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Monday, 27 April
World Shut Your Mouth

A MESSAGE FROM THE CDC:

Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the United States. Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection also have been identified internationally. You're all going to die, probably tomorrow. Everyone is encouraged to masturbate before the end times arrive. Hail Dagon, the fish-god! I dreamed that whole hideous crawl, and can yet feel the ooze sucking me down!

An investigation and response effort surrounding the outbreak of swine flu is ongoing. But we've got nothing. [Image of CDC investigator turning out his empty pockets and shrugging.] See? You're fucked.

CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the agency's response to this emerging health threat and yesterday the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, declared a public health emergency in the United States. So don't worry, citizens. We have deployed someone named Janet. But what can she do? She's just a girl.

It doesn't matter. [The CDC begins openly weeping.] I want a lollipop, mother. [The CDC pulls itself together.]

CDC has issued a number of interim guidance documents in the past 24 hours. Take that, flu! Documents! In addition, CDC's Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is releasing one-quarter of its antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment, and respiratory protection devices to help states respond to the outbreak. So one quarter of you will be given debatably effective drugs, and the other three quarters will be given not-debatably useless cloth masks and ossified chicken legs. In these stressful times, Janet recommends voodoo prophylaxis.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY HEALTHY

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Do not eat used tissues. Do not rub the tissues into your sister's eyes, unless it's pretty funny.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. DO NOT wash your hands after you take a shit. Dude, that was your ass. Don't even look at your hands. Pretend you have no hands. Type with your chin.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Also your spouse. You don't know where that skeeze has been. And finally, Barry in HR. That fumbling man-whore would fuck a rotten peach. Barry is also a profligate drooler.

The 1918 pandemic strain has polymorphism from swine and human H1N1 in all eight gene segments. Similar swapping of polymorphism in human co-infected with season and swine H1N1 can lead to rapid evolution. Avoid swine, humans, evolution and polymorphism. Jewish isolationist Republican werewolves may be immune to H1N1.

Don't forget to masturbate! We all die alone. It's okay if you're a little sticky.

Monday, 13 April
Prejudgment; The Blowjob Edition

You know what you probably don't get much of? ESTONIAN COMMENT SPAM! But I get it! Lots of it! I have no idea what the dude is saying, but I think I recognize the phrase "turkey hump," which my grandmother used to babble endlessly about before she went insane and died. Or maybe that was while she was going insane. Perhaps she was always insane; she did used to croon "Tiny Bubbles" to me as a child, which would explain a lot. No defenseless kid needs to have unstable grandmothers howling Don Ho songs about champagne into his face.

Anyway, this is the sort of brain damage that leads someone to post vicious comments about movies that he has no intention of seeing in the theaters. Let's roll!

Earth

When did polar bears become a common trope for piously earthing shit up? I guess we're starting at the beleaguered poles and working our way up to the Equator. Makes sense, I guess--penguins and polar bears, SAVE THE EARTH!--but of course that just makes assholes like me go "Well, wake me up when the otter die-offs start."

Look for 2011 for the sizzling sequels "Wind" and "Fire." Say, how come Air always takes it up the ass?

Obsessed

Here's an example of a film that they just should have folded with the name, like Unfaithful. What more do you need to know? I think I'd be more intrigued by something called Bowling or Mumbly-Peg. So someone is obsessed. WHOO! It doesn't help that that someone appears to be Beyonce, and even less so that Jerry O'Connell appears to be involved in the equation. I'll go ahead and advance my argument--which I have been developing for years--that in any Jerry O'Connell equation, he comes out as negative b. Solve for x and you get Ali Larter. This is why everyone hates math.

State of Play

This is sort of the flip side of something as terrible as Obsessed, title-wise. Trading in thunking obviousness for dimwitted nonspecificity, State of Play opts for a faux-moodiness that, semi-formidable cast aside, it probably will not earn. The producers could have easily opted for the title Plate of Stay and retained the same amount of unearned gravitas, but then again, that was probably the working title when they were filming Marley and Me.

But who knows? I'm happy to be wrong. Tony Gilroy is one of the writers, and he has given me much joy with his Bourne movies and the estimable Michael Clayton. On the other hand, he has drained joy from my life with such atrocities as The Cutting Edge and Armageddon, which is perhaps the most aptly named movie ever made. Then again, he also wrote The Devil's Advocate, which is so frothingly insane that it makes me think of other insane things, like "BJ and the Bear," which contains neither 1. blowjobs nor 2. bears. Basically, people like Tony Gilroy are why I don't sleep at night and instead pace around while screaming.

The Soloist

CHECK THIS SHIT OUT, YO


Robert Downey Jr.
Catherine Keener
Jamie Foxx
Stephen Root

That's three really talented white actors turning up to help out a schizophrenic black cellist! Most films would only spring for one noble white person. I commend the filmmakers for their commitment to really mobilizing caring white people who only want to help the black insane musical homeless community. It's almost as if it's straight out of Hollywood.

Fighting

Sleeping.

Crank: High Voltage

I have been chewing my hands off waiting for this fucking thing. "He was dead . . . but he got better." COME ON! If you don't want to see this, then you are dead inside, or possibly Amy Smart's immediate family. But seriously, what's not to love? It has BAI LING! If you don't read Go Fug Yourself, you rightfully might not know who she is, but all you need to know is that if you put her names together, you get "bailing," and that's pretty fucking awesome. What? You need more? Okay, well try this on for size, cowboy: it also has David Carradine playing a character named "Poon Dong." Still not sold? Two more words: Corey Haim.

*screams*

FOR GOD'S SAKE, PEOPLE! You lapped up defibrillation parties like Moulin Rouge like nobody's business! Jim Broadbent gets played in gay disco bars thanks to that! Does that make any sense to you? What the fuck are you sneering at? You don't want to see Jason Statham fuck Amy Smart in a hippodrome? You're damaged. I can't even talk to you.

Go ahead. Go watch The Soloist. You'll be the only ones there. We'll catch you next time at Iron Man 2. That's the one where Robert Downey Jr. gets gobbled by Gwyneth Paltrow at the county dump. Sweet!

Monday, 06 April
I Hardly Know Her

A month or so ago, I attended a poker tournament at my friend Will's. I ended up winning the thing, beating out, among others, a professional poker dealer; this was mainly due to outlandishly freakish luck. By way of example, the last hand of the night--against the poker dealer--had him going all-in against my straight flush. (Early in the game, I managed to knock Will out first, who had sensibly put in all his money with pocket aces, which I promptly cracked with an improbable trip sevens.) It was thoroughly disgusting for everyone involved who wasn't me, and I received a well-deserved earful about it. It was like a diseased hamster showed up at a magic convention and made Australia disappear.

Last Friday, we had round two. It was, by and large, the same lineup as the last time with a few exceptions; a couple guys from the first one had been driven clinically insane by their absurd, existential loss to me before and were chewing on their arms locked up in Arkham. Joining us in their stead was Will's girlfriend Julea, a fairly driven woman who had been playing thousands of hands online, including her phone. Present as well was Jake, the affable dealer; Tony, who plays with a kind of stoner gentleness that almost makes you forgive his supernatural knack for sucking you out on wildly improbable river draws; Warren, a voluble and volatile ur-competitor who is given to howling epithets like "You're going to taste my shoe polish in the back of your throat when we're done!"; Kevin, another gentle soul who should probably take up some other game not involving cards (he went out holding absolutely nothing--I mean it; his final hand, when revealed, was like a terrible pointillist painting. It was utterly senseless close up, but even backing away from it, it still looked like a chaotic mess. He might have actually had a Rules for Contract Bridge card in there, I think).

The game began horribly enough, with the glitteringly predatory Julea staring us down like a hyena regarding several abandoned corpses. She took down an early huge pot with a miserable pair of sevens (I had nines, god dammit), and then later fixed me with a truly frightening smile as she called my fairly massive bet based on my made flush. She turned over her full house, and I thought, You are being killed by a tiny little girl, but fortunately, it's the sort of thing you're used to.

In the meantime, Warren spent a wild three hands in a row with Tony, and Tony ate his fucking lunch on every one of them. Now, you have to realize that Warren is an intense, competitive fellow even when money isn't on the line. So you can imagine how well it went over when Warren turned over a Q-5 to make trip queens and Tony then lazily flipped over hiis Q-6 . . . and the kickers played. Tony blinked owlishly, not sure what the outcome was. "Is it . . . is that a chop pot?" he asked innocently. "NO, YOU FUCKING MOTHERFUCKER!" screamed Warren, leaping up from his chair and, for reasons best not inquired about, embracing a nearby bookcase. He looked like a surrealist's Pieta. "QUEEN SIX, MOTHERFUCKER! ARE YOU BLIND?" Warren hopped around a bit and then paced, as if nervous motion would turn back time and allow him to pull back his chips and poison Tony before the previous deal.

Eventually Warren sat back down and adopted the red-eyed stare of a man preparing to climb a bell tower. "Awkward," whispered Will, and then Julea promptly sacked the room again with yet another hideous straight. I stared at my dwindling chips and sipped a whiskey; Will hollered encouragement to his girlfriend; Warren sat tightly, his entire body a series of mistuned piano strings. Tony, unconcerned as ever, murmured something about having to go see his girlfriend and said he'd be back in a few minutes: "Just go ahead and take my blinds." Kevin, long since having nonsensed his way out of the game, was content to occasionally cut the deck when needed.

Eventually, I got knocked out on some terrible hand that I felt obliged to go all-in on and was called by approximately every person at the table and some random telephoners from New Hampshire that had learned of my awful hand; I got slaughtered. Fortunately, we had decided that everyone was allowed one re-buy back in that would give you half the chips you started with. Everyone at the table ended up using the re-buy except for Julea, who continued her implacable mission to destroy us all; only laconic Tony and his preternatural life-draining draw luck could match her; I suspect he is an incubus.

For my part, I had to be cautious. Facing such strong chip stacks, I became, for a time, very conservative, playing only strong hands. Fortunately for me, right about this time, I started catching cards again. Ace-queen brought me some money, as did a blessed pair of kings. Grotesquely, around this time, I also managed to catch a grisly quad sevens, which provoked dark muttering; fortunately, Warren was not in that hand, because I think he might have bled out of all of his orifices and then destroyed Tokyo.

Then I knocked out Warren. Warren had been drinking nothing but Amstel Light all night, citing past poker failures as being caused by his profligate intake of whiskey. Warren, it must be said, took it as amiably as possible given the circumstances. "Is it time for whiskey now, Warren?" we cautiously asked. "Yes," he replied. "Yes, it fucking is." His mood immediately improved.

A funny thing was happening. I was building my stack quietly, still catching pretty decent cards. I folded when I wasn't in the blinds, for the most part, unless I had some monster, and Julea . . . her stack was slowly being reduced. A few hands later, Tony bit the dust, his stoner luck finally ground out when someone switched out one of his hole cards with the six of cups from a Tarot deck and he didn't notice. This left Julea and myself. And a few hands later, she was out.

Yeah, I won again. Two for two. And I again want to reassert this: I'm terrible. I generally have no idea what I'm doing, I am never reliably sure of what my opponent might be holding, and I'm pretty sure I'm about as difficult to read as a billboard. And yet I've lucked into two wins in a row. This won't last, if only because if it ever happens again, my fellow poker players will mount my head on a pike and hang a sign on it out in the yard which reads: "OH MY FUCKING GOD FUCK THIS TOOL."

So I am loathed. I am also $150 richer. It's so totally worth it.










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