Archive for the ‘Debate’ Category

Simsbury, Connecticut has been making news lately with their retro-styled ban against “dirty dancing.”

No, they’re not taking a stand against the Swayze or the Great Grey Schnoz. They are actually talking about the moves the kids do when they’re out on the floor. Students have responded by boycotting previously popular dances – after the prohibition was put into place only three tickets were sold to the next dance.

The AP writes… “Despite the boycotts, school officials have no plans to allow booty dancing, also known as freaking, grinding, or back-to-front dancing.”

That is some serious reporting! That is legitimately the most entertaining sentence I have ever read in a newspaper.

The article details the change of heart experienced by Chris Meyer, Simsbury High’s senior class president. After chaperoning a dance for 7th and 8th graders, he too was grossed out by seeing people younger than him do the dirty.

In case you’re still unclear about what the dirty is, Principal Sullivan details it for you here, in a memo to parents:

In the kind of dancing that we are seeing, the male student stands directly behind the female student…He then places his hands either on his partner’s hips or around her midsection. At the same time, he presses his pelvic region against his partner’s buttocks. As the music plays, the students then thrust or grind to the beat of the music… Sometimes, girls will even bend over as they dance, placing their hands on the floor while their male partner grinds against their backside.

They then get pregnant.

No, but seriously, it is an important omitted fact that we are also talking about so many 14 year-old boners that it is totally fucking disgusting.

In the effort to stop the OOC development of high schoolers’ sexualities, the school is making previously well attended and well chaperoned events obselete…. yes. That is a smart solution. Don’t keep them sequestered within the well guarded corners of the school gym. Send them out into the fields of Simsbury to do it in the back of someone’s old Volvo.

OK, I have in fact chaperoned dances for teenagers and that shit is gross. No doubt about it. But that’s the way it goes. I think we all know that.

The real shining star of this episode is Sullivan’s detailed account of the dance acts. I LOVE IT.


Get into me or get over me.

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Word on the street, the gossip street, is Ash Olsen and Jared Leto, who I for personal reasons now hate, and by personal reasons I mean not personal at all, are dating. (Please refer to BK Skeptic’s Jared Leto – Jordan Catalano Debate for further reference on the topic.) The two apparently “turned heads while holding hands at the Art of Elysium gala in L.A. on Jan. 12.”


This basically confirms my belief that Jared Leto is gross. Not because he’s old, which he is, but because he seems to go after the young ones. First there was Scarlett Jo and then Lindsay Lohan, both had just barely hit the tender age of 18 before giving in to Leto’s advances. It’s like he knows, knows there is an Angela Chase inside us all.

Oh well, I suppose, in the end, Leto’s a step up from Lance Armstrong. Way to pick ’em, Ash.

The Jared Leto Debate:

#1 Jared Is a Douche.

#2 No, He Is Not.

#3 Yes, He Is.

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Ethanol or Ethan Hawke? A possibly sustainable alternative fuel or a faded star with a history of sexual infidelity?

 So in order to debate the issue, we need to know a little bit about them. The type of ethanol that is the current media darling is Corn-Based Ethanol. When I first heard about this I was like, what? Seriously, the government is taking an alternative and renwable fuel source seriously? Awesome! But eeh, these guys are usually on the wrong side of things, what’s the catch? I hope there isn’t one…….

Hmm. Oh wait. Of course there’s a catch. The catch is corn. Corn is something you should know about, and be thinking about, regardless of whether or not you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma (which you might want to consider, as it is fun to read and pretty interesting).

One basic thing to know is that corn is in everything we eat. It is there to hang out and add calories. Now, I know as soon as you mention ‘calories’ you sound like a one-apple-a-day-eating-livejournaling freak (perhaps like Ethan Hawkes’ ex? interesting….) but it’s important. Adding corn syrup is food manufacturers’ way of bulking up a product, making it look and taste more like food, without actually adding any nutritional value. It’s like the Rosie O’Donnell of food (not that The View was so nutritious to begin with).

Check the back of your bread package. Chances are, unless you buy organic or some other kind of ‘specialty’ bread, corn syrup is the second ingredient. Hmmm, right. You don’t need me to tell you, that doesn’t belong.  You don’t need me to tell you, it will make you fatter and take away delicious calories you could use elsewhere, like, for this. Mmmm.

So anyway, the point is that corn makes its way into everything, corn farmers get huge subsidies from the government for growing things that make us fatter and more diabetic, and oh right, it’s also totally genetically modified and freaky (like Gattaca maybe? interesting….).

When I said “corn farmers” up there, it’s important to note that I don’t mean happy jolly feel-good farmers, I mean huge huge HUGE businesses like Archer-Daniels Midland and Monsanto. They get the vast majority of the millions of dollars the government spends on farm subsidies, and they use much of it to produce corn, much of which is for corn syrup and animal feed (cows and salmon and other such animals are trained to eat corn-based feed instead of their natural foods and it makes them fatter and, right, us who eat them fatter).

So who stands to gain from a push for corn-based ethanol? Those guys.  Those already super rich and just gonna get richer guys.

Alternative fuels are a totally good idea, much like a movie version of Fast Food Nation. However, it’s not such a good movie to watch, and corn-based ethanols are already driving up the price of food around the world. People in Mexico have been protesting in huge numbers the 60% (!!) increase in the price of corn tortillas that has already happened, and some economists are estimating rises in the US as high as 14% for milk and 21% for a dozen eggs.

“The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world’s 2 billion poorest people.”


So, what’s the answer? Another term you might have heard is cellulosic ethanol – it just means stuff made from plants. Any plants. Different plants take different amounts of pollution to make into fuel, and different plants’ fuels result in different amounts of pollution. Corn is not the best. Different plants do different things to the soil – some are better for it and some are worse. Corn is worse.

Just a few things to think about as we move into our debate: Ethanol vs. Ethan Hawke. Hmmm. 

The truth (duh) is that Dead Poets Society (oh god my heart!) will win out over any fuel, ever, be it cellulosic ethanol or trillium or coal.

I encourage you to continue the debate with your friends and onlookers.

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*Comments in italics are brought to you by an Instant Message conversation between Recklesley and Johnbaptisedme, as they simultaneously watched the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars.” (Although, Johnbaptised me was a little behind, since she had dvr’d the first hour. But she eventually caught up to Recklesley and the rest of America. Like the champ that she is.)

Johnb: I’m not really into this season of “Dancing.”
Reck: Yeah.
Johnb: I can sense it already.

That being said, I hope you enjoy our review.

-Ian Ziering and Cheryl-


Recklesley: Well, Ian, now that I know who you are, it occurs to me that I couldn’t care less about you. Your incredibly limited acting career is probably the impetus for you competing in this show. You’re hungry, aren’t you.

Johnbaptisedme: Ouch. Way to rip Ian a new one, Recklesley. I for one, am rooting for Ian. Sure he hasn’t done much with his career post Bev nine-oh, but neither has Jason Priestly. And you know what? I still love Jason. And so would you, if you knew who he was. Which I’m sure you don’t. Burn.

Johnb: Ian’s good. Good form.
Johnb: He’s much cuter now than he ever was on 90210.
Johnb: It’s weird how men age more gracefully than women.

(A young Steve Saunders.)

-Paulina and Alec-

Johnbaptisedme: For those of you who don’t know, Alec won the very first “Dancing with the Stars.” He is very, very attractive, and a good dancer as well. His partner however, is a dumb model. I don’t enjoy watching these two together.

(At this time Recklesley decided to disrupt the the flow of our AIM conversation, and take a shower. She has no comments for this pair.)

Johnb: I love Alec. The hot professional.
Reck: You’re so gay for this show.

-Billy Ray and Karina-

Johnbaptisedme: Karina had the best partner last season. Mario Lopez. Lopez was the closest thing to a professional dancer this competition has ever seen. This season Karina has the worst partner. Billy Ray Cyrus. Billy is so bad, I think he’s the reason there were no coffee cups at my work this morning.

(Recklesley– still showering.)

Johnb: Billy Ray Cyrus. Haha.
Johnb: Wtf. This is insane.
Johnb: He is so bad.

Johnb: That made me feel weird.
Reck: John Ratzenberger just gave me a hard on.
Reck: That makes me feel weird.
Johnb: Haha.

-Leeza and Tony-

Johnbaptisedme: This is the stupidest team. Both these people are awful. And I think Tony might actually be my arch nemesis.

Recklesley: At this point I was done with my shower, but I was hiding out in my room listening to Leeza be incredibly dumb. I decided to just wait it out. But yeah, that guy’s eyebrows are freaking me out. I see why you hate him.

Johnb: I hate this guy’s guts.
Johnb: This is the most boring performance I’ve ever seen.
Reck: I didn’t see them.
Johnb: You didn’t miss much.

-Joey Fatone and Kym-

Recklesley: How is Joey Fatone not considered a professional dancer? He spent the better part of my teenagerhood dancing around behind Justin (who is also a professional dancer), making like 75 billion dollars. Literally, this was his job, thus he is a professional. I loved the look of shock and dismay on the judges’ faces when they saw how great a dancer he was. P. R. O. F. E. S. S. I. O. N. A. L.

Johnbaptisedme: The thing is, Recklesley, you didn’t watch last season. If you had, you would know that Mario Lopez was a better dancer than Joey, not to mention the fact that he has the body of an Adonis. So that may be why the judges were surprised. Since on paper, someone like Joey, in spite of his formal boy band training, wouldn’t seem like a very good (ballroom) dancer.

(Yeah, I don’t really know what my point is either. I think it has something to do with Joey seeming like he wouldn’t be that great. Maybe?)

Recklesley: You know as well as I do, that even on Saved By The Bell, Mario Lopez was an amazing dancer. He’s clearly a classically trained ballerino, even though that is not his primary profession. Nevertheless, I believe the reason that they had dancing at all on SBTB was because of Mario’s mad skills. I draw your attention to the dance competition episode where Lisa Turtle’s leg was broken and she and Screech hobbled/danced and everyone was so inspired they joined in. Um, but also Slater danced in the competition and we was abnormally graceful for a meat-head 16 year old.

Johnbaptisedme: Wait, I do know as well as you. I already stated Mario Lopez was a superb dancer. Are you drunk?

Recklesley: It’s confusing to write this.

Johnb: Aw, I love Joey Fat One.
Reck: I know.
Johnb: He’s gonna win it.

-Laila Ali and Maksim-

Recklesley: At the risk of sounding like a “wussy with a p,” holy shit. Laila Ali scares me to my core. I hesitate to call her a man, but…

Johnb: I agree. Laila Ali could totally beat me to a pulp. But then again, so could Clay Aiken.

Reck: She’s a total dude. I feel bad about saying that, as a liberated woman.
Johnb: It’s fine. She is a dude.
Johnb: Yo, her voice is mad low.

-John and Edyta-

Recklesley: I told Johnbaptised me that this performance gave me a hard on. I was lying. This performance actually gave me about eight years of psychotherapy and a cutting problem.

Johnbaptisedme: Recklesley is clearly new to the “Dancing with the Stars” game. Otherwise, she would know that John Ratzenberger is actually quite good, for his age….and build. Frankly, watching Sara Evans strut her stuff last season was far more disturbing. And gross. Not to mention the fact that her partner was Tony, as in, “I hate his guts” Tony. Um, scroll up if you’ve already forgotten who my arch nemesis is. (It’s Tony.)

Johnb: This performance gave you a hard on?
Reck: No, I was kidding.
Johnb: Oh, I think he’s great.
Johnb: I’d vote for him.

(And I did. Just kidding. I vote for no one.)

-Shandi and Brian-

Recklesley: Oh Brian, you are gay. Shhhhh…I know. It’s okay. I know you’re not ready to own it yet, but once you do, life will open up wonderful, fulfilling doors for you. Your “look how straight I am” show with Shandi was amateur, at best. You should look to Ziering for some acting tips.

Johnbaptisedme: I wholeheartedly agree with Recklesley on this one. Also, I hate this pair. I fall asleep just thinking about them. Because they are b o r i n g. Also, take a good look at this guy. Do you think he signed off on this picture to be his representative photo?

Johnb: This guy’s a freak.
Reck: I know. They’re bad.
Reck: But they’re clearly fucking already.
Johnb: I think he might be gay.
Reck: He does seem gay, but clearly he doesn’t think he is.
Johnb: Oh yeah, he definitely doesn’t know he’s gay.

(At this point, Johnbaptisedme’s Internet connection broke. Therefore, the AIM review was brought to a sudden end.)

-Clyde and Elena-

Recklesley: Clyde is tall. Elena is short. Ha ha ha.

Johnbaptisedme: I like Clyde. He seems like a gentle giant.

-Heather and Jonathan-

Recklesley: Happy her leg stayed on. Feel bad about everything else I’m thinking.

Johnbaptisedme: I was nervous watching Heather. But she did well, I think. My opinion may be swayed. Swayed because she only has one fully functioning leg. But either way, I don’t want to go to hell. So I’m going to stop critiquing her.

From earlier in the evening:
Johnb: Heather Mills
Johnb: How is this going to work?
Reck: I don’t know.

-Apolo and Julianne-

Recklesley: Apolo, shave that shit off your face. And grow some mystique.

Johnbaptisedme: I don’t enjoy this couple. I can’t fully get behind Apolo, for Winter Olympics ’02 reasons. (Remember the whole South Korea debacle?) Just kidding. Apolo’s cool. Despite the facial hair. But that girl is so young. Too young. Stupid.

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Pool is passé.

I’m going to break it to you, there are no longer guys in fedoras tapping their wingtips to the jukebox, with a cigarette between their fingers. It’s been replaced by frat boys in polo shirts & baseball caps, or suits with loosened ties. All the romance is gone and has been replaced by a certain banality.

Bocce doesn’t need to get people to pay for it. They know they’ve created a group of individuals who will come to the only bars in Brooklyn (owned by the same person) to get their bocce fix. They’ve created a subculture who crave their hands around their large balls. They will come week after week, set up leagues, and practically live at these bars. Do we need it in more places? No. And I like it that way. Pool you can go almost anywhere. I can barely walk down the street without running into a pool table.

And I’m sorry, something is wrong if you think handling a small stick and delicately hitting small balls is somehow tough. All that green felt is simply bourgeois. Bocce requires you to get down in the dirty court, pick up balls with your bare hands, and throw it down a court. You really learn to channel a more primal energy. You call that cute? Obviously you also haven’t heard the smack talk that goes on.

You have to accept that bocce is the new hotness, while pool is the old hotness…which can’t be anything but lukewarm.

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I don’t think the word ethereal has ever been used in relation to a game where you lob large circular objects onto a court in an effort to knock other balls out of the way. However my point was not that Bocce is ugly. More that Bocce is, in a word, cute. Bocce is billiards’ cute indy-rock girlfriend who is a little more shy and less overtly sexy. Billiards, on the other hand, is slightly more out of one’s league (pun sooo intended). Billiards has a series of shiny, colorful balls and a beautiful green felt table with six evenly placed leather pockets. And you use a looonng, shiny, aerodynamic, wooden stick that you know you just want to wrap your hands around and….. Ahem. Chalk.

Anyway, again, bocce is definitely hot. Its balls just aren’t as polished.

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Bocce is, perhaps, the hottest game in the history of bar sports. It doesn’t have to hit you over the head with its overtly sexual equipment (cue, balls, holes, etc.) – it’s a demure game with dignity, class, and a regal aura. Sure it’s easy to look sexy while splayed out on a table, man-handling a huge stick. That’s some rookie shit. All of the sexiness in bocce emanates from a player alone on the court, the envy of the entire bar. That player in untouchable. And as we all know, the hottest person in the room is the one you can’t even get close to.

Where billiards is carnal, bocce is ethereal. Though your feet are on a court made of earth, your spirit hovers above near the pressed tin ceilings. Your body becomes a vessel for the, um, balls and thousands of years of Italian history course through your veins, like so many Brooklyn Lagers. If there is anything sexier than the spiritually superior and historically inclined, I don’t want to know what it is.

This sport is so fucking hot, even the pope plays.


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Dear RK,

I don’t know how to tell you this, but you are mired in a prejudice so thick and vile, you may never find your way out. The yellow trains are not slow. I mean, no more slow than any of the other trains – all of which travel at the speed and with the agility of a toddler. The F train is no prize, my friend.

However, you did make a good point regarding the above-ground stops. I love those. But you know what’s better than chugging along past the Kentile sign at Smith & 9th? Crossing the East River on the N and Q trains (also on the B & D trains that I use to get to work). You can look north and see the charming waterfront-industrial scene or you can look south (my choice) and see the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the big shiny Financial District buildings, boats, dead bodies…it’s like a little bit of heaven! All the while, your F train is creeping along underground like so many giant, seething rats.

Seething rats.

f-train.jpg = rat.jpg

A simile.

Subway (Debate) Series
Subway (Debate) Series: Rebuttal

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I am a pool player living in Brooklyn, and was recently introduced to the small world of bocce. Featured at a few bars in my neighborhood, some of my friends have recently taken an interest, and I have been more than happy to come along for the ride.

A lot has been said on this blog about the game of bocce. It’s been around for centuries. Charlemagne played it between orgies and fighting wars against the Saracens. Mussolini threw the balls around while drinking tea and reading Il Popolo D’Italia. I myself used to watch the old French men in my neighborhood stand around, chomping on cigars and getting their shoes dusty while playing the very similar game of petanque. And now it has gone so far as to reach the Brooklyn bar scene.

I enjoy playing bocce, even though I suck. And I have to say that of the two bars I have been two with bocce courts, they don’t fuck around. People seem to be enjoying themselves immensely, and I have heard that leagues have been established and are quite popular. I know for a fact that one of the editors of this blog happens to be an avid bocce player. My question is this: does the concept of playing bocce in bars have any staying power? Will this catch on? Will bars start to sprout up all over the country with long, rectangular courts and large balls in every corner?

The answer, is no. And the reasons are simple. For starters, you have to have a pretty big establishment to host even one bocce court. Floyd already feels a little cramped with the one they have in there. Secondly, no one will ever pay for bocce. And this is for the simple, but incredibly stupid reason that there is too little involved in the sport. Would you honesly want to pay to throw little balls on the ground? No. Thirdly, and I am not denigrating the talent involved in playing this sport in the slightest, but it is not a sexy sport.

Pool, on the other hand, is a popular sport worldwide to pay for and play in bars. Men and women alike are drawn to the long phallic shape of the cue, and know that they don’t have the money to purchase a pool table of their own. You can pack a bunch of them into a room, and charge people two dollars a game to cross their fingers and hope that they can make that bank shot and look cool in front of the sexy person standing next to them. Why does this look cool? I’m not really sure. Ask Paul Newman.

Even if there are only two bars that I know of (although I’m assuming there are a few more) that have indoor bocce courts, I hope it stays that way. While it may not have the sex appeal of the aforementioned billiards, there is something comforting about sitting in a dimly lit bar, clutching a nicely poured micro-brewed beer and listening to the sweet cracking of two heavy, hard balls. I’ll always have pool, but it’s nice to know that there’s an alternative past-time in Brooklyn.

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Interesting choice in route, the 4th and 9th R/M to Union Square over the F to 14th Street. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you had a few valuable words of wisdom there, Friend. However, I do know better, so now I must annihilate you and your arguments.

First off, I must state that the R and M trains are, how you say, pieces of shit. And don’t you dare deny this, Friend. Don’t you (fucking) dare. You and I both know that even at their fastest, I could run alongside both trains and beat either one to the next station. And this is coming from someone with a weak respiratory system, strained left shoulder, and bad knees. Maybe you enjoy riding those graffiti’d subway tracks at such a slow pace you’re able to read every crude comment written on those black, tarred walls. But I, personally, enjoy feeling as though I am in an actual moving vehicle, not a carriage being pulled by a Gypsy Horse in the mid to late 1600’s. But perhaps you have an old soul, which would explain your penchant for slow moving cars, similar to how an 88 year old likes to drive 13 mph on a 65 mph highway. In which case, then yeah, the R or M trains might be a wiser choice.

I, however, am young at heart. I, like most humans, prefer my trains to be fast. I like to feel a steady flow of vibrations below my feet, and getting to work on time.

I’d also like to address the fact that the 4th and 9th Street F stop is above ground. And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you once state, and I think pretty recently, that, “Without the Canal, the F train would not make its two glorious above-ground stops at Smith & 9th and 4th Avenue. Think of all those people who wouldn’t be able to send text messages, check their voice mail and make annoying phone calls while commuting with 6000 other people in a single train car.” Oh, hey look what I found. Your exact quote. So, interesting. You choose the shitty, stank, underground R/M, over the oh-so glorious above-ground F stop. Two timer.

Now, I know you’re probably going to come back at me with, “but one rides the R/M for no more than three stops.” Well, I have news for you, the N train moves just as slowly as the R. It skips stops, yes. However, it is so incredibly jam-packed in the morning that the actual weight of the train permits it to drive only at a negative pace. -12 mph, if you’re looking for a rough figure. It is literally, torture.

Convenience is also key here. The F train is a straight shot to 14th Street. No transfers necessary. This means, if you, or I, or anyone else is lucky enough to find an open seat right off the bat, well all I can say is, Zzzzzzz. That means you get to take a nap. And sleep my friend, is a precious, precious thing.

Lastly, if you’re going by old adages, how about this one. N stands for Never; R stands for Rarely.


PS I bet you didn’t expect any of your previous arguments to nip you in the butt.

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