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by Zeth Lundy

2 Dec 2008

As he enters his fourth decade as a professional musician, Elvis Costello has successfully parlayed his experience as a chameleonic rock ‘n’ roller into some sort of self-appointed ambassadorial role. He dabbles in jazz and classical, unpacks his pop-addled brain into articles for Vanity Fair, and caters to both high and low art, all while affecting the genteel air of well-rounded elder statesman of the pop intelligentsia.

This evolution hasn’t gone unnoticed by his audience; even the most forgiving of his devotees, myself included, can’t help but admit that this preoccupation with tastemaking has blunted Costello’s own music, which has moved from innovative to professorial throughout the last decade. And yet, it is for this very reason that the notion to give Costello his own musical talk show at this point in his career makes perfect sense.

by Bill Gibron

2 Dec 2008

While they won’t make a lick of sense to most Westerners (they’re almost exclusively in Japanese), the seven trailers featured here represent the work of maverick moviemaker Minoru Kawasaki to a T. While we compile more material for tomorrow’s blog post, please enjoy these stunningly surreal delights.

Calamari Wrestler

It’s the story of a squid who longs to be a champion. And you thought Mickey Roarke had the inside track on grappling greatness.


Executive Koala

An office drone with the body of an oversized Australian animal is suspected of being a serial killer. Huh?


Kabuto-O Beetle

Another odd creature - a bug - and another wannebe wrestler. Hmmmm…


The World Sinks…Except Japan

When natural disaster causes the rest of the planet to sink into the ocean, Japan becomes the last bastion of dry land for the world’s weirdos…and politicians. 


The Rug Cop


A policeman and his crime-fighting toupee. What more could you want?


Crab Goalkeeper

A giant crustacean conquers the world’s most popular sport.


Cat Noodle Chef

A feline puppet fancies himself a Japanese noodle chef. Yummy!

 

by Rob Horning

2 Dec 2008

Many someone should ask financial analyst James Quinn what he really thinks of Baby Boomers:

Of course, not all Baby Boomers are shallow, greedy, and corrupt. Mostly Boomers with power and wealth fall into this category. There were 76 million Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1963. They now make up 28% of the U.S. population. Their impact on America is undeniable. The defining events of their generation have been the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, Kent State, Woodstock, the 1st man on the moon, and now the collapse of our Ponzi scheme financial system. They rebelled against their parents, protested the Vietnam War, and settled down in 2,300 square foot cookie cutter McMansions with perfectly manicured lawns, in mall infested suburbia. They have raised overscheduled spoiled children, moved up the corporate ladder by pushing paper rather than making things, lived above their means in order to keep up with their neighbors, bought whatever they wanted using debt, and never worried about the future. Over optimism, unrealistic assumptions, selfishness and conspicuous consumption have been their defining characteristics.

It’s hard to disagree with any of the analysis, though the tone is occasionally scarily combative. I wonder whether as the recession worsens or drags on, if such sentiment will spread from the disgruntled-analyst sector to the younger generations at large, whether it will shape policy toward the social safety net for the elderly: Will we say, the Boomers blew their chance and lived beyond their means; if they don’t get the Social Security benefits they expected, then tough shit. It’s natural to want to hold irresponsible borrowers responsible for our overleveraged economy, especially since, as Rebecca Wilder points out here, household debt has yet to drop: “lax lending standards on credit cards allowed consumers to become overly indebted to credit card creditors. Interestingly enough, revolving consumer credit was still 43% of overall credit on November 12, 2008. When will it fall?”

But in many ways, the forces that have driven us into debt are systemic, institutional—the interlocking forces of assets replacing savings for many families, of status hinging on consumption levels, of the service economy supplanting heavier industry, of more aggressive omnipresent marketing, etc. But I wonder whether there is cyclical generational component to attitudes toward consumerism. As part of the generational warfare, the practices of frugality have been co-opted by hipsterism as a kind of ironic, oppositional stance to the boomer generation. In the 1960s, boomers allegedly rejected their parents’ prudent austerity for hedonism, reconceived as the essence of freedom. Perhaps those of us born in the 1960s and 1970s will now war against that hedonism (which turned into financial imprudence) out of necessity, but we will feel all righteous about it as if it were our generation-defining choice.

by Chris Barsanti

2 Dec 2008

This is the kind of book that every film critic wants to write, and every film buff needs to have. Compiled with start-and-stop care over many years by David Thomson, the astoundingly prolific and smartly opinionated (what laypeople would call “idiosyncratic”) whose Biographical Dictionary of Film is another must-own, it’s little more than a massive and massively inviting introduction to a thousand films worth seeing. Starting with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (described as “a kind of going-out-of-business sale at what was then Universal Studios”) and finishing up with Zabriskie Point (“It would have been so much more coherent if Antonioni had been free of script or actors”), the tome gives one plenty of reasons to keep the Netflix queue piled high with hundreds films you always meant to see, and excuses to avoid those you had been avoiding.

AMAZON

by Jason Cook

2 Dec 2008

What do you buy for the sports gamers on your list? They already snagged Madden on launch day. They have already chosen between the latest MVP Baseball or MLB 2K8. They have already logged hours on NBA 2K9. Despite cries of the sport it’s based on being “boring,” FIFA Soccer 2009 may be the answer. Once the bridesmaid to the Winning Eleven series, FIFA has steadily improved over the past few years—culminating in this year’s superb installment that makes it the soccer simulation to own this year. With a deeply complex control scheme, over 500 teams (41 national teams), online play and an innovative feature that updates player stats to reflect their real-life performance, this is a must-own title for any true soccer fan. The inclusion of MLS teams (Beckham!), spectacular player animations, controls that are easy enough to get into, but take time to master, and fluid, satisfying game play and a host of over improvements then turn FIFA into a title that has a good chance to convert even the most green of futbol fans.

AMAZON

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Mr. Robot: Episode 6 -- "Br4ve-Trave1er.asf

// Channel Surfing

"When episode six opens to find Elliot in terror and panic, it is soon confirmed that he should be.

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