns about overweight women and those who protect and serve on the police force. Hysterical! You are quite a card! And doing your duty producing uneasy titters and groans while perpetuating paranoia among your co-workers. Sales of Purell should increase by 20%.

I myself survived the dreaded SARS epidemic (in the heavily populated Asian neighborhood of Elmhurst, Queens) in which a total of 779 people died worldwide. There were eight U.S. cases, all non-fatal. I may be wrong but I think more people have actually lost their lives at Great Adventure… and that’s just from the concession stands (More Flags, Less Fun! ). Though that didn’t stop the local populace from panicking like pros. I rode the subway into NYC daily across from faces covered in surgical masks and red bandanas. As if we were heading towards some bizarre convention catering to Wild West outlaw bank-robbing bandits and the medics who loved them. It was exciting. Why not full Hazmat suits and oxygen tanks this time? Let’s go full-blown Outbreak and spice up the morning commute!

Ultimately, though, the excitement it bound to end and the drama to abate as the world survives another media spin cycle and the perfect storm for virulent virus mutation once again fails to form. Odds are most of us will survive to watch yet another sub-par episode of American Idol thanks to the technologically advanced art of hand-washing we practice. It also doesn’t hurt to have access to stockpiles of Tamiflu or the ability to mass-produce more, this being a first-world country and all. And let’s remember this is a strain of influenza, not AIDS, and the majority of us would probably kick it on a mucus filled Nintendo-Wii-filled sick day vacation from our cubicles.

However, if it comforts you more to fantasize about a dark and dreary post-apocalyptic dystopia where a sole bedraggled man trudges down I-95 with a shopping cart desperately searching for any signs of other survivors (perhaps, with the re-tread REM ditty Cause it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel swine, as background score), I say go for it. It’s either that or waiting for the much-anticipated cinematic adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to come out…or you could just go outside, live your life and enjoy the spring. Nah! What if???