Archive for May, 2012

Out Of The Mouths Of Children

May 31, 2012

Want me to ruin your day with a single video clip?

If so, then check out this story about a small child singing in front of his congregation at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church in Greensburg, Indiana.

Then press play.

Sigh… just fucking sigh…

It’s just the latest in a series of stories like these about such inspiring, loving Christian communities and values that make me glad I’m a Pastafarian.

“And he saw that it was Fettucine. And it was good”

BPM

 

How ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ RUINED television… for me at least…

May 23, 2012

My Australian brethren, you remember how excited we were about the introduction of more free-to-air digital TV channels? Channels with quirky, hastily thought-out names like ‘Gem’, and ‘OneHD’, and ‘7Mate’?

More content! More options for our viewing pleasure! Or, at the very least in the case of Channel 10 affiliate ‘One’, more fishing programs and ‘COPS’ reruns!

Well you know what? All those wonderful, wonderful digital channels?

You can keep ’em.

I was aimlessly flicking channels on Monday night whilst doing my teeth when I inadvertently stumbled upon the British reality/horror series, ‘Embarrassing Bodies’. For those who don’t know, ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ is a show about a team of medical specialists in the U.K doling out advice to people concerned they may be suffering from some kind of physical abnormality. An embarrassing body issue they’re too ashamed to show, or talk about, with their doctor (and yet they have no problems discussing said issue on television, apparently). Hence the clever title.

Of greater concern is the fact that most of these poor common folk really do need to be assured that, yes, an additional scrotum growing on the side of your stomach, or a pustulent neck-wound that’s been bleeding for 4 years, is probably something to be concerned about.

What… ? Do you think it’s noticeable? Can I still wear thongs?

Lumpy breasts. Distended testicles. Something called ‘retrograde ejaculation’. ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ covers it all. Which is why someone with a weak stomach, like myself, would do well to avoid the show like… well… like a bad case of retrograde ejaculation, I guess.

So… Monday night… mouth full of toothpaste, I’m flicking channels;

7Digital – some crappy ad for ‘Australia’s Got Talent’…

7Mate – ‘American Dad’ rerun…

4Me – infomercial for exercise equipment…

Gem – WHOA! Cue choking fit and anguished, minty-fresh squeals!

I’ve accidentally landed upon ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, with no mental prep time, and at the worst possible moment.

CANNOT post the picture that I saw on-screen. I wouldn’t do that to you, faithful reader. So let me try to use my words to paint a word picture.

It’s a clinical photographic still, probably used as a diagnostic tool. An extreme close-up photograph of a gaping vagina. Yes, gaping – the subject is considerate enough to make sure we see everything humanly possible from this vantage point. Now, when I say ‘gaping vagina’, I should also add this is a vagina in a state of… disrepair? It’s swollen, festering, and clotted with creamy gunk, from bow to stern.

And the title above this award-winning still, in bold, capital letters, just reads:

THRUSH

Pictured: A different kind of Thrush. Who has Syphilis

My initial reaction: What. The Fuck.

My second reaction: This is either that stupid ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ show, or the Anti-Smoking Lobby has really upped the stakes in those “Smoking can cause dental decay, mouth cancer, and THRUSH!” commercials.

My third reaction: What. THE FUCK?!?!

Now, while I do admit to having a weak tum tum, I ain’t squeamish. But close-ups of infected genitals at 9:45pm on a school night?

WRONG! WRONG WRONG WRONG! WRONG WAY DOWN WRONG STREET, RIGHT IN THE HEART OF WRONG TOWN!

So thank you, Gem, Channel 9 and the team at ‘Embarrassing Bodies’… whilst you may have managed to reassure me that I do not have either THRUSH! or a vagina, you’ve also made me as anxious on the remote control as a cat in room full of rocking chairs.

Don’t change the channel… what if ‘Go!’ is doing some sort of cross promotional special on rocking chairs that have Chlamydia?

They say that a man stripped of the ability to annoyingly speed-flick through channel after channel is no man at all.

I am broken.

Can anyone out there fix me?

BPM

‘The Voice’ KNOWS hyperbole!

May 8, 2012

I call the guy on the left ‘Urban Warfare’

A quick note on the Australian television juggernaut that IS ‘The Voice’, and in particular this week’s Battle round, where contestants will battle one another in a series of head-to-head battles in a battle to see who can use the word battle more in their allotted 8-10 minute segment.

 

bat·tle

Noun   A sustained fight between large, organized armed forces.

 

Waterloo. Gettysburg. Normandy. Gallipoli. Thermopylae. Helm’s Deep. These were battles. Two back up singer’s doing shitty covers of Rihanna songs I don’t even want to hear Rihanna sing? Meh… notsomuch.

I have to assume that the whole ‘battle’ concept is the red-headed stepchild of what ‘The Voice’s producer’s think a ‘rap battle’ is.

“I got the moves like Jagger, I got the moooooooooooves like Jagger… OK, now your turn!”

But… rap battles (as far as I, the whitest man in Melbourne, am aware) stereotypically consist of 2 angry young men dropping tasty rhymes about their own incredible sexual prowess and penis size whilst simultaneously denigrating the prowess/penosity of their opponent. There’s an innate sense of aggression and conflict there. Two middle-aged guys over-singing the shit out of Coldplay? Where’s the conflict in that?

For the record, Chris Martin ranks a zero on the Penosity Scale

As part of my job I’m privy to the primetime ratings of Australian free-to-air TV every morning, and ‘The Voice’ is managing to sustain a huuuugggeeee audience night after night. Basic rule of thumb is that if any show in the evening time slot has a million viewers, then it’s doing well.

‘The Voice’ is doing more than double that. Every. Single. Episode.

And once again, I don’t get it, and I wonder how much longer it can continue to draw such a large audience. Because once the novelty has worn off (Spinny chairs! Seal! Maybe Delta Goodrem’s a robot!), aren’t you left with the same Achilles heel every show of its ilk has?

That essentially you’re just watching amateur musicians sing adequate live cover versions of songs you can watch the original artist sing much better anytime you feel like it on Youtube?

But what about the human drama of it all, Monkey?

Ughhh… all just so much artifice. When ‘human drama’ consists almost exclusively for every contestant of either:

  1. i) They’re chasing their dream, one they’d almost given up on before kids / marriage / a serious accident,
  2. ii) They, or a close relative (ideally a parent), are dealing with Cancer, and they’re doing it for them, or
  3. iii) They need to learn to believe… (wait for it) in themselves…

Then you can count me out.

If I’m going to force myself to watch any reality television show at the moment, it’ll probably be ‘The Block’, purely because it’s managing to combine the perils and everyday nightmare of home renovation with a degree of cruelty and Phillip Zimbardo-esque psychological trauma that you just don’t find in scripted drama these days.

Sure you have to rebuild this entire house in 5 days with your bare hands and go 60 hours with no sleep, but it could be worse… you could have to compete in a ‘battle’ with the couple next door and sing “Lady Marmalade”…

Side note: As I’ve said before, I work in and around the periphery of television drama. And you have no idea how much the viewing habits of most of the people responsible for scripted drama in this country seems to exclusively revolve around shows like ‘The Voice’, rather than ‘Mad Men’, or ‘Breaking Bad’, or ‘Game of Thrones’.

I guess if I really want to be able to discuss whether Stannis Baratheon is the man for the Iron Throne, or the sense of morality of a Don Draper, I’m going to have to try to finagle my way into working on a reality television show instead.

God help me…

BPM

God bless you, Stephen King

May 2, 2012

One of my literary idols, Stephen King, wrote an article this week for the website The Daily Beast simply entitled ‘Tax Me, For F@%&’s Sake!’

I’d encourage anyone interested in the ongoing 1% / 99% debate in the States to have a read.

But for those of who can’t be bothered to click your mouse once, the crux of Sir Stevie’s argument (that the excessively wealthy can well afford to pay much, much more tax) can pretty much be encapsulated by this one particular purple piece of prose:

“The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar”.

 You can agree with the guy’s politics… or you can disagree with the guy’s politics… but one thing remains as steady as the beam – man can that guy still turn a phrase!

And that beam reference? Just the clumsiest of segues into me saying that thanks to another recent hospital stay, I managed to burn through Mr. King’s latest instalment in The Dark Tower series, ‘The Wind Through The Keyhole’ in roughly 2 days.

Suffice to say it’s a fast, entertaining-as-hell read. It employs an interesting ‘story within a story’ narrative device, a framework that at its core binds it to the Dark Tower series as a whole, at least for me. Over thousands of pages, The Dark Tower (to me, at least) became as much about the nature of stories, and their importance in our lives, as it did plot or character. There’s a meta-level of spiritual awareness, storytelling skill and artistry about the books that manages to both baffle and captivate me… more than it might otherwise, because although I’ve known a handful of other King diehards, I’m yet to meet someone who has actually read the entire series!

So, faithful readers, if any of you out there have read, or are interested in reading The Dark Tower at all, hit me with a comment or two. We can discuss the Turtle, or how all things serve the beam. You can tell me about that dream you had once about a Billy Bumbler, and I’ll tell thee a tale, sai, of a mono named Blaine.

Shit…

And you wondered why no one wanted to talk to you about these books, Monkey…

Until next time, if anyone needs me I’ll be in the nerdiest Stephen King chatroom I can find, probably using the handle ‘R@ndallFlaggBEARer79’, wishing CancerAIDS (or even worse, Anti-Ka) upon any commenter that dares to disagree with me.

Cos this is the internets. And that’s how we rolls,

BPM