Happy April Fish Day

fishday

As the youngest of three siblings, the arrival of April Fools’ day was never exactly a reason to celebrate. As a kid, I recall awakening — breathless, disoriented, in a cold sweat — to the sight of my sister bleeding-out on my bedroom floor, a butcher knife jutting out from her armpit. (Yes, that happened.) My brother, not interested in “Harold & Maude” theatrics, would opt instead for pain, cackling “April Fools” as he smacked me upside the head with his palm, the stone from his high school ring turned inward to underscore the joy of the occasion. Hitting me didn’t exactly qualify as a prank I’d foolishly try to explain. Judging by his laughter, it fit the bill for him.

On this day devoted to pranking, I can at least take a bit of solace in knowing that I’m not the only fool. Cultures across the globe have long celebrated a “Fools Day” at the onset of spring to facilitate the humiliation of the weak, the young, and the naive. Keep Reading

Your Phone Is Ruining You For Us

I find it impossible to write fiction that’s set after 2002. Not because I’m a Gen-Xer waxing nostalgic about relaxing to Morcheeba on a distastefully stained sofa I found partially torn apart by a dog in an alley. (Oh, the glamour.) It’s just that it’s inconceivable to depict contemporary times authentically without including interludes where characters stare at their cell phones instead of advancing their plotlines – their lives – towards some conclusion. Which is, as a thing to read, mind-numbingly dull. Unless I write “and then his Galaxy 4’s battery died” no one can ever get lost, forget an important fact, meet a partner outside of a dating site, or do anything that doesn’t eventually have them picking up a phone. So I’m stuck writing about an era where Ethan Hawke was considered the pinnacle of manliness.

On average, people spend 119 tedious minutes staring at their cell phones each day (and that’s according to a UK phone provider). That’s 43,435 minutes annually. Thirty days a year. The month of June. Sure, a portion of those minutes is spent doing useful things. But most involve time-killing activities like playing Bubble Safari or pinning photos of cronuts to our Pinterest walls. It’s a substantial chunk of the year for our plotlines to stand still.

More at The Awl.

The Times printed a 1000 word smear piece on de Blasio accusing him of being a thoughtful leader who listens to people

Given the Times‘ disappointing endorsement of Christine “no specific plan to require the richest New Yorkers to pay more in taxes” Quinn for mayor, this odd piece on de Blasio is hardly surprising. It’s central premise suggests that the mayor of New York can only govern adequately by being a narcissistic prick, like Bloomberg or Giuliani.

The Times sums up its position at the top of the piece: “an examination of Mr. de Blasio’s management of Mrs. Clinton’s first run for office, however, reveals that his inclinations — inclusive and easygoing but frequently indecisive — could be agonizingly inefficient in a high-pressure, ever-shifting situation.”

Agonizingly inefficient? Ouch.

Then, they spend the rest of the piece admonishing him for being, brace yourself, a thoughtful team player. Here are some of the more damning and scandalous accusations from the article, “In 2000, a War Room Didn’t Fit de Blasio’s Style.”

Bill de Blasio is:

• “very friendly”

• “a good listener.” [Read more...]

Seven Great Under-the-Radar Christmas Albums

It’s that time of the year again when new indie renditions of syrupy holiday songs are shared by music snobs who wouldn’t touch Harry Connick’s Auld Lang Syne with Michael Bublé’s Mele Kalikimaka. There are definitely some strong releases to be discovered including Sufjan Stevens’ latest holiday collection, Silver and Gold, though, admittedly, you’ll feel so twee listening to it you’ll hallucinate rainbow-colored snowmen. Still, do we really need to hear Arcade Fire cover “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” or Neon Vulva’s chillwave take on “Sleigh Ride?” Regrettably, most of the alternative holiday songs shared around this time of the year rival the traditional schlock in corniness.

More at The Awl.

Coming Next Year: Summer 2013 Movie Preview

Via The Morning News

With blockbusters like Snow White and the Huntsman, Zombie Overkill, and Yahtzee: Alien Invasion, it’s already a smash hit for summer movies. But serious film buffs know Summer 2012 will be even better—and we’re not just talking about Jerry Bruckheimer’s live-action Hungry Hungry Hippo Apocalypse.

Justice League Avengers: Manchild Uprising
DC and Marvel Comics unite for the first time on the big screen. When an army of middle-aged men in Iron Man T-shirts storm the Justice League to avenge the heresy of merging the two comic book universes, heroes from DC and Marvel team up to protect superherokind. In addition to Aquaman, Superman, and Captain America, Justice League Avengers will feature less familiar superheroes such as Bolphunga, Cicada, King Tut, Poundcakes, Thundarr, Valerie Van Haaften, Ferret Boy, and the Green Juggalo. (Cameos by the Hulk, Thor, and Zach Galifianakis.)

Margot Tenenbaum vs. Max Fischer
In the tradition of Alien vs. Predator, director Wes Anderson plots Margot and Max—his two most memorable twee creations—in an epic battle to see who can be the most adorably precious. Early teasers hint at plotlines including a Trapper Keeper, a Bunsen burner, an extinct bird known as the Slender-Billed Curlew, alphabet refrigerator magnets, and Bill Murray in a tweed suit. With fonts including Rotis Semi Serif and Berthold Light Condensed Italic. Music by Sufjan Stevens and Crocheted Lampshade.

Read it all here.