Eric D. Snider

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I saw a pirate

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

I saw a pirate yesterday in downtown Portland. He walked past me while I was waiting for the MAX. He had a bandana on his head, hoop earrings, and an eyepatch. He did not have a parrot or a wooden leg or a hook for a hand, nor did I see him blow anyone down or shiver anyone’s timbers, so maybe he is just a pirate-in-training. But still! It was pretty exciting to see a pirate. I never saw them in SLC, what with Utah being a landlocked state.

Celebrity Directory Assistance

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Here is something you probably did not know about me. About twice a month, I get an e-mail from someone wanting the e-mail address of a famous person. Now, nowhere on my Web site does it suggest that I am Directory Assistance for celebrities. My only connection to celebrities is that I review the movies they appear in. This process does not grant me any special access to them; they are not actually THERE when I watch the movies, you see. It’s just photographs being projected on a screen.

Yet still I get these e-mails. Here is the most recent one. It said, in its entirety:

can i have rabes email address

I replied thus:

I don’t know who “rabe” is, and I don’t know why you think I would have his/her e-mail address. Did I mention “rabe” in a movie review? Because all that means is that I saw a movie that had “rabe” in it, and then wrote a review of that movie. That is the extent of my involvement with “rabe”: seeing him or her in a movie, same as you.

I received this reply:

im sorry but i didnt meen rabe.i ment raven symone.do you know who she is?she is a disney channel star.well i hope you give it to me.

I was nonplussed. Had I not just stated that, regardless of who “rabe” was, I would not know how to reach him or her? Did this person think I would say, “Oh, RAVEN! You said ‘rabe,’ and I had no idea who that was. But Raven, of course I’ve got HER e-mail address! Let me get that for you….”?

I think what must happen is, these people Google the celebrity’s name and my site is among the hundreds that pops up, because I have mentioned that person in a movie review. Then the fan comes to my site, sees the “e-mail” link, and e-mails me to ask for information, without even bothering to read what I’ve said about the celebrity in question. Surely if they read the review, they would understand that it’s just a movie review and not an interview with the star. Does Roger Ebert get e-mails like this? Actually, he probably does, because he actually does publish celebrity interviews sometimes and probably actually does have some contact info for them. But why would anyone who actually READ what I wrote think that I would have any connection to anyone?

Anyway, for future reference, here are the famous people that I DO have personal contact information for:

- Dr. Demento
- Richard Dutcher, director of “God’s Army” and “Brigham City”
- Will Swenson, star of “Singles Ward” and other LDS comedies
- Orson Scott Card
- My mom, who was once in extra in something
- Myself, author of many famous movie reviews

And also for future reference, no I will not give you the contact information for any of those people.

Interesting statistics on the year’s movies

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

Number of films in which a man gets his hand nailed to a piece of wood so far in 2005: 2 (“The Devil’s Rejects” and “The Island”)

Number of films in which a man gets his hand nailed to a piece of wood in all of 2004: 1 (“Passion of the Christ”)

Why I continue to watch ‘American Idol’

Sunday, May 1st, 2005

I quit watching “American Idol” around this time last year because I didn’t care for any of the remaining contestants. This year it’s different. This year I’m continuing to watch BECAUSE I don’t care for any of the remaining contestants.

For an hour every Tuesday (well, more like 30 minutes, with TiVo), I can fully express my hostility and rage at the losers and idiots who prance around the “American Idol” stage, and who sit behind the judges’ table. I dislike every person involved in the show, from the audience to the contestants to the backup singers who don’t bother to wear matching outfits even though they’re going to be on TV.

Randy Jackson is benign, but his commentary as a judge is paralleled for uselessness only by the inane blather that dribbles out of Paula Abdul’s mouth. Regardless of what you sing, you are declared by Randy to have been “aight,” and to have “done your thing” despite being “a little pitchy.” If you are very lucky, you may be considered one of his “dawgs,” a dubious honor whose job description remains vague.

Paula, meanwhile, has grown progressively more insane this season, with her seal-clapping, her standing up and dancing during every song, and her childish shushing of Simon Cowell. It is clear that she is abusing her prescription painkillers, if not actually smoking crystal meth before each broadcast. The only other possible explanation is that she is mentally retarded.

Until last week’s episode, that is, when suddenly she was subdued, coherent and almost intelligent. Her critiques of the performers made sense, and some of them bordered on actual criticism! I suspect a “Flowers for Algernon” experiment has been going on, leading to a sudden increase in her brain function. I hope this is true, as it means she will soon reach the summit of her intelligence, and then she will get stupid again and die.

Simon is most useful of the judges, but his commentary has become more and more bizarre as he has grown fond of employing odd analogies. “Your performance was akin to a man with a limp buying a banana at 7-Eleven,” he’ll say, or maybe, “That was like getting a carwash and forgetting to thank the girl who brought you the ice cream,” and the contestant doesn’t know whether he has been slammed or praised.

Ryan Seacrest continues to be a tool.

And the contestants? Ugh. As I said, I don’t like any of them. Some of them are talented, but none of them make me want to buy their albums. Some of them earn my outright hatred.

I am glad Constantine has finally been eliminated from the contest, since he is the same person as Bo Bice. If the world has room for ANY more long-haired wannabe rockers who dance around with the microphone stand because they forget that the mic can be removed from it, it surely has room for only one. Do you love Creed? Do you love Nickelback? Then a) you have terrible taste in music, and b) you probably cried, like Paula Abdul did, when Constantine and his face (4/5 handsome, 1/5 chin) were booted last week. If you are Bo Bice, you were thrilled, because it means you still have a chance.

But let me tell you something, Bo Bice. Your hilarious alliterative name aside (it’s actually Harold Bice, by the way), there is no reason for anyone to like you. Your “rocking” looks positively quaint compared to the actual rocking of actual rockers — and none of it proves you can actually SING anyway, which is supposed to be the point of this competition. In addition, you should realize that no man on the face of the Earth has ever looked good with a soul patch AND long, straight hair. In fact, no man has ever looked good with a soul patch OR long, straight hair, let alone both. Do you want to look like Rob Zombie? If so, how come?

(By the way, Bo Bice was once arrested for felony cocaine possession and again on marijuana charges. Read all about it at The Smoking Gun. Hooray for our American idols!)

Anthony Federov continues to get votes because he is cute, young, and sings cheesy love songs. And who votes on “American Idol”? Fourteen-year-old girls, whose fondness for cute, young boys who sing cheesy love songs cannot be overstated. I will continue to be bored by him unless he begins singing through the hole in his neck. But even then I will make fun of him and the way he sings his hard Russian “R’s,” and also for being a soft lady-boy.

And what of Vonzell? Can she overcome her awful made-up name and her Florida heritage and the fact she works as a mailman, and rise to the top of “American Idol”? Or will she continue to wear dreadful outfits and sing good but unmemorable pop songs, like her idol, Beyonce (whose name also isn’t a name)?

Let us next consider Carrie Underpants. She is by far the prettiest person on the show (a fact which makes Ryan Seacrest weep bitter tears onto his satin-laced pillow each night), and she has one of the loveliest voices. But whoops! She thinks she’s singing on “American Redneck,” or whatever The Nashville Network calls its “AI” ripoff. Guess what, Carrie! If the world only needs one more long-haired wannabe rocker, it needs even fewer additional country singers. America is overpopulated with country singers already, so many that the country radio stations can’t contain them and some of them spill over and contaminate regular stations, too. So go back to your Oklahoma farm, marry your half-brother, and spend the rest of your days slingin’ beers for drunks at the town saloon/karaoke bar. If we’re ever in the area, we’ll stop in and say hello.

And finally, there is Scott Savol. Is there a more loathsome person in the world? Then please, introduce him to Scott so that Scott can devour him in two bites.

Where do I begin with Scott? With his Aaron Neville-ish voice, light and airy and frequently out of tune? With his dull, distracting hand gestures and arm motions that remind me of the sign-language scene in “Napoleon Dynamite”? With his unacceptable fashion choices which often cause him to resemble a giant potato? With his unexpressive face, which is most charitably described as “frighteningly, pants-crappingly ugly”?

Or shall I begin with his rap sheet, which includes a domestic violence charge for roughing up his baby mama during a dispute in 2001? (The Smoking Gun has it, of course.) Or his previous charge of trespassing on the grounds of Shaker Heights High School, despite having been warned verbally and by letter not to enter the building? On the “American Idol” Web site, he says he doesn’t have a “most embarrassing moment.” So either those two events are not embarrassing to him, or else he can’t decide which was more embarrassing.

I nominate as his most embarrassing moment the Wednesday night when he shamefully failed to be voted out of the contest — except wait, that happens EVERY Wednesday. Who is voting for this unappealing, unlikable, white-trash (who wishes he were black) Ohio dirtbag who shoves the mother of his bastard son around? Are there other worthless trailer-dwellers who watch “AI” and are pleased to see one of their own make it so far? Are people voting for him ironically, hoping to propel the show’s worst competitor to victory? I know I’ll be watching till the bitter end, hoping everyone loses and we can forget the whole thing ever happened.

What I Learned Today

Sunday, December 19th, 2004

Today I learned that if you get a speeding ticket, and when you mail in the check you sign it “Up Yours” instead of your actual name, a few weeks later you’ll get a letter from the court saying they can’t process the check due to an “invalid maker’s signature” and you’ll need to send another check. Good to know.

Arbitrary editing of music

Sunday, December 12th, 2004

I heard something amusing on the radio the other day. The song was “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus, about a high school student who loves this girl secretly but knows she would never love him because, after all, he’s just a teenage dirtbag who listens to Iron Maiden. Surely you can agree that such a tool should not be loved by the prettiest girl in school.

The second verse goes like this:

Her boyfriend’s a d***
And he brings a gun to school
And he’d simply kick
My a** if he knew the truth.

What amused me was the way it was edited for the radio. The words “d***” and “a**” remained intact, but “gun” was bleeped out. The semi-swear words are OK, but anything even remotely suggesting the possibility of violence is not — even when, in context, the act of bringing a gun to school is described as being a BAD thing to do (i.e., if you do it, you’re a d***).

I remembered the song “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind from a few years back. A reference to oral sex survived the cut, but the words “crystal meth” were bleeped for radio and MTV.

This is consistent with the way radio and MTV arbitrarily and senselessly edit music aimed at young people. The reasoning seems to be this: Kids hear swearing all the time, and even if they take it up themselves, it’s not going to ruin them. Violence and drugs, however, WILL harm them, and so we must eliminate all references to such things. Look how concerned we are for young people!

Actually, they’re terrified of being blamed every time a kid O.D.’s on drugs or kills his classmates. They figure if they just bleep out the drug and gun references, they’re doing their part. It has a germ of a good idea to it, but it’s administered so blindly as to give us silly examples like the ones cited.

Paris Hilton is a skank, but that’s beside the point.

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

The Fox network recently aired a bonus episode of “The Simple Life,” the show where Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie go from place to place, humiliating others and, if they had any sense of shame, themselves. The promos for this broadcast called it “a lost episode” of the series, adding that it contained footage that “we weren’t allowed to show you.”

Now, the series just aired this past summer. How did they manage to lose an episode already? It’s not like it’s a show from the ’50s, and all the tapes were destroyed in a fire. It’s from June! Frankly, if it truly had gotten lost, I would consider that a blemish on Fox’s reputation, not something to brag about.

And it contains footage they “weren’t allowed” to show us the first time? I don’t know all the ins and outs of the television industry, but I’m pretty sure that whatever circumstances existed that would have prevented something from being aired four months ago still prevail today.

It’s all just hype, of course. No episodes were “lost,” and they’re not showing us anything now that they COULDN’T air during the summer. It’s the network’s way of trying to convince us that a half-hour of outtakes and leftover footage is something SPECIAL, rather than the time-filler it really is.

But I wonder: do they actually fool anyone with this? Are TV audiences that gullible? I suppose some people must be. The fact that “The Simple Life” aired in the first place is proof of that. But I’m heartened to see that the “lost” episode in question finished almost last in the ratings for its time slot. So maybe there’s hope after all.

Electile disfunction

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004

I voted today. My local polling place is the activities room at a retirement center a block and a half from my apartment. The smell of old people and death permeated the place, but it did not overpower the musky scent of democracy in action.

I think it’s funny that people stand around on busy streets with signs telling you who to vote for. “You know, I was driving to the polling place without a CLUE who I was going to vote for, and now I know! Thank you, random stranger who holds signs. Thank you for pointing the way.”

Whoever wins the election, I just hope he wins by enough that everyone else will shut up about it. George W. Bush was hobbled right out of the starting gate with the 2000 election fiasco, with some people doubting his legitimacy as a leader even before he took office. Even if he’d been a fantastic, brilliant leader, I don’t know if he’d have ever gotten over that initial setback. Of course, if he wins today, then apparently he DID get over that initial setback. Time, and Newsweek, and CNN, and everyone else, will tell.

Five Things a Man Should Not Do After He Is Married

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

Five Things a Man Should Not Do After He Is Married:

1. Have a bicycle as his primary mode of transportation.
2. Wear tank-tops.
3. Have a soul patch.
4. Play video games more than one hour per day AT THE MOST. (Once a man is 30, married or not, he should not play video games at all.)
5. Call people “bro.”

Random pet peeve

Saturday, May 22nd, 2004

Random pet peeve:

People who think “yeah” is spelled “ya.” It is even worse when, in online chatting with these people, I say “yeah” for something, and then they persist in spelling it “ya.” Did you not JUST SEE how I spelled it?! Do you think I’M wrong?! Don’t be afraid to learn, my friend!

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