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‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s 10 Best Music Videos

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Jon Bishop

“Weird Al” Yankovic is America’s favorite musical parodist. His latest album is titled Mandatory Fun and it features such songs as “Tacky,” which is a parody of Pharrell Williams’s “Happy,” and “Word Crimes,” a send-up of both Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and poor grammar.

But, if you’re a fan of “Weird Al,” you don’t only like the songs. You like the videos, too. So, in honor of all that, here are the top ten “Weird Al” music videos.

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The 10 Funniest Episodes of Seinfeld

Monday, July 14th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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Twenty-five years ago, a sitcom pilot titled The Seinfeld Chronicles debuted on NBC. A year later, the network gave the show, retitled Seinfeld, a try. Unlike what usually happens today, NBC nurtured the series and let it build a following. Today many critics and fans see Seinfeld as a high-water mark in television comedy, and in honor of its 25th anniversary, here are the ten funniest episodes.

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10. “The Puffy Shirt”

By its fifth season, Seinfeld was at a bit of a crossroad. The fourth season had raised the bar creatively (one of the show’s writers referred to it as “our Sgt. Pepper year”), and the show was more popular than ever. Could they top themselves? After an uneven debut, the season’s second outing, “The Puffy Shirt,” showed that the team had plenty of creativity left in them.

In this episode, Jerry politely agrees with Kramer’s “low-talking” fashion designer girlfriend, not hearing what she said. Next thing he knows, he’s stuck wearing one of her creations on the Today show – a ridiculous pirate-inspired puffy shirt.

Naturally, Jerry embarrasses himself on national television, and the design goes nowhere. But in between are some memorable moments – Jerry whining, “But I don’t want to be a pirate”; Bryant Gumbel’s incredulous reaction to Jerry’s shirt; and two homeless men in the final scene wearing the shirts that have been donated to charity. “The Puffy Shirt” proved that the series still had plenty of life in it.

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10 Romantic Comedy Myths About Women

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

10. We’re so fiercely independent that the only thing we need to be happy… is a man.

Post-second wave feminist romantic comedies rely on the Sheryl Sandberg boilerplate: upper-middle class, successful career woman with an impossibly huge apartment in big city stuffed with everything she could ever want. (See: Reese Witherspoon in Just Like Heaven.)  The genre gives the image one slight twist: our heroine is secretly one step away from cultivating her very own cat collection. (See: Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.) True to Hollywood fashion, who better than the big, strong male superhero to fly in to save the day?

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The Top 10 Tips for Surviving Summer Airline Travel

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

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Vacations can be wonderful experiences, but all too often they start out at an airport, which can be one of the most frustrating, uncomfortable, and stressful places on earth.  Here’s the top ten ways to make your airline travel a good experience.  Or at least not a nightmare.

10. Pack a small refreshment bag for the end of the flight.

Purchase the wisp toothbrushes that come with toothpaste already installed. Buy a packet of facial wipes. Take a last visit to the bathroom before landing to wash up, brush your teeth, comb your hair and prepare for your day. No matter how tired you are or how long the flight, the refreshment of a small amount of grooming helps energize you and get you ready to face your journey’s destination. Just avoid changing clothes. It never turns out well unless you’re David Spade in Tommy Boy

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The 10 Most Underrated TV Comedies of All Time

Friday, June 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

10. Sullivan and Son

This working class comedy executive-produced by Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley is fraught with all the non-PC ethnic and sexual humor you’d hear in a working class, Irish-Korean, middle-American bar like the one in the show. Created by Korean American actor/comedian Steve Byrne and Cheers writer Rob Long, the TBS sitcom reminds you that some jokes are still OK to crack. The stellar cast features Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years) and comic genius Brian Doyle-Murray, along with Christine Ebersole and Owen Benjamin, who portray the drop-dead hysterical mother-son dependent duo Carol and Owen Walsh. 

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5 Items of Lingerie That I Don’t Understand

Friday, June 20th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

It’s wedding season, which means my roommate and I have been shopping for gifts to give our female friends at their bachelorette parties. It’s a fine line to walk — you want to give her something racy that everyone can giggle at (and that she might realistically wear), but not SO outrageous that it makes her and everyone around uncomfortable. We’re not prudes, but we’re not getting anyone a ball gag, either.

Fortunately it’s also the season of the lingerie sale (probably not coincidentally) so we’ve had ample browsing opportunities. A few items, though, just made me scratch my head. How do you put it on, or get it off? How is that remotely comfortable, or sexy? What does it mean?! I invite you, dear readers, to investigate each case with me. Can you explain this lingerie to me?

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10 Things Hannah’s Pants Did Without Her

Saturday, June 14th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

Hi lovely readers! I’m so happy, I wanted to share the news with all of you: I’ve just entered freelance life. Yes, I actually chose this — worked quite hard, in fact, to earn this freedom. My mom has been sharing with me the lessons she’s learned over several decades of freelance work: don’t undersell yourself; create a schedule for your day; put your clothes and makeup on every morning to make yourself feel focused and ready to work.

So no, I haven’t been living the pants-optional life. Okay, I’m wearing shorts most days. Sometimes yoga leggings. This has raised the question among some of my brilliant colleagues here on the blog: what do Hannah’s business pants do without her?

Rather than leave their curiosity unsatisfied, I present the world with the following list. Think of it as a day in the life of Hannah’s pants.

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Clickhole, the Onion’s New Parody Site, is Hilarious.

Friday, June 13th, 2014 - by Jon Bishop

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Go visit Clickhole to see ten chairs that think they’re people and to find out whether you’d share some french fries.

That the Onion decided to launch this site shows how much the Internet has changed – and whether that change is good or bad has yet to be determined. Still, it’s a good thing that it’s getting satirized — especially since the “content” style of blogging can generate some, well, amusing posts, such as when this writer discovered the existence of genre conventions.

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The 10 Most Cringe-Worthy TV Flops

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

We’ve all heard of the horrors of Cop Rock and Manimal, but after receiving a reader tip on one of their worst TV shows of all time, I did some digging and uncovered these utterly classic samples of bad television that would make great material for Joel McHale or the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

10. Bucky and Pepito (1959)

Produced by Sam Singer, “The Ed Wood of Animation,” Bucky and Pepito was a typical story of an “ambitious” white cowboy and his “lazy” (literally, they sing about it in the theme song) Mexican buddy trolling the old west on a zero budget. According to Toonopedia, “Cartoon historian Harry McCracken once said the pair ‘set a standard for awfulness that no contemporary TV cartoon has managed to surpass. They were great at what they did, which was being bad.’” Thanks to Bucky and Pepito, cartoonists have debated creating a Sam Singer Award for truly bad animation.

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Jane the Virgin: The CW’s Take on ‘Immaculate’ Conception

Sunday, June 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The CW is planning to add Jane the Virgin to its fall lineup. Based on a Venezuelan telenovela of the same name, Jane the Virgin is about an intentionally virginal girl who is “accidentally artificially inseminated” by her OB-GYN:

Jane stars Gina Rodriguez (Filly Brown) as a hard-working, devout Latina who is kind of hoping her boyfriend proposes — though she’s a little worried he’ll get down on one knee so she’ll finally agree to do the deed. When a mix-up at the OB-GYN leads to that artificial insemination plot line, Jane must choose whether to keep the baby — and whether to let the handsome father into her life.

Aside from containing a number of Spanish stereotypes, including the paranoid grandmother putting the fear of God into her pre-teen daughter (“Once you lose your virginity, you can never go back!“) to a cast of overtly sexualized Latinas, the show appears to be a platform for some long overdue, serious conversation regarding abortion. However, the show sounds eerily like one of the most famously influential and revered plot lines in the West’s repertoire, leaving one to wonder how a primarily Protestant audience might handle a story that’s been a hit in a Catholic country.

When it comes to the primarily pathetic representation of Latinas on television (does Sofia Vergara have to do it all?) at least Jane the Virgin appears to lack the typical trashiness of Devious Maids.

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Senior Yearbook Quote Nearly Gets Girl Banned From Graduation

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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The senior quote. You only get one chance to encapsulate your high school career in a few words. Do you go with something profound? Or funny? Do you make the Oscar speech you’ll never otherwise get to make? Do you quote a famous movie character or historical figure? Do you go with something clever and awesome, or do you just express your desire to party?

The biggest problem with the senior quote is that it’s forever. If you say something dumb, it’s right there in the yearbook for the school to remember forever. (For some reason, the yearbook staff inadvertently left mine out. I had gone all literary with a quote from Laurel Lee’s Godspeed*.)

Then there’s Paris Gray. The senior at Mundy’s Mill High School in Clayton County, just south of Atlanta, went with a little “nerd humor” for her quote, which wound up getting her in trouble.

Her quote? “When the going gets tough, just remember to Barium Carbon Potassium Thorium Astatine Arsenic Sulfur Uranium Phosphorus.” For those of you who aren’t up on your periodic table, the symbol for those elements translate to:

ywcgGBX

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The Ultimate TV Geek

Friday, May 16th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

CNN reports on Eretz Nehederet, Marcus’s first creation.

Omri Marcus is the #1 TV Geek you’ve never heard of. An Israeli journalist-turned-hit TV comedy writer, Marcus made it big thanks to his scientific understanding of comedy, a theory he delves into in a recent interview with Tablet magazine. The dialogue provides a fascinating look at Israeli television, an industry still cutting its teeth thanks to decades of gross nationalization. Until the introduction of foreign channels, the country lived off of one government-run station that began broadcasting in 1968. Color transmissions, a topic of great bureaucratic battles, didn’t begin until 1983. Hitting the industry on the cusp of change, Marcus, 34, helped launch the nation’s greatest comedy hit Eretz Nehederet (This Wonderful Country – think: SNL meets The Daily Show) from a hall closet next to a ladies’ bathroom. Now he’s sought out by TV execs around the globe.

Not ironically (he is a comedian, after all) Marcus made a funny observation about the one thing all TV writers’ rooms have in common:

“One of the best things about my work is that I’ve been to so many writer’s rooms all around the world and they’re basically the same anywhere,” Marcus said. “They are all dominated by a group of neurotic Jews. You know, my dream is to create the world’s largest Jewish writers’ room: German Jews and British Jews and American Jews and Israelis, all sitting together and writing jokes about how they’re not getting laid.”

So, do Jews run TV? Not quite:

“The fact that the world is this global village allows you to reduce the risks in making TV,” Marcus said. “You learn a lot from other countries, and we are all, after all, just storytellers. The stories we tell may differ in details, but they should all be appealing, with well-crafted characters, leaving viewers feeling as if they’ve spent their time wisely watching your show. By learning from each other, we’re able to create great, longer-lasting, and more meaningful content.”

Along with developing a rather scientific dating game involving Google glasses, the Huff-Po contributor maintains BizarreTV, a Facebook page where he chronicles the strangest television shows he’s encountered around the globe. My personal favorite is While You Were Sleeping:

How would you feel if you woke up in the middle of the night and discovered that you’re in the middle of a TV game show? ‘While You Were Sleeping’ is the first game show that gives you money while you’re fast asleep! In each episode one couple plays for a chance to win a cash prize. The twist – only one partner knows what’s going on! To stay in the game they must answer the trivia questions correctly, or risk performing a crazy and hilarious challenge – without waking up their partner!

Other shows featured include The Shower, in which contestants sing in the shower before a live studio audience, Guys in Disguise, a dating show that requires a woman to choose from 2 secret admirers dressed in bizarre costumes and I Wanna Marry “Harry” a new FOX dating game featuring a Prince Harry lookalike.

Currently working under an exclusive, multi-year deal with European media conglomerate ProSieben, chances are Marcus’s shows will be hitting American shores for decades to come.

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The #1 Worst New Sitcom for Fall

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Or, as Anthony Ha says, “There’s An Upcoming TV Show Called Selfie And I Hate Everything About It“:

Executive: God, I hate millennials.
Showrunner: Yeah, but they’d totally watch a show called Selfie.
Executive: A show … about taking photos?
Showrunner: No no no, that’s just hook, see? It’s really a way to talk about our modern condition as a technological society.
Executive: Forget millennials, I hate you.
Showrunner: (quickly) Not as a serious drama. As a comedy.
Executive: Really? How many jokes can you tell about … whatever the hell they’re called?
Showrunner: That’s the beauty of it. You don’t need jokes, because technology is inherently funny. We’ll just throw in lots of smartphone screenshots and random buzzwords like “Insta-famous” and “oh-em-gee” and the kids will laugh and laugh. You won’t have to hire any actual writers!

One of the funniest (fictional) prospective pitch dialogues I’ve read in a while, Ha’s attack on ABC’s horrible (and horribly over-promoted) new sitcom for the fall is only one of the many signs that Selfie promises to be about as big of a hit as Viva Laughlin, the CBS non-starter based on a BBC series titled Blackpool. But hey, two episodes is better than nothing, right? And in the words of The Soup‘s Joel McHale, “Why would you cancel that? We need that.” After all, a millennial non-starter pilot that rips off one of the most popular classic movies of all time does make great material for those of us who prefer to MST our TV shows.

The real loser in this is Karen Gillan, formerly of Doctor Who, now the “Eliza Doolittle” of Selfie, who will be yet another reminder to British actors (alongside Downton‘s Dan Stevens and Call the Midwife‘s Jessica Raine) that Hollywood plays a totally different game than does the BBC. I doubt that even the Doctor could save this network bomb.

Joel Hodgson, on the other hand….(watch video on next page)

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Debunking the Jewish Mother Stereotype

Sunday, May 11th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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What is wrong with my children? Why won’t they let me completely immerse myself in their lives?!

Beverly Goldberg, The Goldbergs

Last week, my husband and I fell over laughing at the best line in the entire first season of ABC’s The GoldbergsJust renewed for a second season, the autobiographical series created by Adam F. Goldberg (no relation) features, in his own words, “the orginial sMother” Beverly Goldberg, archetype of Jewish moms the world over. In his comic genius (complemented by Wendi McLendon-Covey’s masterful performance) Goldberg has managed to take a figure much-maligned over the past few decades and craft her into a clan leader who is as lovable as she is obnoxious.  With her ballsy, brash bravado, Beverly is the living, breathing Jewishness in a show otherwise lacking in Jewish culture. For The Goldbergs, Jewish is not about kashrut, holidays or simchas; it is about a mother who smothers her children with equal parts love, confidence, and overprotection.

Thanks to Freud and Friedan, Jewish moms have taken a beating over the past few decades. Friedan used her own mother’s discontent with being a housewife as the impetus for her brutal criticisms of motherhood and housewifery, going so far as to describe the latter using Holocaust imagery. What Friedan failed to note early on was the antisemitic influence on her mother’s behavior. Not only was her educated mother forced to become a housewife the minute she married, she was also the victim of lifelong antisemitic prejudice. This attitude, something internalized by both mother and daughter, would later come out in brute force through Friedan’s feminist critiques of the Jewish mother. It was a position that Friedan would eventually come to regret. According to historian Joyce Antler:

…in later life [Friedan] has joined the modern aspirations of feminism with the popular emblems of her Jewish heritage, understanding that the myth of a controlling, aggressive Jewish mother has been as dangerous to the self-esteem of Jewish women (including her own) as the earlier “feminine mystique” was to all women.

The real-life Beverly Goldberg views her son’s television show as a “validation of everything she’s ever done.” I’d take her observation a step further; I believe Adam F. Goldberg’s seemingly simple, humorous portrayal of “the original sMother”  is a much-needed cultural validation of the Jewish mother figure at large. Beverly Goldberg may not have the zaftig figure of her televisual predecessor Molly, but she has a zaftig heart, one that infuses the kind of family love into a sitcom setting that hasn’t existed since the Huxtables went off the air. In the midst of intense cultural debates on the value and future of motherhood, Beverly Goldberg’s intense devotion, undivided attention, and proclivity for jaws-of-life hugs are refreshing.

Happy sMother’s Day to Jewish moms around the globe. Just please remember to let your kids come up for air once in a while.

bevgoldberglocket

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Seth Meyers Isn’t Funny

Friday, April 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

When I’m watching late night talk shows, it’s generally Conan or Jimmy Kimmel. Fallon strikes me as lazy but he’s growing on me.

I caught last night’s Late Night with Seth Meyers show and, frankly, I wish I hadn’t. He’s terrible.

He should’ve lost me with the monologue, which was full of weak obviousness. He led with an Earth Day joke in which a guy scolded him about throwing away a banana peel.

Banana peels are biodegradable, but whatever. He did a joke about AOL, meatballs, the shrinking middle class, and a bunch of other totally forgettable one-liners. I challenge you to laugh at just one of his monologue jokes.

He did some canned bit about 1980s NFL pencils. I used to have several of those pencils, so I could identify with collecting them when you were a kid. But the bit was just bad.

He did a “Deep Google” bit which could’ve very been funny, but wasn’t funny at all. It came off as embarrassingly contrived. Maybe that’s his schtick?

He did a bit in which he got romantic with planet earth because of Earth Day. It was awful. Painfully unfunny. Here, watch it if you want to, but it’s 3:30 you’ll never get back.

Then he had Sofia Vergara on. She can light up a black hole, but Meyers’ segment with her — bad. No chemistry.

Then he had Natalie Dormer on. She’s on Game of Thrones and is now filming the next Hunger Games movie. Dormer has been on everything, from The Tudors to Elementary and now the most talked-about show on earth.

Meyers mostly talked with her about running.

So, Meyers had two gorgeous actresses who are at the top of their games on his set, one right after the other, and he still managed to not be very interesting. The show would have flowed better if he had been cut out of both of those interviews entirely.

I didn’t stick around after the Dormer interview.

****

Cross-posted from the PJ Tatler

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Bugs In Love Battle a Blackbird in Black and White

Friday, April 18th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Cartoon at Noon

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VIDEO: What Do Today’s Kids Think Of…The Walkman?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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We’ve seen to many changes in technology over the last generation or so that some of the greatest innovations from the childhood of a Generation X-er (like me) are completely obsolete today. For example, my nieces have been aware of what “listening to records” is for a long time because I have a record player at my house. But a couple of years ago, when the oldest of the girls, now 9, saw a record outside the sleeve for the first time, she said, “Wow! That’s a big CD!”

It’s fascinating to see kids react to older technology. The Fine Bros., who have created some of the funniest videos anywhere with the React Series on YouTube, have tackled that topic with their latest video, “Kids React To Walkmans.”

Of course the kids’ reactions are priceless. One girl immediately thinks she’s looking at a phone, while another, when she can’t figure out how to use it, exclaims, “I feel so judged right now!” The kids “ooh” and “ah” at the cassettes and laugh at the headphones — “My grandpa has some of these!” To a man – er, to a child – all of them prefer today’s digital technology to the old school cassette player. Then again, who wouldn’t? Check it out for yourself:

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The Marx Brothers As Cartoon Birds

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Cartoon at Noon

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BREAKING: Disney Parks Will Thaw Out Cryogenically Frozen Walt Disney For One Weekend Only

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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At a surprise press conference this morning, Disney CEO Bob Iger made the special announcement that the company will thaw out the cryogenically frozen body of Walt Disney to make appearances at both American theme parks. The once-in-a-lifetime appearances will take place Independence Day Weekend.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Walt will come back to life this summer at Disney Parks,” said Iger. “He will appear at Disneyland on Saturday, July 5. We’ll fly him to Orlando over night, and he’ll appear at Walt Disney World on Sunday, July 6.”

Iger did not take questions from the media, but he remarked that the corporate board decided on Independence Day Weekend because of Walt’s patriotism. The CEO also acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the upcoming events.

“We’ve been aware of the urban legends, and we’re proving that the legends are true,” he said. “We’ve never tried this before, so we’re hoping the thawing process isn’t messy, especially in the Florida summer heat.”

A spokesperson followed Iger’s remarks to announce that the company will release details on the appearances in June.

“We’re counting on everything going according to plan because we know just how much it will piss Michael Eisner off,” the spokesperson added.

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This Sandwich Told Me He Wants to Run for President

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 - by Jon Bishop

Standard-turkey-sandwichI met him at a small restaurant on a rainy Friday afternoon. He showed up at my table and said hello. I was surprised:  what was a toasted turkey sandwich doing at a burger joint?

And then he told me.

“I’m running for president,” he said.

He was unhappy with the rest of the menu. The candidates had too many tomatoes, too much honey mustard dressing. But he was just right.

I was skeptical. Many sandwiches have told me that they’re just right, and I believed them — only to be fooled in the end. They either tasted strangely or were overcooked or had missing ingredients.

I mentioned my concerns. He laughed. That’s why he was at the restaurant.

“I was hoping people would give me a chance. I didn’t want to be defined by the media,” he said.

It had happened before. He ran four years ago and was defeated when commentators found out that he contained cucumbers instead of pickles. Some of them tried to explain that pickles and cucumbers are, in fact, the same thing, but no one would hear it. They’d set the narrative. He was an elitist sandwich.

He wanted to know if I’d be willing to have a small bite. Right now? I asked. But I’d already eaten lunch. Still, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to sample a potential ’16 contender. So I obliged.

And man, was he good. He was honestly the best sandwich I’d ever tasted. I told him as much.

“Thanks,” he said. “Tell your friends. I want to start getting more name recognition.”

So that’s why I’m writing this post. Look out for turkey sandwich. Make sure you greet him when you see him sliding across town. Support him in the primaries.

He won’t let you down.

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Fast Food Vigilante Flips Lid Over Wrong Order

Friday, March 21st, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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Neither PJ Media nor this author condones violence for settling commercial disputes. That said, it’s hard not to sympathize with an Oklahoma guy who decided McDonald’s served him the wrong oder for the last time. From The Smoking Gun:

A female cashier told police that a vehicle came through the drive-thru late Tuesday night and the driver picked up an order. But after discovering that the McDonald’s bag was short an item, a male passenger became upset, according to police in Chickasha, a city 40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.

At that point, the suspect, who was in the vehicle’s back seat, pointed a gun at the employee and warned, “Don’t make me use this” and “Don’t let it happen again.”

We may never know, but it’s fair to bet this wasn’t the first time this suspect received an errant order from the drive-thru. God knows the rest of us have. While pulling a gun certainly amounts to an overreaction, we can imagine the train of thought which led to it.

How hard is it get a food order right? It seems especially egregious nowadays with all the technology and redundancies — computerized registers with pictures on the buttons, monitors for customers to verify orders, printed receipts to reference as a final check. How do you get it wrong? How?!

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Courtney Love Thinks She Has Found The Missing Malaysian Plane

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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Technology affords us the ability to take part in the news on a minute by minute basis — sometimes to a fault. Rocker Courtney Love has turned aviation expert and breaking news journalist and revealed her thoughts on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370:

Love says she thinks she may have found the plane using the web site Tomnod to view satellite images of the search area.

Love took to her Twitter account to announce the findings.

She points to what she says is an oil slick on one of the images.

Love claims the slick is located about a mile away from Pulau Perak, the last place the plane was tracked.

Here’s her twitter post:

Courtneytweet

When a follower disputed her claim, she provided photographic evidence:

Bi6mCbxCIAAbJo7

Who knows? Courtney Love may be on to something, but only if she can get someone to do a physical search of the area.

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Why The 3 Best Monty Python Sketches Aren’t Necessarily the Funniest

Sunday, March 16th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in January of 2013. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 25 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.

Monty Python saved my life.

I was ten years old in 1974, when the Buffalo PBS station across the lake began airing the iconoclastic BBC comedy series every Friday night.

Being stuck in a cheap, dinky apartment that overlooked a burned-out church, with my bullying alcoholic stepfather and a meek, “see no evil” mother, surrounded at school by more extroverted, rough-and-tumble classmates — and very likely, without knowing it, clinically depressed — that half hour once a week sitting two feet from the TV was one of the only things I felt I had to look forward to.

Maybe ever, I thought at the time.

Ironically, my crappy stepfather was the one who turned me on to the show.

The first night, he “made” me watch it, the same way he was always trying to “make” me get a suntan or take up horseback riding or keep all the closet and cupboard doors in the house either open or closed depending on his inscrutable whim of the week.

My pouty resentment faded fast. For whatever reason — the cool accents, the breathless pace, the tame “naughtiness,” the “question authority” iconoclasm, the ineffable cuteness of Michael Palin — I got hooked on Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

In high school, I finally met a couple of girls who shared my passion, and we became those insufferable sorts who communicate almost entirely in Python (and SCTV) catchphrases.

I bought all the Python’s albums and books by and about them, and repeatedly signed out hard to find titles from the library, like the one detailing their lawsuits and censorship battles.

(Which I suppose helps explain my enthusiasm for trouble-making and my relative indifference to being sued and otherwise denounced and condemned.)

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He’s Got the Moves Like Putin

Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

According to NBC News, the Pentagon has spent $300,000 over the past 5 years to study the grooves of such creepy world leaders as Osama bin Laden and Vladimir Putin, believing that their body movements will aide in predicting their “future decisions and actions”.

 The program called the “Body Leads Project” released a 2008 report entitled “Movement, The Brain and Decision-making, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.” Pentagon researchers again studied the Russian president in 2012, Defense Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

…While the results of the research is not classified, Kirby said Friday the Pentagon has no intention of publicly releasing the two previous reports on Putin to the media.

The body movement projects are conducted under the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment which provides updated thinking and insights regarding a wide range of military and foreign policy issues.

The news comes as U.S. lawmakers are asking the Obama Administration why the Russian leader’s military movements in the Crimea came as such a surprise to the White House.

“I guess we just don’t dance to the same music,” Obama responded. He then issued an executive order requiring all State Department officials to spend their weekend partying in Russian underground clubs throughout the D.C. area.

“It’s not like they aren’t doing it already. And who could blame them? Anna Chapman was hot,” Obama remarked on the order, referencing the Russian national who was deported in 2010 for spying on the U.S. government. When asked about the potential security breaches posed by such an executive order, President Obama was quick to add, “Hey, my pen and my phone are scanned every day for the latest in spy technology. The decision making of this administration goes through me, and I go through that phone and that pen. We’re air-tight.”

In an effort to boost knowledge of Putin’s moves, the Obama Administration has also sought out Russian singer Eduard Khil, a.k.a. Mr. Trololo. Khil became famous for improvising a musical performance on live television after Soviet censors banned 3 consecutive versions of the song’s lyrics for being too pro-American.

“We’ve elected to transform our free-form performance art, meditation, and yoga, eco-friendly breakroom space into a dance studio for intelligence purposes,” one State Department official detailed on condition of anonymity. “I mean, it’s not like we’re doing it at a corporate retreat, so we won’t get in trouble for blowing taxpayer money on it like the IRS did.”

Do you have the moves like Putin? The Obama Administration wants you. The big 3 television networks are already in talks with Valerie Jarrett to produce the first ever reality talent competition Intelligence Idol to recruit new intelligence agents. Contestants would submit personal dance videos via YouTube for consideration by a panel of judges rumored to include Jennifer Lopez, Joe Biden, and at least one Drag Queen Skyping in from Kadena Air Base.

One reporter did question the cost of the Pentagon research, stating, “If you really wanted to understand Putin, couldn’t you have bought enough copies of Disinformation for the entire staff with the money you threw away on that ridiculous study?”

“Two legs good, four legs better…to dance on you with,” was the official response.

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