Friday, January 29, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup is Good for You, Duh

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 5:28 PM

The Corn Refiners Association has created a series of commercials to explain that high fructose corn syrup is totally fine for your health. The logic? You don't know why HFCS is bad for you, and therefore it isn't. Stupid.

In fact, HFCS is probably bad for you, or at least society as a whole—unless the skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates in this country that correlate with the introduction of HFCS into our diet are mere coincidence—for complicated scientific reasons that are outlined here. (If you're suspicious of Wikipedia, try this.) Unless you want to believe the studies funded by "a large corn refiner, the American Beverage Institute and the Corn Refiners Association," in which case HFCS is totally fine, dude. You might also believe the testimony of reporters for media comapnies of which you've never heard, or scientists who work for organizations with which you're unfamiliar.

Video after the jump.

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Things to Do Inside a Firehouse This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 5:00 PM

This show, featuring Julianna Barwick, MNDR, Knyfe Hyts, Grooms and Noveller, was supposed to take place at St. James Church in Chinatown, but then bad things starting happening. Consequently, it’s been moved to DCTV, an historic firehouse-turned-television studio at 87 Lafayette Street, which sounds like an equally unique setting. You should read this, then go and support the bands and promoters still trying to do cool things in this city. If we lose them, then it may not be long before New York’s music scene starts looking like every other city’s, and we’ll wonder why we all left Ohio to live here in the first place.

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Am I a Bad Person for Still Kind of Liking Martin Amis?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 4:57 PM

martin amis is old
I've always loved Martin Amis as a writer. But... I've also understood how his public utterances, particularly in the last few years, have quite justifiably pissed off lots of smart, thoughtful people. But where his antagonistic bad wittle boy statements about immigration have been laughably perverse, his latest call for "euthanasia booths" on British street corners is something I can get behind.

Fearing a generational "civil war" between young people and a "silver tsunami" of the aged in the coming decade, Amis, who's lost people close to him to awful degenerative diseases, told the Sunday Times, "There should be a [euthanasia] booth on every corner where you could get a martini and a medal." Fuck. I like martinis, and I love medals—I don't see the problem here. Various societies in favor of oldness are outraged.

Of course, the million dollar question here is which side Amis, now 60, would fight on in the coming war. He says himself: "Well, I'm not a million miles away from that myself."

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Keyspan Park to Be Re-Named

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Keyspan Park, Coney Island's minor league ballpark and Giuliani's contribution to the neighborhood's revival, will soon have a new name. The Brooklyn Cyclones, a single-A ball club affiliated with The New York Metropolitans, have ended their naming rights deal with National Grid, the Brooklyn Eagle reports today. Which makes sense, since Keyspan was swallowed up years ago by National Grid. And if there's no more Keyspan, why keep a stadium named after it? (The deal was supposed to last until 2020.)

A new name has yet to be announced. We hope to God it isn't "National Grid Park," although any big-name corporate alternatives aren't any more attractive. "Brooklyn Brewery Stadium" might be nice. "Thunderbolt Park" would be even better, since the stadium's construction unnecessarily, and illegally, resulted in the destruction of the neighborhood's other iconic rollercoaster. (Alvy Singer grew up underneath it!) Remember the good old days when stadia didn't need to wear a Corporate Banner?

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Our Eyes Are Popping Out of Our Head, So Eager Are We to Read Your Submissions to Our Literary Upstart Short Fiction Competition

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Seriously, the L's crack team of first-read short fiction adjudicators all look like Roger Rabbit right now, is how much we are looking forward to receiving your submissions for our sixth annual Literary Upstart: The Search for Pocket Fiction competition.

Lit Up is one of the things we at the L most enjoy doing, not just for the quasi-legendary sense of boozy literary camaraderie at the live readings, but for the chance to read the often quite spectacular fiction output from aspiring writer types all over the city. So take a look at our submissions guidelines, and show us whatcher workin with.

And tell your friends, even the ones you secretly hate.

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Does Moving the 9/11 Trial Really Make Us Look "Frightened and Scared"?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Anthony Weiner said today on Morning Joe that we all seem "frightened and scared" by not wanting to have the 9/11 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial in downtown New York.

Really? Not that I'd ever agree with a douchesack like Joe Scarborough (and I'm not, actually) but I gotta say I'm starting to understand the whole "this will be a really expensive pain in the ass" argument from downtown community boards and local pols, especially in light of no explicit promises from the feds to bankroll the steep security costs. A civilian trial, due process, transparent justice... yes, yes, yes. But a fully bunkered Lower Manhattan for several years? I can see the problem with that.

Let's just have it in a field in Staten Island. Or Governors Island. Or on a boat anchored off Hell's Gate. Or here.

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Is Tonight the Best Night in the History of Live Music in NYC

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 3:15 PM

I mean, no, it's probably not, but it's very, very good—the kind of night that makes your rent ant the giant "water bugs" seem like a small price to pay for being so much cooler than everyone else in the world, by sheer virtue of the fact that cool people are always coming here and performing for us.

So, how should we do this? I guess you could just click over here for our listings page for this evening, but that seems unnecessary. How 'bout we just do it right here. After the jump, your many, many options for live rock music tonight.

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The First Four Minutes of the Lost Season Premier Leaked

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Watch it now, 'cause I imagine it's not gonna be around for long. (Vulture)

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Hipster, Grifter Now Blogging, and Not Very Well

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Kari Ferrell, yes the Hipster Grifter of viral '09 fame, is a new writer over at ANIMAL. The website was among the most attentive to the story and its anti-hero last Spring, which undoubtedly explains her affections in return, but we're left wondering about the mutual appeal. Despite having almost a week's worth of her postings to sift through, well, we just don't really get it.

So far, we've been treated to a State of the Union Address drinking game and some incongruous (funny?) hyperlinks. There has been the obligatory "You probably don't want to read what I have to say" manifesto and the less necessary "These con-artists are way worse than me" post. But, the thing is, we do want to hear what you have to say, Kari Ferrell. Or, at least, we kind of want you to make us want to hear what you have to say. Stop with this take-me-or-leave-me routine and show us your tried and true you-know-you-want-me side. That's the schtick that got you where you are today. That's what captivated us in the first place.

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It's Dogs! PLAYING POKER! (for charity)

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Dogs playing poker

Really, I'll do anything to post this image, even if it means giving you the head's up about a charity casino night on Sunday at Unleash in Greenpoint, to benefit Dog Habitat Rescue. It's at 4pm this Sunday, 216 Franklin St. Five bucks gets you food, poker, craps and the chance to lose all your money for a good cause. Because helping animals doesn't have to be totally crazy.

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Man Sets Himself On Fire in Protest of Fur Store, Dies

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 1:33 PM

burning monk
A man set himself on fire Wednesday, in Portland, outside of a fur store. Witnesses heard him screaming, "There are animals dying! Animals dying!" He later died from his burns. The great ugly sea of anonymous internet commenters and other "real Americans" are enjoying the opportunity for jokes, none of which I will repeat here.

I'm just kind of amazed by this. Clearly, anyone prepared to immolate themselves has a degree of mental instability that none of us can really understand. Then again, living happily in a society that has elevated cruelty to such mind-numblingly euphemized, hyper-industrialized efficiency, requires an awful lot of willful ignorance—maybe we should all be a little more unhinged. (Warning, those links are pretty intense, but hey, this stuff is happening in our own backyards...)

George Bernard Shaw summed up the cognitive dissonance inherent in the way we treat animals: "While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?"

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Seriously, No One Will Pay This Much Money to See Tegan and Sara, Right

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 1:09 PM

You know what is an unreasonable amount of money to pay for one ticket to see Tegan and Sara at the Music Hall of Williamsburg? Look over there to your right—see that? A completely unreasonable amount of money to pay for one ticket to see Tegan and Sara at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

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¡Adios, Ugly Betty!

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Hey, shes neither ugly nor Betty
  • Hey, she's neither ugly nor Betty
ABC is axing Ugly Betty, the American-adaptation of popular telenovela Betty La Fea about an intern at The L a fashion magazine. The show will end in the spring after eight more new episodes, having run for four seasons.

Betty began as a bona fide hit, garnering not only viewers but awards—star America Ferrera won a Golden Globe and an Emmy back in the mid-2000s. But, according to the New York Times, the show has consistently lost viewers, likely thanks to "convoluted story lines". (Did Betty travel through time like in Lost? To a fashion magazine in 1977? I wouldn't know because I'm 2 Cool 2 Watch It.) The show averages about five million viewers an episode, which means that if it were on NBC, Ferrera would be getting The Tonight Show.

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God of Carnage Cast Shuffles Again

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Sure, Ill take the part, I just want to be working
  • "Sure, I'll take the part, I just want to be working"
Does anybody else have trouble remembering which Jeff is Bridges and which is Daniels? (Seriously, my Crazy Heart notes were full of references to "Daniels"' performance!) Anyway, the Jeff without a Golden Globe—or a serious chance at an Oscar this year—is returning in March to the God of Carnage production he left in November. The twist? He'll be taking on the role James Gandolfini played, while Dylan Baker (click that link!) takes on the role that Daniels once occupied. Lucy Liu also joins the cast for her Broadway debut. (Can't have a Broadway production without a movie star!) Whether these changes mean that the company that handles the play's publicity will finally let us see it remains unclear. Anyway, Feb. 28 is your last chance to see Jimmy Smits and his critically respected co-stars in these parts.

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In Defense of Hollow Man

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Hollow Man, Paul Verhoeven's last, largely loathed Hollywood film, plays midnights at IFC Center this weekend.

American Psycho wasn’t the only comedy released in 2000 about a murdering rapist who suffers from delusions of grandeur while fearing deep down that no one even notices him. But whereas American Psycho was a modest indie hit and an enduring critical favorite, Hollow Man was a $95 million flop attracting near universal derision from reviewers, including the New York Times’s rookie chief critic, A.O. Scott. (Metacritic assigns the film a score of 24 out of 100, while Rotten Tomatoes rates it at a whopping 27 percent.)

Hollow Man’s failure marked the end of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s astonishing run in Hollywood in the 1980s and 1990s—a period in which he made in succession Robocop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, and Starship Troopers. The first two were immediate unmitigated hits. The latter three were hostilely received upon their initial release (though Basic Instinct at least made money). But in the years since they have all aged into beloved cult classics. And yet there’s been no such reclamation for Hollow Man, which earlier this month took another kick to the shins from the L’s own Paul Brunick, who actually used the movie as his punchline. With the film’s tenth anniversary approaching—and with IFC screening it this weekend—it’s worth considering why, among all of Verhoeven’s Hollywood pictures, Hollow Man is uniquely reviled.

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J.D. Salinger Dies and the Economy Grows... Coincidence?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Sure, the economy grew last quarter the fastest it has in six years, but more importantly, the death of J.D. Salinger has revealed things like the video below, which you now must watch, because it will make your hearts grow.


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Your Vengeful, Martyred Weekend at the Movies with Mel Gibson

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 8:57 AM

What are you looking at, sugar tits?
  • What are you looking at, sugar tits?
Edge of Darkness: Mel Gibson returns to the screen after a seven-year absence; I completely forgot that his last headlining performance was in Signs. He is way, way better in that movie than he is in, hmm, let's be generous and say eighty percent of his previous work. But Gibson heard the call of directing, so he's been doing that on and off for awhile. I was pretty down on Gibson as a director after that Christ porn, but I have to say, Apocalypto is kind of awesome—definitely the right kind of crazy, and specific brand of craziness is often a concern with Gibson. For example, most stars of his level would make their big comeback role the center of either a big-deal summer blockbuster or a major year-end Oscar campaign, but he chose another revenge thriller released in the near-dead of January. After Braveheart, Ransom, Payback, and all of the torture stuff that makes it into both his star vehicles and directing projects, Gibson's thirst for vengeance and/or accompanying martyrdom has become predictably crazy—one of the worst kinds, incidentally.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger, 1919-2010

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Jerome David Salinger, whose death yesterday has just been announced, was born in Manhattan on New Year's Day. Before and after fighting in the Second World War (he was drafted), he sent stories to the New Yorker with one story—an early appearance from Holden Caulfield— accepted for publication in 1942, but held until 1946. "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" was published in 1948, leading to a close and mutually beneficial relationship with the magazine, which made an ideal home for his exquisitely clear, ironical narrative voice, eye for socially significant detail and ear for smart-mouthed dialogue, and his lovingly detailed depictions of precocious minds and a rarified New York City. Looking back at those stories in the New Yorker's digital archive (all are currently available for your perusal) is like looking into a snowglobe. (It's from that snowglobe where filmmakers like Wes Anderson and Whit Stillman got many of their ideas about New York City. Salinger's influence has perhaps been greater outside of the literary world than within it: the vast majority of his fans were—and, obviously, continue to be—younger than him, and grew up around newer media.)

"A Perfect Day for Bananafish," pages 21-25 of the January 31, 1948 issue of the New Yorker, is the story of Seymour Glass, a veteran of the Second World War, on vacation in Florida following hospitalization for psychiatric reasons, and some rather inappropriate behavior in New York.

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Man Seeks To Relieve My Depression By Hugging and Kissing a Live Chicken on NYC Subway

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Thank god. Just when I needed a little relief from sadness and anger and depression, a video shows up on youtube of a man making love (in the 1930s sense of the term) to a chicken on the uptown 6 train. Thank you internet, thank you humanity.

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Drinking with Purpose

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 2:52 PM

As our collective attention span— and the amount of it we’re willing to dedicate to grief and pain (much less that of other people)— diminishes, here’s a shout-out to people and organizations still rallying on behalf of those who need it.

Cheers to Good Samaritans, Haiti, and drinking for a cause all weekend long.

Love for Haiti:
Webster Hall, January 28
36 Hour fundraiser for Doctors without Borders
5pm Thursday-5am Sunday, 12 hours each night

also planned for Webster Hall:
Quarterly Arts Soiree (QAS)
Webster Hall, February 28
24 hour fundraiser for Orphans Int’l Worldwide Haiti

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