Author Archives: Jordan Carr

Here Is What Happened This Week: 8-15-14

the-beatles-live-candlestick-park-august-29th-1966-cd-be83d

Here are some updates on current events presented in humorous fashion for your enjoyment. There were some very depressing things that happened too, but I won’t be addressing them so as to keep you, the reader in good spirits.

Paul McCartney played the last concert at Candlestick Park before it is to be demolished. Elton John is reported to have bitterly moved a slightly rewritten version of “Candle in the Wind” to the trash folder on his computer.

The defense is seeking a dismissal in the corruption trial for former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. The judge is unlikely to grant the dismissal as there are mountains of evidence of McDonnell’s corruption and his check hasn’t cleared yet.

Eight people were arrested after pulling off a heist of more than $180,000 at a New Jersey casino. Three other members of criminal mastermind Danny Ocean’s crew are believed to still be at large.
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What’s New With Science: Farts Are Here To Save Your Life

As one of the internet’s leading resources on scientific matters, it is my occasional duty to update you on what the scientific community is up to. And by “what the scientific community is up to,” I mean haphazardly written articles that through either ignorance or malice misinterpret the findings of studies to create the most sensationalist headline possible.

BEST FRIENDS ARE GENETICALLY BASICALLY FOURTH COUSINS

#BestFriends4Ever

#BestFriends4Ever

According to a new study from Yale University and the University of California at San Diego, good friends are often genetically similar, and can share as much as 1% of the same gene variants. In genetic terms, that’s a lot. As close as, say, fourth cousins.

This of course raises the question of “so, like can I have sex with my friend without having a weird genetically-deficient baby?” No, that’s not the question this raises? Okay, I’ll move on. Just keep in mind you and your bestie are watching Clueless for the fifteenth time and saying all the lines together that it was genetically predestined and free will is an illusion.

PEOPLE WOULD RATHER HAVE A HEART ATTACK THAN TAKE A DIFFERENT-LOOKING PILL

For the new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Kesselheim and his colleagues analyzed data on more than 11,000 people who were prescribed common medications including beta blockers, statins and ACE inhibitors after a heart attack.

Over the following year, almost a third had a change in pill color or shape. Those patients were between 30 and 70 percent more likely to stop taking their medication than patients whose pills stayed the same.

First of all, nobody has ever said the word “annals” without immediately following with “of history” so I’m skeptical of this thing off the bat. Second of all, “between 30 and 70%” is quite the window there. Third of all, while I’m kinda with the skeptical people who are good with their heart exploding, isn’t being wary of this sort of change normal? I’m just saying! Maybe the pharmacist filled out the prescription wrong. This guy got blinded! In any case, what should we do in this sort of situation, doctor guy?
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Everything You Need To Know About the 2014 World Cup

In which, for no good reason, I disparage a bunch of countries that probably have lots of nice people in them.

You guys, it’s World Cup season, which means it’s time to laugh at the rest of the world for caring so much about this event. Unlike the Olympics, which are our biennial (not biannual. That’s different.) chance to stick it to China and/or the USSR, America could not give a shit about this event. Like, it’s fun when we win, but then you have to celebrate with the kind of Americans who follow soccer, or as it’s known here in America, soccer. Because this is inevitable, let’s get all the soccer fan insults out of the way. They wear stupid scarves, inexplicably use “side” to mean “team,” “pitch” to mean “field,” “pace” to mean “speed,” “kilometer” to mean “0.621371” miles and annoyingly pluralize team names, as in “On a kilometer by kilometer basis, Brazil have the most pace on the pitch of any side.” Speak normally!

But back to the soccer. There are a lot of countries to keep track of in this tournament, so here’s a handy guide to the teams of the 2014 World Cup.

Group A

Brazil

For a country with such a rich musical tradition, somehow this is still the song I was most quickly able to associate with Brazil.

Win or lose, Brazil’s hilariously corrupt World Cup will go down in history as being hilariously corrupt, that is, unless an interesting soccer thing happens, in which case everyone will forget the billions of dollars used to construct useless stadiums across the country, including one in the middle of the Amazon that is only reachable by plane. Even if Manaus has two million people, it shouldn’t feel like you need Indiana Jones or that adventurer dude from Jumanji to get to a soccer stadium.  On the soccer side of thing, they’ve looked underwhelming so far, struggling to finish on their scoring chances and generally looking tight in front of their home crowds. (That might be the only bit of actual soccer analysis I have to give).

Mexico

Did you guys know that Mexico hates America’s soccer team? It’s true! In any case, Mexico wouldn’t even be in this tournament if it weren’t for America scoring late against Panama in qualification, so you’re welcome, Mexico. I’m sure whenever the Americans make it back to Mexico, they’ll be given their traditional welcome of a golden shower.

Croatia

Cameroon v Croatia: Group A - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

On the plus side, their uniforms double as picnic blankets when they’re not using them (the checkerboard element is taken from the Croat Coat of Arms, which is quite the tongue twister). On the downside, I’m pretty sure that every player on their team’s last name ends with ivicisevicicicic, which can be confusing.

Cameroon

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A Day At The Belmont Stakes

For the first time, I actually went ahead and physically attended the 2014 Belmont Stakes. I’m going to walk you through what it’s like to go to the Belmont Stakes, because unless you’re one of the 102,000 people who did so this weekend, you were probably watching from the comfort of your own home (or a Vegas sports bar. Or a prison TV lounge. Both of which may seem like they have their charms, after you read this piece).

Getting to the Belmont Stakes is of course to the first step of going to the Belmont Stakes. It is the second-hardest part of going to the Belmont Stakes. The hardest part, of course, is leaving the Belmont Stakes (we’ll get to that). Besides by car or horseback, there is exactly one way to get from Manhattan to Belmont Park, in the town of Elmont, and that is via the Long Island Railroad, or LIRR. The bad news about the LIRR is that anyone other than the very first people who shoved their way to seats have to stand for the entire forty-minute ride. The good news is that everyone on the train was in a good mood.

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Murder, Intrigue and Clay Aiken In A North Carolina Congressional Race

There’s a nonzero chance American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is murdering his political rivals.

Okay, that might be an exaggeration.

Or it might be the biggest understatement anyone’s ever made. (It’s not).

Here are the facts: Clay Aiken was declared the winner of a deadlocked Democratic congressional primary in North Carolina’s second district despite having a lead of less than 400 votes because his chief rival, Keith Crisco died suddenly in his home.

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Winners and Losers: Donald Sterling’s Racism Edition

sterlings-gold-mad-men

Donald Sterling is a bit more Bert Cooper than Roger Sterling, if you know what I mean. (I mean he’s a racist).

The racist-ass comments made by Donald Sterling have been the big story in sports world for the past week or so, and  NBA Commissioner Adam “Sexy Silver” Silver came down harshly on Sterling, banning him for life from the league, fining him $2.5 million and saying he would be working with the NBA owners to force Sterling to sell his team. Sports, as we all know, is about winning and losing. But really so is life. So let’s do Winner & Losers, Donald Sterling Edition.

Loser: Donald Sterling

So as it turns out when you get caught saying a bunch of racist stuff on tape, you get your NBA team taken away from you. By “taken away” I mean, he’ll sell it at an enormous, enormous profit. By now this story’s been beaten to death, so let’s hone in on a few of the less-covered angles:

1) Sterling said it was cool if his girlfriend had sex with Magic Johnson, so long as she didn’t take a picture of it. Does this mean Donald Sterling has HIV?

2) Again, his initial rage-fury was over her taking a picture of Magic Johnson, a guy so beloved that even those racist pizza shop Italian dudes in Do The Right Thing liked him. Come on! Be a more discerning racist, Donald Sterling.

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Sheryl Sandberg Is Wrong: Bossy Children Are Terrible

As you probably are aware, Facebook COO and all-around successfulperson/self-appointed voice of womankind Sheryl Sandberg has launched a campaign to ban the word “bossy.” Let’s go over the positives of #BanBossy first:

  • It’s good to encourage girls.
  • “Bossy” does tend to be used on women and girls more so than on men and boys
  • Popular people such as Brigitte Bardot, Bob Benson, Bobby Brown, and Benjamin Button have the initials BB.

As you may have guessed, I have some quibbles with the Ban Bossy campaign. And not because in America you can’t ban words, and any attempt to do so is going to invite resistance. And not because if you’re going to tell people they can’t say a thing anymore, “bossy” is the most ironic choice possible. And not for semi-racism reasons. And not because this really only affects the little Sheryl Sandbergs out there, with the implicit message that non-leader (?) little girls can go die their worthless deaths. And not because campaigns against more vicious slurs like Ban Bitchy and Ban Cunty (I was uncomfortable even typing that!) would be more universal.

No.

lean-in_custom-575cb1cc7e2e0e704abfffbc2a0ce498dafad0f8-s6-c30The problem with Ban Bossy is…do we really want to live in a world in which little girls are as awful and bossy as little boys?

Have you ever met a particularly “assertive” little boy? They’re the worst human beings possible. They assume you want to hear their boring, self-obsessed stories. They Lord of the Flies each other. Are these really the behaviors we want to be enabling in sweet, kind girls?

The answer is not, as Sheryl Sandberg would have it, to encourage girls to develop their leadership skills–it’s to discourage bossy behavior in boys and girls alike lest it fester into something more sinister and they end up becoming “leaders.”

For example, let’s let Sheryl Sandberg (and again I refer to her as “Sheryl Sandberg” because it’s just one of those names that is meant to be said in its entirety) explain what leaders are like as children:

When my brother and sister describe our childhood, they will say that I never actually played as a child but instead just organized other kids’ play. At my wedding, they stood up and introduced themselves by explaining, “Hi, we’re Sheryl’s younger brother and sister … but we’re not really her younger brother and sister. We’re her first employees—employee No. 1 and employee No. 2.” From a very young age, I liked to organize—the toys in my room, neighborhood play sessions, clubs at school.

In short: horrible monsters. Is that what’s wrong with society? Not enough children ruthlessly instilling order and discipline in their play time and trampling anyone who gets in their way?

In conclusion, #BanBossy is very exciting if you’re hoping some more girls can grow up to be women who join the ranks of great leaders such as George Bush, who led us into Iraq, Jordan Belfort who led investors to give him their money, and Richie Incognito who led the Miami Dolphins to bully the bejesus out of Jonathan Martin, and also, an 8-8 record.

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Neon Boudeax, Jesus Shuttlesworth and Space Jam 2

The news that LeBron James would be starring in Space Jam 2 was too perfect. Somehow, even more than winning MVPs and championships, taking over a Looney Tunes franchise from Michael Jordan would be the thing that cemented him as not just the greatest basketball player of his generation, but the biggest star. Plus, it provided the tantalizing possibility that every fifteen to twenty years, the greatest basketball player on the planet would, in addition to dominating their sport, need to star in a movie with a latter-day version of Newman from Seinfeld to complete their coronation.

Newman!

Newman!

Regrettably, it turned out to be a hoax—after “sources” claimed the rumors were unfounded, LeBron personally denied the rumors, meaning we can probably put this to bed. Unless this was a trial balloon to gauge public reaction, in which case this movie is definitely happening. And hey, it can’t hurt on his quest to become a billionaire. (“It’s my biggest milestone”).

The problem with superstar basketball players’ movies isn’t that they’re bad—of course they’re bad—it’s that it’s rather disconcerting when people who are physically perfect suddenly become stiff and unsure of how to, well, act. It takes away from Dr. J’s reputation as the smoothest to see him in The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh trying to figure out what to do with his hands. (Though, it should be noted, it absolutely adds to his mystique when, in this PG-rated movie, he manages, through some miracle of poor ‘70s lighting, to stand up, in the nude, right in front of the camera).

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I Am Excited About the Sochi Olympics And You Should Get Over Yourself and Be Excited Too

USA! USA! USA!

USA! USA! USA!

The Winter Olympics are kinda a weird event. They’re objectively worse than the Summer Olympics in every way. While the Summer Olympics are set in places like London, Beijing and Tokyo, the Winter Olympics gets Nagano, Salt Lake City and Lillehammer, whose Olympics would later be memorialized by Steven Van Zandt. If they gave out medals for kinds of Olympics, the Winter Olympics would win a silver medal. And these Sochi Olympics are getting a lot of guff from the haters out there. But you know what, the Sochi Olympics are going to be the best Olympics in years. Or at least since the last Olympics. Or at least one of the more interesting things on TV this month. Oh, but House of Cards is coming back. Well, it’ll definitely be the most interesting thing involving Russians on TV. Except The AmericansThe Americans will probably be more interesting than the Sochi Olympics. Still, you might have some concerns about these Olympics, and I’m here to explain why you needn’t worry because these Olympics are going to be great.

CONCERN: Why did they choose Sochi anyway? Sochi is not a real place. And its average winter temperature is a surprisingly warm 52 degrees.

RESPONSE:

Okay, so Sochi isn’t a booming metropolis (in Russia, you can tell which cities are metropolises because they’ve been renamed after some Commie mass murder and then re-renamed), but you can forgive the IOC for just assuming that Sochi was cold all the time. An easy mistake! Isn’t everywhere in Russia cold?

CONCERN: The Sochi Olympics are unbelievably corrupt.

RESPONSE:

First of all this is factually inaccurate. The level of corruption at the Sochi Olympics is very believable. Überbelievable. This is taking the usual corruption of the Olympics and multiplying it by the usual corruption of a government giving out no-bid contracts, and then putting all that to the Russian power.

For the visually inclined, the equation is as follows: (Olympics * no-bid contracts)^Russia

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Artisanal, Hand-Crafted Movie Recommendations

Mmmmm...anthropomorphic hot dogs

Mmmmm…anthropomorphic hot dogs

As the most beloved living film critic, people often ask me if they should see a movie, and for me, the answer is always yes because I like to have people to talk about movies with, and don’t really care if you waste two hours of your life on Black Swan or whatever. Still, in the interest of being somewhat helpful, here’s pretty much every movie I saw in 2013 as well as a description of what kind of person should watch these movies.

You should see this movie if you…

The Vanishing (1988)

…like the idea of you and a loved one being buried alive.

L’Enfant (2005)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French people.

Kid with a Bike (2011)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French kids.

La Haine (1995)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French kids in black and white.

Festen (1998)

…find it plausible that a big party could continue as if nothing happened after the host is accused of child molestation.

District 9 (2009)

…believe that comparing black Africans under apartheid to hideous bugs is helpful somehow.

Upstream Color (2013)

…think not enough movies center on piglet murder.

A History of Violence (2005)

…like your murders arbitrary and awesome.

A Prophet (2009)

…want to spend three hours being REALLY EXCITED about a guy slowly infiltrating the Corsican prison gang while growing a mustache.

Cries and Whispers (1972)

…wonder if being surrounded by bright red walls all the time keeps you from being awful and miserable (it doesn’t).

The Seventh Seal (1957)

…want to see chess with death!

Bicycle Thieves (1948)

…like Italy, but hate the persistent image of it as “fun.”
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