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39 Things Obama Could Do To Get My Vote

November 7th, 2011 by

One year from today, Americans and Mormons alike will line up at the polls to cast their votes for who will be the next king of the playground. I didn’t vote for Obama last time because I am a racist who only votes for Arab-Americans like Ralph Nader (besides, to be totally honest, I prefer the Trial By Stone method of appointing political leaders as portrayed by the Skeksis in The Dark Crystal). And I don’t plan on voting for Obama again next year. But this could change.

 John McCain (right), shortly before his banishment

Since I know the President reads all of our posts and commits them to memory like most other people on Earth, I will now inform him of 39 things he can do over the course of the next year in the interests of both earning my vote and of general awesomeness.

  1. Start wearing a cape.
  2. Grow an Afro.
  3. Make The Avengers real.
  4. Replace hands with hand-shaped chainsaws.
  5. Sign an executive order mandating that one night a week, Bill O’Reilly’s TV show must only air footage of O’Reilly trying to fit his fist in his mouth.
  6. Stop the war on drugs.
  7. Follow @BfloBEAST on Twitter.
  8. And then re-tweet ALL the things!
  9. Start every sentence with “In accordance with The Prophecy…”
  10. Angrily refuse to answer any questions about The Prophecy.
  11. Tell my boss to fuck off during the State of the Union address, at the end in between the now obligatory reassuring lies “The state of our union is strong” and “Thank you, and may God continue to bless America.”
  12. Wipe all the snow off my car right before I get out of work all winter.
  13. New appointment: Attorney General Glenn Greenwald.
  14. Go BASE-jumping in secret just to try to piss in Nancy Grace’s mouth.
  15. Dress up as a pirate on a random Tuesday and when people ask about it, act like you don’t know what they’re talking about.
  16. Cut the military budget in half.
  17. Split the money saved from #16 between NASA and the NSF.
  18. Answer the next “Why” question at a press conference with “Because FUCK YOU, that’s why.”
  19. Order the National Guard to follow Nickelback on tour, just to freak them out. Both of them.
  20. Murder Andrew Breitbart with a predator drone.
  21. Then outlaw drone assassination of US citizens.
  22. Stop doing that sideways pointing thing he does.
  23. Punch Jay Leno in his stupid prick face.
  24. Get the birther thing started again by pushing for an amendment to the Constitution which nullifies the requirement that the President must be a natural-born citizen. It’s an idiotic rule anyway, and the conspiracy nuts are too much fun.
  25. Strap a camera to your head and livestream everything you do for a day.
  26. Sexually harass Herman Cain using a stick of pepperoni and at least 3 types of cheese.
  27. Order Mike Tyson to train his pigeons to pick the pockets of hedge fund managers on Wall Street.
  28. Release the invisibility cloaks along with all other technology the government received from the aliens and has since been hiding away in a vault to the public.
  29. Make the Pentagon invisible.
  30. Presidents can too make things invisible. It’s in the CONSTITUTION.
  31. Change the National Anthem to either What Is Hip? or any song from the Black Dynamite soundtrack.
  32. Find my car keys.
  33. Abolish the death penalty for all crimes except for driving 5 or more miles per hour under the speed limit in the passing lane.
  34. Sell Idaho to the Canadians.
  35. Forget that, trade it for Vancouver.
  36. Sell Arizona to the Mexicans.
  37. Challenge Rick Perry to a duel. At dawn. At “Niggerhead.” Call him ‘yellow’ when he declines.
  38. Stop pestering us about your boyfriend Jesus.
  39. Use the find/replace function on your speeches to change “Republicans” to “jive turkeys.”


The Rum Diary

October 31st, 2011 by

It seems like we’ve been mourning Hunter Thompson for the past seven years now. We’ve had the obituary, the response to others’ shitty obituaries, the oral history, the documentaries. Some people got to see his ashes shot from a custom-made Gonzo cannon. We’ve even had weird conspiracy theories about him being murdered floated out on the internet by people who apparently have trouble understanding why someone like Thompson would blow his brains out when he’s in a wheelchair and just starting George W Bush’s second term as President. And now we’ve got the long-awaited movie adaptation of The Rum Diary.

The Rum Diary is pretty good for a superhero origins movie. The superhero later became known as Raoul Duke and Hunter Thompson, but back then he was Paul Kemp.

Kemp was Thompson before Thompson was Thompson – more of a late ’50s greaser who rode around with the Hell’s Angels than the eccentric character we all came to know and love in later years. But there are several moments in the film where you get the impression that you’re watching the beginning of certain aspects of his persona. His love of driving fast in sports cars with beautiful women, his love of psychedelic drugs, his hatred of Richard Nixon – all these things are inserted into the script in order to foreshadow the future of Thompson’s career. Even some lines are lifted directly from his later works for the more obsessive fans in the audience who might be looking for a little more than a literal translation of the novel itself.

Because – and I say this as one of those obsessive fans in the audience – the plot of The Rum Diary isn’t that great. I don’t even remember how it ended, exactly, though I’m pretty sure it was different from the film. What I do remember are the little anecdotes and the overall ambiance. The look and feel of Puerto Rico just before the Paleface, Inc. came in with their pin-striped suits and took over the place, that was really the strong point of Thompson’s writing at this stage.

And that definitely carried over into the translation to celluloid. Some of the characters are simplified to fit a Hunter Thompson model some of us might be more used to. The newspaper’s staff photographer Bob Sala is made into more of an Oscar Acosta / Dr. Gonzo / Ralph Steadman constant companion character than he was, and Moberg (more on him later) is more of an outcast in the film, while he was more or less part of a trio in the book.

Since this is set back about half a century ago, one of the predominant themes of corruption and crime within journalism seems quaint in the modern world. A PR guy played by the Two-Face / Thank You For Smoking guy asks Kemp to plant what amounts to miniature subliminal ads for his development projects within his stories. And although he agrees to it Kemp seems troubled by how he’s being used in the situation. So back then that would’ve been the standard reaction to an offer to be paid to unethically haul water in what amounts to a tiny newsletter for a guy who wants to build a hotel; today you get hacks like Judith Miller enthusiastically volunteering to make a case for war in Iraq in the pages of the New York Times. It’s sad how things change sometimes.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but the parts I remembered and the imagery it conjured in my mind looked pretty much exactly as I imagined. The one exception was how Moberg looked. But going back to the book it dawned on me that they had portrayed him pretty accurately and that I had read it wrong. In the movie Moberg looks like an actual transient bum who sleeps in the streets. Reading the book gave me the impression he was just the scruffiest of a scruffy bunch – the drunk who all the other drunks point to, saying, “At least I’m not like him.” But that was because I assumed Thompson was using  an unreliable narrator device in describing Moberg.

But I think a moderate version of Moberg could even be justified by a literal reading of the text. The newspaper’s editor Lotterman yelled at him a lot, but you get the feeling Lotterman was a uptight guy from the beginning. Besides, in the book it was Moberg who was originally with Chenault, not Sanderson. They had a small place on the beach way out in the sticks where he would hunt for chicken. All these factors put together led me to believe Moberg was a little more together than he appears in the film. But then you’ve got Thompson’s [Kemp's] original description of him, which pretty much overrides my own nerding out over this:

Moberg had been in San Juan only a few months, but Lotterman seemed to loathe him with a passion that it would take most men years to cultivate. Moberg was a degenerate. He was small, with thin blond hair and a face that was pale and flabby. I have never seen a man so bent on self-destruction — not only self, but destruction of everything he could get his hands on. He was lewd and corrupt in every way. He hated the taste of rum, yet he would finish a bottle in ten minutes, then vomit and fall down. He ate nothing but sweet rolls and spaghetti, which he would heave the moment he got drunk. He spent all his money on whores and when that got dull he would take on an occasional queer, just for the strangeness of it. He would do anything for money, and this was the man we had on the police beat. Often he disappeared for days at a time. Then someone would have to track him down through the dirtiest bars in La Perla, a slum so foul that on maps of San Juan it appears as a blank space. La Perla was Moberg’s headquarters; he felt at home there, he said, and in the rest of the city — except for a few horrible bars — he was a lost soul.

It goes on for a few more paragraphs, but you get the idea.

Anyway, enough about Moberg. He’s a minor character. What you should take away from this is if you’re thinking about seeing The Rum Diary, don’t expect a literal translation. That’s a pretty unreasonable expectation for any movie based on a book and especially so here, where the filmmakers are trying to make this more of a final goodbye to one of the 20th century’s great journalists than a simple story about a crappy newspaper in late ’50s Puerto Rico.

One last thing. As well as they capture the image and tone of Thompson’s book, I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as the Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas movie. Then again, this one didn’t have an obsessive maniac in the director’s chair, and we all know Johnny Depp’s not nearly as age-appropriate for a 20something Hunter than he was 14 years ago as a 30something one. Still, it’s better than Where The Buffalo Roam, but not quite good enough to not wait for it to come out on DVD.



5 Things I'm Not Cool Enough To Hate

October 24th, 2011 by

It’s a list. You like lists.

1) Twitter

Sadly, many philosophers forget Immanuel Kant’s brilliant work,  The Critique of Pure Twitter, published on Facebook.

Have you heard that Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters? IT IS TRUE. And this is an outrage to some people. Read More


4 Ways the Alt-Med Industry is Fucking With Animals

October 20th, 2011 by

Animal testing is a tough subject. For the most part I’m for it, although there are probably a lot of unnecessary ways it goes down which should probably be stopped. But when it comes to developing new drugs to treat diseases, there’s a certain amount of acceptable harm to non-human animals which in my opinion can be justified in the interests of a greater good to humanity.

Read More


Fetal Ghost Busters

October 17th, 2011 by

Haunted Abortion Cemetery? The BEAST Investigates

There are lots of stories of haunted places here in Western New York. Surprisingly, most of them are places with prices of admission: haunted theaters, haunted hotels, haunted gift shops, haunted pet stores, haunted haunted houses, haunted toll booths, and that sort of thing. Read More


The American Autumn

October 5th, 2011 by

The Children of the Lost Decade Revolt

BY TINA DUPUY (via TinaDupuy.com)

The movement known as the tea party started in the mainstream media, on a national show. CNBC’s Rick Santelli, fired what cable news would later dub “the shot heard around the world” in 2009, when he lamented paying for the mortgages of the “losers” who couldn’t pay their bills. “President Obama, are you listening?” he bellowed.

Well, it was broadcast on national television. Read More


Suicide: DADT

September 27th, 2011 by

Why doesn’t the media report suicides?


I asked a reporter at Unnamed Major Metropolitan Newspaper, why they don’t cover suicides. Why is it that traditionally in the press there’s a veil of silence draped over taking your own life? He said it’s because they don’t want to encourage the behavior. The concern is if they report on it; others will copy. There’s no such apprehension when it comes to covering homicides, but I digress. “Plus there are far more suicides than murders and we don’t cover every murder,” is how another crime reporter put it. Read More


BEASTcast 12: Joe Dixon

September 21st, 2011 by

BEASTcast episode 12: Joe Dixon (mp3)


Joe Dixon is a BEAST contributor and stand-up comedian from NYC. He is also the host of Atheist Bible Study on YouTube. He will be performing at the Center For Inquiry’s Blasphemy Rights Day comedy night September 24 at CFI Transnational near the UB North Campus. We talk about comedy, religion, secular organizations, and why we should all kneel before Thor. Read More

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Homeopath has a diluted understanding of a simple story

September 13th, 2011 by

So I went to see Contagion last weekend. The first thing I did afterwards was lash out at and threaten our followers on Twitter for no good reason. The second thing I did was check out what the alternative medicine crowd thought of it. I thought it’d be fun to see how angry they were over certain aspects, but what I found was even more disturbing than what I expected. [EDIT: Spoilers ahead!]

Read More


We Like Michael Vick Because He Runs Fast

September 12th, 2011 by

And if Gaddafi could outrun a blitz, we’d like him too


After months of fretting that the NFL lockout would cancel football season, and cause the collapse of American civilization as we know it, it’s all been settled, and the 2011 regular season is under way. But while Bills fan are once again diluting themselves into thinking they actually have a shot at the playoffs, the rest of the pigskin world has a different concern; what to make of the Philadelphia Eagles’ herpes-ridden, dog-electrocuting, rape stand enthusiast Michael Vick.
The number of stories pointlessly pontificating about Vick has been ridiculous. From a glowing GQ profile that stopped just short of making him the second coming the Christ, and ESPN actually putting a white Michael Vick on their front page (which, even by their extreme publicity-whore standards, was moronic beyond belief), everyone wants to give the world their long, bloated opinion about Vick (including me, evidently).
Specifically, a ton of sportswriters want to let us know that it’s totally okay to like him now. He’s super-duper sorry about killing those dogs, and he double pinky swears he won’t do it again. Here’s the thing; I’m not judging those who want to root for Vick. With all the slaughtered animal carcasses I eat at McDonalds, I’d feel like a hypocrite if I did.
What bugs me all the useless attempts to moralize liking him. Look, we like the dude because he’s good at football. Period. The fact he can run fast is the only reason we’re even discussing this. I know this because when Vick first got out of the joint, he sucked beyond belief. He was useless even as a third-string quarterback, and he had all the mobility of Drew Bledsoe if he wore cement shoes. As a result, he existed quietly, and no one was writing bloated pieces letting us know just how tight Ron Mexico was with Jesus.
But now he’s playing well, and we want to enjoy it. The problem is, we feel bad about liking someone who brutally murders animals just because he’s good at his job. So we get these needless pieces about how Vick has changed. I’m not even saying he hasn’t. I don’t know the guy. I just don’t think it matters. Sports fans a long history of rooting for scumbags, why attempt to justify it now?
Just look at the Dallas Mavericks in this year’s NBA finals. Everyone was all-too-willing to forget that Jason Kidd, their washed-up starting point guard, is one of the most notorious wife beaters in sports. Why? Because everyone was too busy loathing the ultra-douchebaggery of Lebron James to remember or care.
The point is, if you’re a sports fan, and you want to root for a loathsome piece of shit, just do it. If you want to cheer for Vick, or Roethlisberger, or Kobe, or any other reviled sports villain, go ahead. Just don’t to justify it by telling me how different they are now. You’ll be a lot happier, and sports journalism will get a lot better.

After months of fretting that the NFL lockout would cancel football season, and cause the collapse of American civilization as we know it, it’s all been settled, and the 2011 regular season is under way. But while Bills fan are once again deluding themselves into thinking they actually have a shot at the playoffs, the rest of the pigskin world has a different concern: what to make of the Philadelphia Eagles’ herpes-ridden, dog-electrocuting, rape stand enthusiast Michael Vick. Read More


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