Archive for September, 2012

Wrong Place, Wrong Time – A Vignette

September 21, 2012

An approximation of the villain in question

As I’ve mentioned previously, I work (when work is to be had) in the television industry, in and around production offices mostly. One thing you may not have known about the entertainment industry? There’s a HUGE proliferation of dog people.

By which I mean people who luuurrrvvveee their dogs. Not… you know…

Ugh… the 2nd Assistant Director has fleas again…

Anyhow, it’s not at all unusual for the office to contain the odd dog or two, as peeps bring their pets to work. Generally these furry new employees will be your smaller breed of dog, your Pomeranian, your Pug, your Chihuahua.

Not at the moment though.

One of the other staff here has bravely put her hand up to train a labrador pup on its way to becoming a seeing eye dog. A big responsibility, made even more difficult than you’d imagine by her canine ward, whom for the purposes of this blog we shall call ‘Spice’*.

* Not Spice’s real name

Because Spice is proving to be more problematic to train than almost any other puppy you’ve ever seen. Which is troubling considering that he will soon be responsible for not killing his owner on a regular basis. Even now that he’s a few months old, Spice stays when he should be coming. Stands when it’s time to sit. Has some bizarre aversion to going outside. Doesn’t carry the one when he does basic multiplication. That kind of thing.

Every day I watch my co-worker drag Spice towards the exit door to do his business, usually cheerfully exhorting ‘Spice! Come on Spice! Let’s go! Outside! Outside!’, as she drags this dog across the carpet, him resisting every inch of the way.

Except yesterday, as I was getting something from the photocopier, I heard her racing towards the exit, and flinging open the door, chanting encouragement which went something like ‘SpiceComeonSpiceOutsideHoldonOutsideWaitSpiceNOOOOO!!!’

A beat.

‘Monkey? Help!

I’m the closest person she can see. So I walk to the door, which she’s deftly holding with one hand, half inside and half out. She yells ‘Watch out!’, pointing at the carpet.

Yup. Spice didn’t quite make it. RIGHT in front of the door.

And to make matters worse, this agoraphobic dog, the bane of her existence, has taken advantage of this momentary distraction and decided ‘I’d actually quite like to go outside, just not with you’. Spice has bolted, she’s lost her grip on his lead, and he has charged outside onto the road.

Sure, he LOOKS cute… but he’s actually a calculating, ruthless monster. Trust me.

‘Please… help?!’

Of course I do my best, and hold the door as she dashes out into the street to save this dog from traffic. Presumably so that she can kill him herself.

But even as I’m playing Good Samaritan, I’m shrinking inside. And it’s not the dog poo I’m straddling that bothers me. It’s the knowledge that this door at my workplace is alarmed. And for SOME reason, if it’s held open for any longer than… say… 12-15 seconds? It starts beeping.

By beeping, I mean it BEEPS! It SCREECHES! It WAILS! It is an ear-piercing, headache inducing SIREN!

And I know it’s about to —

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE —

‘Close the door!’, comes the helpful suggestion from the other end of the office, those lucky souls who remain oblivious to this ridiculous chain of events.

From outside: ‘Spice! Come here!’

— EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE —

‘Shut the door!’

‘Spice! Come! Coooommmme!’

— EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE —

‘Who’s keeping the bloody door open?!?!’

Here I stand. Between a rock and a turd place. I can’t even temporarily close the door, then re-open it, because Spice’s well-placed leavings are positioned just so, so that if I tried to do this, I would end up smearing the carpet with a perfect, fragrant, racing stripe of shit.

Well played, Spice.

— EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE —

‘WOULD SOMEONE CLOSE THE DOOR!’

Thankfully, my co-worker, on the verge of a breakdown, wrests this idiot pup from the street, and dashes back to the door. Holding on to this animal as it spastically flails with one hand, she plastic baggies her other hand, reaches down whilst I stand frozen, like a moron caught in the world’s most high stakes games of Twister. Right foot, Brown.

‘I’m soooo sorry!’

— EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE —

She deftly grabs one turd, two turds, three… dashes out the door… and I finally close it.

— EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.

Silence.

And now I am left with no dog, no stressed out co-worker… not even any evidence to prove any of this ever happened. Just an office full of disgruntled staff looking for someone to blame for their brand spanking new 10am headaches.

I wander up to half a dozen of them, their desks circling me, my teeth gritted.

‘Why didn’t you close the door?’

‘Spice. Didn’t. Quite. Make. It’.

With this, I turn, and trudge back to my desk.

And that was Thursday.

BPM

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Screw you Apatow – This is 32*

September 20, 2012

*Or, you know, maybe not. I have nothing against Judd Apatow. Not even the fact that he’s personally responsible for Katherine Heigl’s movie career. Sometimes you just need a title, and “The Introspective Ponderings of a Self-Loathing Potential Narcissist” seemed a LITTLE heavy…  

“Sigh… and then what did Kim Kardashian say?”

It will come as no surprise to anyone that’s ever read my drivel to know that I’m far too obsessed with all the wrong shit. I’d love to spend my days entrenched in conversation about philosophical concepts beyond the comprehension of 98.4% of the general population. It’d be great to have an extensive knowledge of the history of Baroque music. And I have no doubt that spending hours conducting exhaustive research for the thesis I’d someday write about the geo-politics of Australasian territories… that’d be swell.

However, what also will come as very little surprise to you, is that I ain’t that smart.

Not as smart as I’d like to be. Not as smart as I pretend to be. Not even as smart as I’d settle on being.

And so, rather than high-minded pursuits, my attention is dragged to what is basically the ephemera of world news. I’m so focussed on the algae resting atop the aquarium, that I never even notice the tropical fish below.

A point made doubly true by the fact that I know so little of algae, or of tropical fish, that my clumsy metaphor might be complete bullshit.

Just be thankful this is a picture of an actual aquarium… I’ll bet a million dollars someone somewhere uses ‘Dirty Aquarium’ as a sexual euphemism

GET TO THE POINT! 

So in the past week, I’ve been swamped by the kind of stories that would normally constitute their own posts here at the BPM.

There was the leaked video of Mitt Romney at a private dinner, where he told potential donors at a fund-raiser that approximately 47% of Americans believed they were entitled to things like food, or health care, and that “…my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives”.

There was a kind of international moral litmus test involving the topless photos taken of Kate Middleton, as she and Prince William  sunbathed at a private château in France. The argument for publishing is encapsulated in this quote from Danish magazine Se of Hoer: “It is in the DNA of Se og Hoer that we should entertain and fulfil our readers’ curiosity. Therefore it is always relevant for us when a duchess and future queen of England is topless and voluntarily shows her breasts near a public road”.

And then there is the counter argument, that photo’s taken of a private estate from over a kilometre away, of the wife of a Prince whose mother died as she was being chased by paparazzi, might not be totes cool. For the record, thus far the British, American’s and Australian’s have chosen to err on the side of “Dude… really?!?”, as the Dane’s, Italian’s and French maintain their stance of “Hooray for boobies!”.

There was the initially peaceful protest by Muslims in Sydney’s Hyde Park, revolving around the now infamous American amateur film posted on YouTube which mocks Muhammed. As absolutely no one could’ve predicted, it swiftly got wayyyy out of hand. There was the image of a 4-year-old holding a sign that read ‘Behead All Those Who Insult The Prophet’. There was his mother, who upon being investigated by police, insisted that she didn’t know what the word ‘behead’ meant. And, of course, the inevitable online rush of white, middle-class, anglo ‘real’ Aussies to join Facebook groups represented by pictures like this one:

Don’t rush to judgement, the bottom word there has more syllables than any other word in his entire vocabulary

There was the vote in Australian parliament on the possibility of legalising gay marriage, where Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, a close ally of Tony Abbott, was forced to resign from his position after controversially phrasing his objection to gay marriage as follows: “The next step … is having three people that love each other be able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society, or four people… There are even some creepy people out there, who say that it’s OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?”

Wow… all this is too heavy, Monkey. What about something to lighten the mood?

Well, there was ex-child star Amanda Bynes yet again throwing down the gauntlet to Lindsay Lohan, by continuing to unravel in public… you know, if you call driving on a suspended licence, multiple hit-and-run incidents, and driving whilst smoking pot unravelling. Lindsay responded by (of course) tweeting…
 … only to ‘allegedly’ hit a man in New York less than a week later, trying to park her car outside a hotel. Whilst under the influence, natch.

Now, the REAL challenge here… how does one create some kind of tangential link between such a disparate group of stories?

Well, how about this – they all elicited more or less the exact same kind of reaction from me. A reaction that kind of went something like this…

Sighing. Slumping of shoulders. Shaking of head. Curse word. Acceptance.

That’s in real-time, too.

I’ve officially finally reached the point of apathy where it’s almost impossible to legitimately feel any sense of outrage at the kind of source material that drives most of this blog. I emphasise the word legitimate, because I, like so many people, can still manufacture outrage well enough on occasion. But real emotion?

I suppose on one hand this is potentially a healthy development for me. Why should I give a shit (or indeed, quite so many shits) about these strangers, whose lives will never really intersect with mine on any level whatsoever? Shouldn’t this free up some psychic real estate that can now revolve around newer, healthier thoughts and obsessions? Like Baroque, philosophy, theses… you know… all that shit?

Baroque Art… kind of like an album cover for the band ‘Live’ circa 1995

Perhaps. I don’t know yet. I do know that more and more often I’m seeing no resolution to a raft of world issues as disparate as the Australian political stance on gay marriage, or anglo-Islamic relations, the intrusiveness of the papparazzi, or… Lindsay Lohan… no resolution except for “Well, what are you going to do except wait and hope for generational change?”.

Which still feels like a cowards way out to me, on many levels. Sure, I still believe in the causes that I believe in. I can call out bigotry, or prejudice, or the evils of Twitter, celebrity stupidity and entitlement. But even as I’m doing so, I increasingly find myself thinking that the only hope we have is that the next generation of Button Pushing Monkeys grow up in a society incrementally less hateful towards homosexuals, incrementally less divided by religion and culture, incrementally more respectful, and hopeful, and… better?

I’m still a young man. But I can admit that as far back as I can remember I’ve always been (perhaps to a degree that’s unhealthy) a cynic. Is this just what passes for hope as we get older? I’m interested in others opinions.

Perhaps in this world the most important thing is retaining any kind of hope at all.

It was Stephen King that said “Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies”.

And I hope that’s true.

Thanks for bearing with me this long down the rabbit-hole/ up my own ass, folks. I promise our usual dick’n’fart joke broadcast will resume shortly.

BPM

You have a totally legit friend request… seriously, for realsies

September 14, 2012

I’ll apologise in advance for yet another anti-Facebook/Twitter/Internet post, but this story blew my mind, and I can’t believe we haven’t seen it featured more prominently in ANY Australian news media outlet:

‘TALIBAN USES SEXY FACEBOOK PROFILES TO LURE TROOPS INTO GIVING AWAY MILITARY SECRETS’

from PC World.com

The story in a nutshell goes that the Taliban are using fake Facebook profiles to ‘befriend’ troops in the Australian Defence Forces serving overseas in Afghanistan. See that picture up there? That’s ex-World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Maria Kanellis, just one of the hot chicks enticing our fighting forces to click ‘Accept’. Once the Australian soldier accepts the friend request, the Taliban then uses this access to gather info based on the soldiers’ status updates, posts, photos, etc.

The bigger problem is that Facebook’s geo-tagging tech also logs the specific location that soldiers are posting from. So once a soldier updates his status to shit its hot, or OMG check out my RPG!!!!! 🙂 , the Taliban knows exactly where they are.

All of this has prompted a review by the Australian Defence Force into DoD use of social media, and will probably necessitate the introduction of social media training courses for all members of the Defence Force.

Wow…

Now, I’m not criticising our brave men and women serving overseas. They show incredible courage doing a job I never could, and make us as Australians proud every day.

But who knew that our troops weren’t made aware before they were sent into a war zone about geo-tagging?

Or that members of the Taliban are apparently big fans of WWE Diva’s like Maria?

That in one of the most dangerous areas on the planet, some people are still preoccupied with posting Instagram photos of their food, duck-facing in front of armoured vehicles, and doing those quizzes to see ‘Which Disney character are you?’

Come on, how many times is this thing going to tell me that I’m Pumbaa?!?!?!

That when it comes to manipulating social media, we have been (in the parlance of Jeff Probst) out-witted, out-lasted and out-played by… the Taliban?!?! Who presumably have faster, more reliable internet connection in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan than I do in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

And that apparently any remake of ‘Stripes’ would now include John Winger doing way less push-ups and much, much more tweeting? 

“I want you to drop and give me a hundred n’ forty… characters”

Serves as a handy reminder to all of us not to accept a friend request from someone just because SHES TOTALLY HOT BRO OMG SEXYB!TCH!

Admittedly this is advice that’s easier to dish out when, like me, you’re the kinda guy whom unnaturally attractive women avoid like a new chemically engineered strain of black-plague-herpes-canceraids.

But it’s good advice regardless.

Finally, should any of you who are reading this be currently serving in the Australian military overseas, be safe guys and gals, and come home in one piece.

BPM

Amuhr-ica! F*%# Yeah!

September 12, 2012

HAD to re-post this genius piece of editing, originally from the New York Magazine website:

If there’s a better two minute encapsulation of how out of control our culture of celebrity worship has become… well, I haven’t seen it.

Jesus wept…

Because apparently if we didn’t spend the anniversary of September 11 talking about Kris Jenner’s fake tits, then the terrorists truly have already won. 

BPM

Trial by Facebook

September 10, 2012

This popped up in my Facebook feed over the weekend.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Social Media Jury, see exhibit A:

Now… what’s scarier?

a) The possibility that this rumour about hellspawn boy-band One Direction could actually be true? Or…

b) That almost 400,000 Facebook users (as of Saturday) were willing to ‘Like’ a status (with no context or details or any supporting evidence), which purports to have been posted by a FICTIONAL CHARACTER.

Or is it c) that if you Google any combination of ‘One Direction’, ‘Girl’ & ‘Cancer’, you get a shit-ton of links to fan fiction I’m wayyyyyy too scared to click on.

The world we live in, folks.

BPM

On Michael Clarke Duncan, and Movie Hindsight

September 7, 2012

I was saddened this week to hear the news that actor Michael Clarke Duncan passed away, due to ongoing complications from a heart attack he suffered over a month ago. He was 54.

In an acting career that lasted ostensibly for less than 15 years, MCD starred in a wiiiiddddeeee variety of both high quality flicks and classic crap. Amongst the former? ‘The Green Mile’, ‘Sin City’, ‘Bulworth’, ‘Talladega Nights’ & ‘The Scorpion King’ (a real guilty pleasure of mine).

Amongst the latter? Well, there was ‘Daredevil’, ‘Green Lantern’, Burton’s ‘Planet of the Apes’ remake, ‘The Island’ and… well… pretty much anything starring Bruce Willis.

Friendship… it’s a double-edged sword sometimes

The one common thread to most everything I ever read about Duncan off-screen was that he was the archetypical ‘gentle giant’, and a quality human being. I’m not going to lionize Duncan’s acting ability or screen presence. But, thanks to THAT voice, and his size, Duncan was invariably at the very least fun to watch, a surprisingly underrated quality in a movie star these days when you stop to think about it.

Ironically I’d been thinking just several days before he passed about ‘The Green Mile’, and about 2 other performers in that flick, Tom Hanks and Doug Hutchison.

I remember eagerly awaiting ‘The Green Mile’ before its cinematic release. I was (and remain) a huge Stephen King fan, and had loved ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. So when I heard Frank Darabont was adapting the latest King novella, you better believe I was there on opening day.

Literally opening day. 10:30am on a Thursday morning, to be precise (ahhh, to be a University student again, with less than 12 contact hours per week…). Whatever misgivings I may have had about a) seeing the film alone, and b) seeing it in a cinema with less than 5 other people, were quickly dispelled as I immersed myself in the story of Paul Edgecombe, the giant John Coffey (like the drink, only spelled different), and the 2 dead girls…

To me it remains, to this day, a movie forgotten by the moviegoing public far too quickly. Well cast, with some decent (if a little Oscar baity), actor-ing including a breakout performance by Duncan. A calmly paced, sprawling script. Interesting direction. Sure, it’s not the life affirming classic Shawshank is, but the prison period-piece is still a well worth revisiting by Darabont.

Having said that, one of the most memorable parts of that film is the loathsome prison warden, Percy Whitmore. Whitmore, compellingly played by a relative unknown (at the time) Doug Hutchison, is a cruel cowardly man, trading in on his family connections to keep his job at the Green Mile (death row in a Louisiana prison in the 30’s). After the flick however, Hutchison was rarely seen, his most notable acting role in the ensuing years being a short-term role in one of the latter series’ of ‘Lost’.

I just assumed that maybe Hutchison had been too effective in his role as the Green Mile’s antagonist, that he was forever typecast as the creep, the petty scumbag.

And then there was this…

That’s right… Doug Hutchison, freaky weirdo from ‘The Green Mile’, is THAT GUY, the 51-year-old dude that married 16-year-old (coughcough) wannabe starlet Courtney Stodden.

News broke this week that now that Courtney has turned 18 (coughcough), she was willing to pose for Playboy! To which Playboy responded, and I quote, “Nobody really wants to see that”.

BAM! PLAYBOY ZING!

Perhaps in Doug’s eyes, appearing in TMZ with this prematurely withering, ditzy, spray tanned, peroxidal crone once a week means that he’s once again relevant in Hollywood. Sigh… and at what cost relevancy, say I.

At around the same time as Doug’s latest fame-crazy facepalm, Tom Hanks was reaffirming for the world why he’s more beloved than Santa Claus, rainbows, and a basket of playful kittens COMBINED!

Hanks went viral after a young man asked him to pose for a series of photos in a restaurant, where he pretended to steal Tommy’s glasses. What followed…

Only served…

To remind us…

That Hanks’ everyman appeal shall never wane.

How to tie all this together?

Well, after hearing of Duncan’s untimely passing, I did what many a movie-geek would do – I sought out his most notable performance, and slapped the disc into my DVD player for a reminder of how we lost a talented individual way too soon.

But…

I soon found it virtually impossible to divorce my knowledge of 2012 celeb-u-tainment from a movie I’d previously enjoyed. Even the twin doses of MCD mourning and Hanksian charm weren’t enough to quell the revulsion I have for a man and his ‘child’ bride (coughcough) so desperately clawing at the underbelly of Hollywood’s D-list.

Which is strange, because as distracting as ‘Stoddison’ (you’re welcome, tabloids) is, is Hutchison any worse than… say… Charlie Sheen? Because I can still watch ‘Major League’ without picturing Charlie beating/shooting the female team owner. I can still watch ‘Grease’ without conjuring up images of Danny Zucco twisting Kenickie’s arm for a deep tissue massage. I never once imagined Batman losing his shit at Lucious Fox over the key lighting in Wayne Towers during ‘Dark Knight Rises’, and I’m pretty sure I’ve sat all the way through ‘The Terminator’ without making an inappropriate ‘Target Acquired: Latina Maid’ joke to The Wife.

And yet I legitimately cannot watch ‘Mean Girls’ without being distracted by the human shipwreck that is Lindsay Lohan. I cannot giggle at Michael Richards OTT entrances in any given ‘Seinfeld’ repeat. And I cannot suspend disbelief long enough to separate Percy Whitmore the villain from Doug Hutchison the… well…

Probably coulda just posted this picture and saved myself about 600 words, huh…

Why should one scandal weigh more heavily upon my psyche than another? Why should Lindsay’s slow, Winehousian descent be more distracting to me than Ah-nuld’s transgressions? Am I making unconscious, moral judgements? Am I on some level condoning Sheen’s ‘alleged’ physical abuse of (multiple) women, but condemning vacuous fame-whoring? Does this make me no better than the billions of ‘Two & a Half Men’ fans out there?

Ughhh… too much to ponder. I just wanted to watch a Tom Hanks movie featuring a ‘magical negro‘ character (conceived by a white writer, natch), death by electric chair, and an unnaturally long-lived mouse. 

So thanks, Doug… that’s one more neuroses to clutter up my brain, and one more DVD gathering dust and just taking up valuable space in my collection.

Which isn’t to say I gave up altogether on celebrating Duncan’s life in my own, small way…

Because hey… any day you manage to find time to watch The Rock and MCD motherflippin’ sword fight whilst simultaneously rocking some seriously bad-ass hair extensions… that, my friends, is a good day.

Which is my ridiculously long-winded way of saying you will be truly missed, Mr. Duncan.

And eat a bag of dicks, Mr. Hutchison.

BPM

You know what would make this scene even funnier? OR the most pointless BPM post EVER!

September 5, 2012

Finally got some down time this weekend, so I settled in to watch ‘Wanderlust’.

For those of you who may have missed it, it’s a comedy starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston. A one-sentence pitch? “What if two inner city yuppies threw it all in and moved into a hippie commune?” Another one-sentence pitch? “What if Jennifer Aniston finally took her top off in a movie, but we blurred out her bosoobies?”

That’s right – neither of us appear to be particularly happy with the blurrage

Totally serviceable movie. Not hysterically funny, but worth my 90 minutes. I was willing to give it a chance because it’s from the same writer/director team that gave us ‘Role Models’, and features a bunch of their buddies from classic comedy series ‘The State’. One of whom is comedic character actor Joe Lo Truglio.

Joe’s had small roles in a bunch of movies the past few years, like ‘Superbad’, ‘Paul’, ‘I Love You, Man’ & ‘Role Models’. In this flick, he plays a nudist novelist (say that 3 times fast) named Wayne…

That’s right, eyes up Rudd…

… whose penis we see throughout the film repeatedly.

That it’s apparently a prosthetic makes no difference to this little black duck. As I sat there, trying not to stare at the Lo Truglio Monster, I could only think of one thing (yes, only one, I promise).

And that was that this is all Jason Segel’s fault.

Behold – a pictorial example of my desire to prove a point being overwhelmed by my refusal to post any more nudity on this site.

Yes, you Segel! You are your dangler in the first 5 minutes of ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ started this comedy revolution! Since then I’ve been smacked across the face (METAPHORICALLY) with Jason Mewes’ junk in ‘Zack & Miri Make a Porno’, by Jason Biggs’ big’un in ‘American Reunion’, by Ken Jeong’s wang in ‘The Hangover’, and by Sasha Baron Cohen’s dicktator in… well… ‘The Dictator’.

All used to varying degrees of comic effect, sure. But still… really guys*???

One thing that all of these movies have in common is that they were all, of course, written and directed by men. Women have known for centuries about men and their obsession with dick jokes. It’s only now they can actually film them, put them up on the big screen in a mainstream commercial flick, and receive an MA rating, at worst.

Cocks on film… the 21st century take on the filmic fart joke.

That’s right, menfolk – we now live in an age where female nudity is carefully and tastefully obscured in movies, whilst where every second dumb comedy thrusts a dick and balls at us!

So to speak.

What is happppeeennniiinnngggg!??!?!?! Up is down! Black is White!

Overall crudity quotient -9%, funny animal quotient +13%

I may sound like I’m over-reacting now… but wait until this stuff permeates other movie genres. You ain’t gonna be laughing when Captain America and Iron Man literally have a dick-measuring contest in ‘Avengers 2’. Or maybe you will. I don’t know. Seems Robert Downey Jnr is a good enough actor to make anything work on screen these days.

I foresee the not too distant future, a day where I’m either a) running down the middle of the street screaming ala ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (no, not the shit Nicole Kidman one), or b) ranting Charlton Heston-style…

…yelling “It’s Dicks! Modern Comedy is Dicks! You have to believe me!”

I’m ranting now, aren’t I? My high school Career Counsellor always said I’d end up unemployable, shamelessly ripping off old sci-fi movies in lieu of coming up with solid writing ideas of my own.

Well played, Miss Dobson.

Until next time kids, keep it clean and keep it in your pants.

I mean… keep your comedy… uhh… that is to say… not that you shouldn’t clean your… because obviously you should always… umm…

Oh, forget it.

BPM

* For the record – my tip for the next cinematic comedy todger flash? Russell Brand. Has to be, right?