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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

Courtney

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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What Happens When A Fake Chef Invades Your Local Morning Show?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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Morning show anchors at local news affiliates have an unenviable job, especially when they have to interview oddball guests. One of those guests making the rounds after Thanksgiving was Chef Keith Guerke, plugging his cookbook Leftovers Right: Making A Winner Out Of Last Night’s Dinner.

The problem is, Keith Guerke isn’t a chef – or a real person, for that matter, and his book doesn’t exist either. The stunt sprung from the minds of comedians Nick Preuher and Joe Pickett and their troupe, the Found Footage Festival. Preuher appeared on local news shows in Illinois and Wisconsin, promoting disgusting recipes with bogus statistics and made up anecdotes. He bumbled through his presentations and even talked one anchor into beatboxing while he rapped.

The results are hilarious. Sit back and enjoy, as these poor hosts gamely go along with Chef Keith and his horrid recipes.

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The New Hipster Trend – Beard Transplants

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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The scientific advancements we’ve seen the last few years stagger the imagination. Among these revolutions in the medical realm is the hair transplant. But, lest you think hair transplants are only for the guys you see on local television ads with a sad visage in a “before” image and a convertible and a hot babe in the “after” shot, one group of guys is taking advantage of hair transplant technology in a new way. The latest trend in the hipster world is the beard transplant:

Stubble-challenged guys are forking over up to $8,500 for the beard-boosting procedure, which has spiked in popularity in recent months, plastic surgeons told The Post.

“Brooklyn is probably the nucleus of the trend, it’s the hipster ‘look’ guys want. If you have a spotty beard, and you let it grow out, it looks sloppy, ” said Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, a Midtown-based plastic surgeon.

“[Clients] want full beards because it’s a masculine look. Beards are an important male identifier,” he added.

I guess these hipster guys need a “male identifier” to counter the decidedly non-masculine look of the deep v-neck t-shirts and skinny jeans rolled up too high. In a lovely bit of irony, some hipsters make use of the transplants to look older:

One happy patient  is Danny, 27, whose beard used to be so patchy, he was forced to “fill it in” with an eyebrow pencil, he said.

Two years ago, he paid $8,500 for the surgery, which he considers a fashion statement.

“I have a baby face but now I’m able to look older. My fashion statement is a little edgy, and I do like the ‘rugged look,’” he said.

He added, “It’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.”

While others go for the procedure to look younger:

A 39-year-old New Yorker, who works in catering industry,  got a beard transplant to make him feel younger, DNAinfo.com reported.

“I had contemplated [getting a beard transplant] for approximately eight months,” he said, “Knowing the results, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time deciding,” he said.

$8,500 for facial hair. Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.

 (h/t to Kathy Shaidle)

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The Crisis You Won’t Hear About In The Mainstream Media: A National Clown Shortage!

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

Clowns

In an era where problems abound – issues like the threat of a nuclear Iran, runaway federal spending, and an overreaching executive branch – it’s important to focus on the most urgent crises facing this country: a potential nationwide clown shortage! Fortunately, the New York Daily News is on top of it for all of us in this exclusive report:

As the “Greatest Show on Earth” returns to Brooklyn Thursday, circus folk fear a national clown shortage is on the horizon.

Membership at the country’s largest trade organizations for the jokesters has plunged over the past decade as declining interest, old age and higher standards among employers align against Krusty, Bozo and their crimson-nosed colleagues.

“What’s happening is attrition,” said Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger, who added that membership at the Florida-based organization has plummeted since 2006. “The older clowns are passing away.”

Membership at the World Clown Association, the country’s largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.

Of course the clowning industry (and I can’t believe I just used that phrase) knows the solution to their problem – getting more kids and teens to consider clowning as a career.

“The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,” said Association President Deanna (Dee Dee) Hartmier, who said most of her members are over 40.

Kohlberger said that it’s difficult getting younger people who develop an early interest in the many facets of clowning to stick with it on the professional level.

“What happens is they go on to high school and college and clowning isn’t cool anymore,” he said. “Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s.”

Cyrus Zavieh, the president of New York Clown Alley, a group that boasts 45 members across the New York area, said clowns can pull in up to $300 for a birthday party — but that’s hardly a financial incentive for many young people.

“American kids these days are thinking about different careers altogether,” said Zavieh, 44, who has worked under the moniker Cido for nearly two decades.

“They’re thinking about everything other than clowning.”

It’s up to this generation of parents to reverse this alarming trend. Instead of encouraging your sons and daughters to become doctors or lawyers or grooming them to carry on the family business, why not gently nudge them toward the noble art of clowning? We know from the clowning associations that it’s a challenging, multi-faceted, and rewarding career. Think about the joy you’d have as a parent watching your child entertaining thousands at The Greatest Show on Earth! Or imagine your pride as the clown you raised makes a little one scream and cower in fear.

None of us want to have to say one day in the future, “Remember clowns?” Don’t let these delightful entertainers become extinct. Don’t let clowning go the way of the Victrola or the black and white console television. Now is the time to ensure the future of clowning for future generations. For the children.

Unless clowns creep you or your kids out. In that case, never mind.

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If You Could Have a Private Dinner with Any 5 Presidents, Whom Would You Pick?

Monday, February 17th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle offers his choices to get the discussion going…

Venue: Club 33 at DisneyLand

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5 Presidents:

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1. and 2. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams together.

3. Abraham Lincoln

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4. Ronald Reagan

5. Valerie Jarrett

This dinner would last approximately 12 hours and would include multiple courses. It would need to take that long because its purpose would be to give Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, and Reagan the opportunity to convert the current shadow president, Valerie Jarrett, to the ideology that unites the four of them — revolutionary classical liberalism. Afterwards, her brain finally dethawed from the socialist ice box, having realized the great evil she has perpetrated against the American people, she would resign from the Obama administration and provide Republicans with the evidence needed to impeach the president, in exchange for immunity from prosecution and for agreeing to assist the 2016 Republican nominee defeat Joe Biden (the only Democrat remaining who will be dumb enough, and untainted by whole-scale criminality, to try and run). With Jarrett having renounced her faith in Alinskyite stealth socialism, and converted to Christianity or Judaism (let’s pretend the latter — as that’s more amusing), Hillary will be horrified. She’ll know that at this point Jarrett has collected too much dirt on her to even survive a primary, and she’ll retreat to her back-up, Plan B identity of finally divorcing Bill and then reinventing herself as a New Age Oprah-style Baby Boomer goddess feel-good cultural figure.

That’s, of course, if we imagine that Hillary would avoid being swept up in the Obama administration prosecutions. Surely someone would roll over on her at that point, right? As the ship sinks, all the rats will flee. Or does Jarrett have the evidence on hand that she needs to make sure Hillary is no longer a threat to anyone?

Hey, if we’re dreaming of a fantasy dinner with presidents, might as well dream big, right?

***

image via eater.com

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Stripping Down for the Motherland

Monday, February 3rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
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Freestyle skier Ekaterina Stolyarova

 

In the best PR stunt since Putin’s shirtless hunting and fishing expedition, Russia’s female Olympic athletes have stripped down to welcome the world to Sochi.

The country that used to permit the performance of “Can’t Buy Me Love” on the grounds that it was a song critical of prostitution in the West has no problem pimping out its female athletes to soften its rather uptight image ahead of the Olympic Games. The salacious images portray female athletes in poses more typical of lingerie models, pole dancers, and strippers than skiers, curlers and hockey players.

Russian male athletes have yet to pony up to the cameras and bare near-all.

When asked how photos of nearly naked female athletes will quell the concerns surrounding the Sochi games, including “disputes about homophobia, world leaders refusing to attend, and mega-security  at Sochi,” the response received was: “It is democratic to look at half naked women. Women are beautiful.  Everyone likes a pretty girl. Which is why we send ugly ones to Siberia.”

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Curler Ekaterina Galkina

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BREAKING: Stand-Up Comedians Are Crazy

Friday, January 24th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Splitsider — a website by and for stand-up comics — called it “one of the most obvious findings ever”:

…a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry has confirmed that comedians possess more psychotic characteristics compared to their non-comedian peers. The researchers asked 523 comedians from Australia, Britain, and the U.S. to complete an online questionnaire designed to measure levels of four psychotic traits — “unusual experiences,” “cognitive disorganization,” “introvertive anhedonia,” and “impulsive non-conformity.” Unsurprisingly, the comedians ranked high in their levels of all four psychotic behavior indicators.

“The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis – both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” said Gordon Claridge of the University of Oxford’s department of experimental psychology, who led the study.

Although the traits in question are known as “psychotic”, Claridge said, they can also represent healthy equivalents of features such as moodiness, social introversion and the tendency to lateral thinking.

“Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humor, in its lesser form it can increase people’s ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think ‘outside the box’,” he said.

“Equally, manic thinking – which is common in people with bipolar disorder – may help people combine ideas to form new, original and humorous connections.”

Say, did you know the working title for Woody Allen’s Annie Hall was Anhedonia?

So there’s that.

And there’s an entire — highly recommended — podcast devoted solely to mental illness and stand-up comedians.

(And I’m not talking about Marc Maron’s WTF. Although I could be, because man, oh man, have you ever listened to that thing?)

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Girls: Take This Tour and Shove It

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Newest SNL actor Sasheer Zamata hosts a Girls walking tour of Brooklyn via Above Average. It’s a tight skit with a lot of great one liners like, ”Cafe Grumpy: It’s where Hannah works and they have a drink there called ‘The Hannah’ and…it’s an 8 dollar cup of coffee.” Funny enough, although the real humor in the sketch is that the black fan of a critically defined “all-white-girls” show is being portrayed by a talented black actress who was brought onto SNL to fulfill the critics’ affirmative action casting quota.

The sketch clashes with reality on another note: For many Brooklyn natives, the Girls have worn out their welcome. Citing an increase in obnoxious tourists seeking photographs of baristas at Cafe Grumpy, the New York Daily News reports:

“The booksellers at Spoonbill and Sugartown on Bedford Ave. are similarly perplexed by the influx of millennials who show up and recreate the show’s seminal kissing scene in the stacks.

…It gets worse. The show has even spawned its own guidebook — as if HBO’s “take hipsterism and add water” needed more explanation.

“The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York” invites struggling twentysomethings to “get to know New York the way the ‘Girls’ know it.”

But real New York “girls” aren’t buying it.

“I hate anything that puts a label on what we’re doing. I came here to live outside of the box, not in one,” says Johanna Hickey, 31, who works three jobs and lives in Greenpoint. ‘It pisses me off.’”

Spoken like a true New Yorker.

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5 Dogs on Youtube Who Really Need to Get it Together

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Cute Animal Videos

As introduced and curated today by PJ Lifestyle contributor Becky Graebner:

1. Poncho the Dachshund who decided to go into the “family business” and become a hot dog

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Texas Man Kills Bigfoot

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 - by Stephen Green
Bigfoot pictured here in happier times.

Bigfoot pictured here in happier times.

Texas man kills Bigfoot, plans to take on tour:

“It is the real deal,” [Bigfoot hunter Rick Dyer] told the station. “It’s Bigfoot and Bigfoot’s here, and I shot it and now I’m proving it to the world.”

Dyer, who did not return a request for comment, has yet to release more pictures and the results of these tests, but he has shown about 130 people the body in a video of their reactions.

Many of the people seemed convinced as they entered the vehicle and looked down at the body, which apparently has been preserved quite well considering it was killed 16 months ago.

“Oh my gosh. Why is he so tall?” asked one boy in the video.

“Because he’s Bigfoot, man!” Dyer explained.

Everything’s bigger in Texas.

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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