Category Archives: culture

the things that make up our culture

Remembering the “Naughties”

Yes, that time has come again. A decade has come and gone, and it’s time to remember the things that made this past decade great. The following list is a collection of ten things that this author believes defined the last ten years.

#1: Wikipedia: Anyone who knows how to HTML code should make a page about me and this blog.

#1: Because of this handy little website, writing a paper or researching a project has never been easier. Before Wikipedia students had to aimlessly search for information on Google that was probably inaccurate or actually have to go to the library and open a book. Because of this site the library has been made a dusty relic of the past. In the next decade look for Wikipedia to begin advertising on food products and hosting college bowl championships and look for libraries to be converted into soup kitchens and shelters for the growing unemployed.

#2: ipods: Nothing says, "I don't want to talk to you" better than those white cords coming from your ears.

#2: Music had always been a big deal but unless we had all of our favorite songs on a mix tape on our Walkman we couldn’t take it with us. With the invention of the ipod we could bring our favorite music with us EVERYWHERE. This maybe would have not been a bad thing except for the fact that most people have a shit awful taste in music, and with the number of songs these ipods could hold that meant hundreds and even thousands of shit awful songs. In the next decade look for Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em ipods to appeal to peoples terrible fucking interests.

#3: Facebook: You should link my blog from your page. Also, Facebook is evil.

#3: Yes, where would we be without Facebook? Probably in about the same place only our grades would be a lot better, we’d be getting more sleep, we wouldn’t be taking as many pictures of ourselves and each other and we wouldn’t know if someone we hadn’t seen or spoken with since 11th grade could survive a zombie attack or not. Has our generation become addicted to Facebook? You decide. Also, join my blog fan page on Facebook. In the next decade look for Facebook to be purchaced by Comcast and all of our drunken debaucherous photos to appear on reality TV shows.

#4: Reality TV: Because there really isn't a better passtime than watching beautiful people doing terrible things for fame and ugly people doing terrible things for money.

#4: Do you know who William Hung is? Or maybe Kim Kardashian? Are you acquainted with the rest of Ozzie Osbourne’s family? Well, you shouldn’t be but of course you do because you don’t live in a hole or a cave somewhere and you own a television. Yes, since the new millenium reality television has become pretty fuckin’ popular but you’ll forgive this blogger if he’s lost track of the number of Big Brother’s that have aired on CBS. In the next decade look for not just shows about fat people becoming thin, but thin people becoming fat. Also, by 2020 more than 95% of the United States population will have appeared on a reality TV show and 45% of them won’t realize it until they see promos for ABC’s Hidden Camera Fat Asses.

#5: The 1980s: "Hang on I can't hear you let me turn my DEVO cassette off on my Walkman and put it in the front pocket of my blue and yellow checkered windbreaker. Yeah, those neon green Ray-Bans totally go with your gold Nike Kicks."

#5: Time is cyclical everyone says so I guess the 1980s came back around and hit the 2000s. Whether it was in the synthesized music playing at clubs and parties or on the radio or in the bright skinny jeans and retro shoes we wore to 80s themed parties it seemed as if a Molly Ringwald or Ferris Bueller lookalike was everywhere you went. Our interest in 80s culture could mean one of two things. One, that we are trying to be more in tune with the past. Or two, that we have mistaken co-opting a past generation’s culture as a way of shaping our own identities. It’s gotta be the former. In the next decade look for everyone to dress and listen to music from the 1990s. Then, in 2030 we will all reset back to the style of dress and music of the hunter gatherer societies of Mesoamerica.

#6: Energy Drinks: Now with more taurine. Don't know what that is? It's radioactive piss!

#6: Cocaine is illegal. But wait, no it isn’t. Yes, it is. But the energy drink Cocaine is available to drink today! Or is it? I don’t know if it’s been pulled for having insanely high levels of sugar or something. Energy drinks have been extremely popular because not only are they packaged with badass words and phrases like Citris Crunk!!! or Kronik or Pimp Juice, but they also taste like liquified candy with 10 times the sugar. Yes, energy drinks will give you energy, but only for about 30 minutes to an hour and then you crash very hard and your physics homework will never get done. That’s what the Ritalin is for. In the next decade look for energy drinks to get bigger and have more belligerent names like Shit Shake: You’re Literally Drinking Shit and Bitch Slap: It’s a Bitch Slap to Your Tastebuds.

#7: The Environment: What many people don't realize is that Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around... Comes Around" is actually a pro-environment song.

#7: The 2000s, unlike any other decade was ripe with pro-environmental messages and some of the strongest came from movie stars. Household names like Leonardo Di Caprio, Cameron Diaz or Sting would demand that we use fluorescent light bulbs or attach solar panels to our homes or take baths instead of showers. But there seemed to be an inconsistency with their demands. These people were flying jet air planes all over the world using tons of gasoline in the process or driving gigantic SUVs all over LA to get to their hair and nail appointments. Even the platforms from which they spoke such as Earth Aid were greater energy wasters than they were worth. We were wasting energy watching them tell us not to waste energy! In the next decade look for congress to pass  some of the strongest environmental laws yet making it legal for you to punch that self righteous street canvasser who works for the Sierra Club.

#8: The Steady Decline of The Simpsons: "Oh look at me Marge, I'm making people happy! I'm the magical man from Happy Land and I live in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane. Oh by the way Marge I was being sarcastic."

#8: While this blogger is, and will always be a huge fan of The Simpsons from about 2001-2002 onward something terrible happened to the writers of this show. I don’t want to blame 9/11 but it probably didn’t help. Suddenly the jokes went on too long or weren’t funny or characters were brought back that clearly shouldn’t have been like the wives that Homer and Ned married in Vegas. An entire episode would be devoted to Marge or Lisa or even Professor Frink, which was a big mistake because he really only worked in small doses and even Mr. Burns wasn’t funny anymore. Now and again there will be a clever pop culture reference but episodes typically fall flat overall. Even more confusing was that “The Simpsons Movie” was actually good which leads this blogger to believe that there are two completely different writing teams and one still has Conan. In the next decade look for more of the same only each show will be 90 minutes long and done with live actors and there will be a reality show to decide who those actors will be.

#9: Tiger Woods: I never once saw a Perez Hilton or TMZ story about all of the majors he won.

#9: This blogger used to be a serious golfer. Not a seriously good one but still he used to play and watch golf a lot. While Tiger Woods was a seriously talented golfer who this blogger respected the talent of immensely, he always seemed like kind of an asshole. Now with the emergence of recent events which this blogger will not go into it has been proven that he is, is fact, not kind of an asshole but in fact a huge asshole who just so happens to be very good at beating a bunch of white guys and one Fijian. We all thought his personal life was boring as shit. We were wrong. In the next decade look for Woods to either decline interviews for the rest of his life and break the Nicklaus record of 18 majors and immediately retire or look for him to retire now and live as a recluse on an island somewhere with hundreds of women. The latter sounds pretty good.

#10: Bloggers: Don't judge us. You're reading our work right now.

#10: Was there ever anything more useless than someone’s opinion about something? Well, what if that opinion was written down somewhere, like on the internet and what if that same opinion was gussied up with pictures and links to other people’s opinions? Yes, bloggers are an interesting sort and chances are if you are reading this blog then you probably have a blog of your own or at least have had one at some point. Bloggers are just like everyone else, they seek validation for what they believe and if that means some crazy tirade about the Chinese, then sobeit. If that means making pointless top ten lists that works too. In the next decade look for bloggers to become sentient and to rise up and take on powerful political appointments. They will be tremendous speech writers but extremely lacking on the words into action side of things.


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Everything you ever wanted to know about a sport I don’t know anything about

Do you love screaming at the top of your lungs about nothing in particular? Do you like hitting things? Do you like enclosed spaces? More importantly do you like enclosed places with giant glass walls? If you answered yes to any of these questions then RACQUETBALL may be the sport for you!

But WHAT is racquetball? It’s really no more complicated than the title. You have a racquet, you have a ball. You swing at the ball with the racquet while screaming, the ball hits a giant wall, you hit the ball again. It’s just that easy!

"Woah shit, I'm literally climbing the walls. This is easily the most badass sport ever!"

But before you say, “Hey wait, there’s more to racquetball then screaming and hitting a ball.” You’re right! You also get to wear some way awesome clothing!

Sweat-bands: Because you'll be like super sweaty. Plus, if all that sweat from your Jew-fro gets in your eyes and on your hands hitting the ball and screaming will be way harder.

Goggles: No racquetball outfit is complete without a badass pair of goggles. They protect your eyes but more importantly, they make you look like a douchebag. Bonus if they are prescription.

Short-shorts: Nothing says "You're gonna get your ass kicked" like shorts that are so short your upper thigh is visible. Gay? No. Confident? Yes.

Team polo: If you really want the competition to shit themselves show up to your match with a bunch of your friends wearing the same shirt. Bonus if they're monogrammed with your name.

Shoes: If you're looking to get an edge on your opponent try to wear the brightest shoes possible and hope they'll be distracting. If that doesn't work jump around and point at your shoes a lot.

Now you’re almost ready to begin but you still need a racquet!

The racquetball racquet looks a lot like it's tennis counterpart albeit way more retarded looking like it was slammed in a car door or damaged when thrown at an opponent.


The racquetball is soft and rubbery. But it still stings like hell when you get hit with one. Plus telling people you have blue balls will never get old.

So, now you’re all equipped and ready to HIT THE COURTS!




But first an instructional video:

Don’t you get it? Basically, one opponent stands in an arbitrary place and hits the ball at the wall, then the other opponent tries to return the ball while falling down because they get more points for this. When the crowd becomes sufficiently confused or disinterested one player pretends to miss the ball and the point is awarded to the other player.

If you’re still confused it’s just like squash.

DISCLAIMER: The author of this post is not interested, nor will he ever be in the actual rules of racquetball or it’s counterpart squash. Please do not inform this author as to the actual rules of either sport.


Filed under culture, sport

Yo Gabba Gabba: Educational children’s program no. Psychedelic show for college pot heads yes.

When did children’s programming stop teaching us things? Or better question, when did children’s programming stop making sense? The shows that I watched when I was a kid, Sesame Street, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Arthur, Wishbone, all taught us something, whether it was how to make friends, how to count to ten or who the ancient Greeks were.

Now, it seems like we’ve regressed with incomprehensible children’s programming like Boobah, a seemingly incoherent show about several weird gelatinous blob people who lived in a womb and occasionally sent little screaming British kids flying through the air.  Or a now staple program for the drooling infant, Teletubbies, a show about British (coincidence?) alien like creatures with televisions in their stomachs and antennae on top of their heads. Basically, the Teletubbies consisted of four retarded people who danced around all day, ate custard and toast and occasionally summoned their vacuum to clean up for them.

These shows taught stupidity and slovenliness and also just plain sucked but fear not, our nation’s children may not be learning anything but they sure can have fun not learning anything. One such show for children that most certainly doesn’t suck is Yo Gabba Gabba. While completely pointless it’s also completely awesome. Just watch this intro and tell me you don’t want to watch this show.

Woah… that was trippy as fuck am I right? But crazy awesome visuals are not the only thing this bizarre gem of a show is about. Yo Gabba Gabba also has way awesome musical guests like MGMT:

Or Of Montreal:

Shit… I don’t know why more people don’t brush their teeth.

But wait, you’re saying. This show needs some awesome hosts too well look no further cuz this show’s got an entire episode dedicated to Jack Black:

And everyone loves Biz “You say he’s just a friend” Markie right? Well he’s a fuckin’ regular and with his beat of the day why wouldn’t he be?

And no show would be complete without Murray (Rhys Darby) from Flight of the Conchords pretending to be a robot:

It’s shows like this that make me wish that I was five again, and that I had a huge bag of weed.

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Halloween parties: Think, “I was so fucked up last night” + zombies and hot nurses

If you’re my age, when Halloween rolls around every year you no longer go from door to door in your neighborhood in search of candy. Well, you still might but that would probably be because you were drunk. Yes, booze and not candy is now what captivates us every time October 31st rolls around. It makes sense really, you’ve put time and effort, and in some cases lots of money into your giant gorilla suit or Michael Jackson costume so why not top the persona you are trying to capture off with a little liquor induced acting? You would probably be much more inclined to climb that tree overhanging the river with those 10 whiskey shots in your stomach, and you probably wouldn’t attempt to moon-walk down that flight of cement stairs were it not for the case race you had against that guy in the ninja turtle costume.


Typical Halloween attire. 'Beer Keg Man' was the designated driver for the night.

And why shouldn’t we enjoy ourselves? We’re always told that our years in college are some of the best years of our lives so we should get as much enjoyment out of them as possible. This is especially true for holidays such as Halloween, which you’ll only experience 4-5 times as an undergraduate unless you like it so much you decide to stick around for another 3-4 years, a good option for the hardest partiers. But if your idea of enjoyment on Halloween is getting super drunk with a bunch of guys in cavemen outfits, playing Madden 09′ and then wandering outside to throw up on people’s lawns and smash their pumpkins in the streets that’s fine. I won’t judge you if that sort of thing is your idea of maximizing your college experience.


It's like, what we'd look like if we played sports in the 80s get it?

And who am I to judge if your idea of a good time is waking up on a futon surrounded by groggy semi-strangers with a pounding headache, a missing cell phone, several mystery stains on your pants, a torn eye patch and damaged paper mache parrot on your shoulder? I’m not, I just wouldn’t have dressed as a pirate. But that’s what it’s really all about. Making memories, or at least piecing them together based on what pictures you’ve been tagged in. Afterall, nothing makes a dazed walk home the morning following a party more enjoyable than if it is done as a cardboard robot or giant plastic M&M.

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Birkeland’s Basement: 3 guys who make “decent” music together

It says so much about the music scene today when you and your friends can form a band with nothing more than a computer and a dream. This formula was exactly what was empolyed by one new Minnesota band, Birkeland’s Basement. Forming in the summer of 2009, Basement orignially was unsure of the shape it would take.

“I knew I wanted to make a song about some overconfident asshole who had sex with women.”20 year old band member Steven Fay said. “But beyond that I don’t really think we thought about that idea expanding.”

In Basement’s beginning, it was a duo made up of Steven Fay and Hans Birkeland, where the band got their name because the original songs were written in his basement. But soon after writing the first few songs, Fay and Birkeland realized that they needed someone who could provide their lyricism with beats and instrumentation. “We could write and sing the songs, but we were really pretty clueless about adding beats and rhythms and all that.” Birkeland noted. “That’s why we turned to Nils.”

Nils Persson, a friend of Fay and Birkeland had been experimenting with beats and different kinds of music for many years before he was approached to join Basement. “I had been experimenting with all sorts of music before Steven and Hans came to me with the idea for making a song. I thought it was a great idea but why stop at one?” Persson commented.

The idea for a band came shortly after the first meeting with Persson. “I thought yeah, why not? We all had ideas for songs we wanted to write and make so it just seemed natural that we continue on and try to make an album.” Fay added.

The trio is currently working on a music video for it’s EP, “Ima Fuck You Bitch” and is also working on songs, “I Beat Bop-It” and “The Nilla Slide”. The only question that Fay, Birkeland and Persson couldn’t answer was what sort of music their band made. “Our first few songs are definitely in more of a rap/hip-hop vein.” Birkeland stated. “But we also plan to write songs that have more of a techno-pop sound and maybe some more experimental stuff too. Sort of like The Lonely Island or Flight of the Conchords but with way less talent.”

No release date has been given for the first as of now still untitled debut album from Basement but the one thing fans can expect once it does it that it shouldn’t be taken seriously. “We’re not really trying to make good music.” Said Fay. “It’ll sound decent for sure but nothing that makes people stand up and say, woah that’s good.”

“It’s really our idea to appeal to as many people as possible, or at least having people talking about us whether it’s because they think we suck or they like us.” Persson added. “Just coming up with our name took us months, we settled on Birkeland’s Basement because we all agreed that it was both accessible yet mysterious enough where we could be making any kind of music. Everyone’s bound to like at least one of our songs.”

It seems the trio of Birkeland’s Basement leaves a lot to be desired. But from what they have lead us to understand so far is that it will be something like a cross between this:

And this:

But way shittier.


Filed under culture, music

The top 10 things that should and will make a comeback

#1: Light up shoes: "Look mommy no seizures!"

#1: Light up shoes: "Look mommy, no seizures!"

Light up shoes: Nothing says “hey look at me!” like light up shoes. They were the talk of any kindergarten class. But wait, there’s a problem with that sentence, kindergarten class. We wore them then why not now? Any simple websearch reveals that these shoes do in fact exist and in adult sizes so the only reason I can think of as to why they haven’t come roaring back is this: They’ve either been deemed as extremely tackey or way too cool. I’d prefer to think the latter. Bonus: Be the first guy or gal on your street to bring back those sweet velcro straps.

#2: Safety suckers: "It's never too late to pull it out."

#2: Safety suckers: "It's never too late to pull it out."

Safety suckers: “Well you’re all done.” Dr. Wanderman would tell me once I hopped down from the checkup table in one of those weird fitting nursing gowns that I could never tie right. “Here you go.” Of course you all know what happens next, you would be handed an orange, or if you were feeling adventureous, a cherry flavored safety sucker. This of course was a win-win for me and my doctor. I could enjoy the chemically processed goodness of some brand-x health sucker and the doctor could take solace in the knowledge that I would not choke to death. The whole process of someone choking on these things and then “saving” themselves by yanking the ring out of their mouths seems nice enough. But as a parent I’d be more worried that if my kid could choke on a sucker that he’d also be one of those kids who could drown in a kiddie pool.

3#: Roller discos: "They still exist right?"

3#: Roller discos: "They still exist right?"

Roller discos: Some of you may be too young to have even experienced the roller disco phenomenon that swept the nation in the 1970s. Luckily, I came from a suburb in Minnesota that was at least two decades behind the rest of the country and thought rollerskating in the dark while the “Hokey Pokey” played through the speakers was still cool. We all thought it was anyway and it made for a cheap field trip for our school. My class would swarm to Cheap Skate (an ironic name now that I think about it) all amped up ready to be fitted for rollerskates, or rollerblades for the real “cool kids” and hours later we would come out giddy and smelling of pixie sticks showing off our miniature novelty combs or mustaches. It was awesome. Now imagine doing that now. Pounding techno music, flashing lights, pants and shirt so bright and fluorescent that they blind everyone around you. The whole experience could even be topped off with some mind altering <ahem> hallucinogens. There are some downsides though, roller discos are extremely hard to find and the one by my house was closed down and turned into an Aldi. Bonus: Roller discos would probably be a great place to find a bunch of hot women, the ones who haven’t mistaken it for a roller derby anyway.

#4: Giant cell phones: "Yes honey, they're cordless now!"

#4: Giant cell phones: "Yes honey, they're cordless now!"

Giant cell phones: Now this might seem like a step backwards initially but c’mon, styles are pointing to 80s retro right now and who’s to say that technology shouldn’t follow suit? Think about the possibilities. Yes, you’re having a very important conversation with someone but don’t you want as many people as possible to know that you’re having an important conversation? Besides, if someone walks up to you and says, “Why the hell is your phone that big?” you can just respond with, “Why isn’t yours?” That’s how trends start anyway, right? With the ever shrinking cell phone size of today it seems only a matter of time until we reach that limit and have to go bigger again. I look for the major telecommunications carriers to carry these big phones within the year.

#5: Scratch N' Sniff Stickers: "Because bending over and sniffing your graded spelling test never looked weird."

#5: Scratch n' Sniff Stickers: "Because there are too many things we shouldn't scratch or sniff."

Scratch n’ Sniff stickers: Think of getting a sticker on your spelling test that said, “Good job!” Now if that wasn’t enough to boost your young wavering self esteem imagine that you could scratch that sticker and then bend over and smell it. “Hey now! That smells vaguely like grapes!” That’s right, you have just been the lucky recipient of a scratch n’ sniff sticker. These teachers didn’t just give these coveted stick n’ smells for anything though. They came out only on special occasions like a nearing holiday or a birthday and they were stored deep under the manilla folders of the teachers desk drawer. Possibly the best thing about scratch n’ sniffs is that you can find them years, even decades later, scratch them and they still smell! If that’s not quality I don’t know what is.

#6: References to Borat: "Hey dudes, check out the one impression I do!"

#6: References to Borat: "Hey dudes, check out the one impression I do!"

References to Borat: Now I became as annoyed with the constant stream of Borat impressions that pervaded our culture a few years ago as the next person. But I must admit, recently I heard some scream, “Izzz nice!” and much to my astonishment, I laughed. Yes, as bizarre and mislead as it might seem, I propose that the time has again come for the occasional, “I like!” and “Wah wah wee wah!” Seriously, if someone was to perform a serviceable renditon of a Borat quote at a party you’d at least laugh before you punched them right?

#7: Crazy straws: "Makes drinking plain old juice fun!"

#7: Crazy straws: "Makes drinking plain old juice fun!"

Crazy straws: It really surprises me why crazy straws aren’t more popular. We would get the occasionally at my house when I was younger but they usually had to be matched with an equally crazy drink like a smoothie or rootbeer float. You couldn’t drink milk with a crazy straw. I suppose it does make sense in some way why they aren’t more widespread in this culture of instant gratification. After all, when you take a cup or straw to your lips you expect to be quenched by the liquids inside almost immediately, not in a matter of seconds as it would take were the liquid in question traveling through the crazy straw. But I, being the traditionalist I am, believe that these straws can make a comeback just based on them being so colorful, twisted and wacky. Just look at the picture crazy isn’t even spelled right! That’s crazy!

#8: Popsicle frezzer trays: "It's like juice, but frozen!"

#8: Popsicle freezer trays: "It's like juice, but frozen!"

Popsicle freezer trays: As a kid my favorite thing in the world was popsicles. If my parents weren’t home and I didn’t want to make lunch for myself I could just eat 4 or 5 popsicles and I’d be full. There were so many brands and flavors and over time I probably tried them all but to me, nothing beat a grape Welch’s popsicle, though I did stain a good number of t-shirts because of them. The popsicle is timeless. The world might end and we could all be living in caves and as long as we had fruit juice and a freezer tray and a mini freezer we would survive. Those are the 3 things I would grab if a giant cloud of burning ash was headed my way. You can even use them to accessorize <see left>. Plus easy clean up and dishwasher safe!

#9: The Skip-it: "Wear thick socks to prevent ankle bruising."

#9: The Skip-it: "Wear thick socks to prevent ankle bruising."

The Skip-it: I never had a Skip-it as a kid, but I was jealous of everyone who did. I didn’t have a good reason for wanting one, it just seemed like the kids in the commercials were having so much fun. It was a really stupid and pointless activity really. Basically you stand upright with occasionally lifting one leg over and over again. If you get to 500 skips have you won or lost? They still exist somewhere, if not on ebay then collecting dust in some kids garage, right behind the mini trampoline and the Bop-it Extreme that stopped working when dad threw it against the wall in a momentary lapse of judgement. It would be a hit for drunk kids at parties though. If you can do this thing without throwing up you win! Bonus: Would probably double as a great weapon for fending off other would-be Skip-it champs.

#10: Yahoo Serious: "He demands to be taken seriously."

#10: Yahoo Serious: "He demands to be taken seriously."

Yahoo Serious: Now I don’t know a whole lot about Yahoo Serious, but I do know that he was  popular in Australia in the early 90s when Crocodile Dundee was popular in the States. I once saw a movie with him on channel 45 late one night where he was running down flights of stairs being chased by giant falling piles of garbage and he’s known for playing the guitar or something. Basically I’m guessing that he’ll become famous again because he’s got a crazy name and he hasn’t made a popular movie in Australia in decades so he’s prime for a comeback. Maybe if he moved to New Zealand he could cash in on some of the popularity of Flight of the Conchords everyone loves those guys. Bonus: He doesn’t sound like us so he’s immediately more interesting. Plus the name.


Filed under childhood, culture, music, television, Top 10