Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bush Smashes Floor, Invades Basement

The latest Reuters poll reveals a new low approval rating for President George W. "Saddam killed all the Mandelas" Bush:


That ties Richard Nixon's approval rating (at the time of his resignation) for the lowest ever recorded approval rating for any US president in history.

You aren't really surprised by this, are you?

I wonder if someone told Bush that the low end of the approval rating scale was full of petrolium. That would go a long way to explain the zeal with which he has invaded the lower reaches of the spectrum. He can't do anything to boost his approval rating now; that would be too much like "cutting and running."

The United States Congress, meanwhile, has the astonishingly poor approval rating of 11%. How did they earn this mark of shame? By refusing to fight Bush.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Shut Up, Avril Lavigne

I bought the Japanese port of EA's Burnout Dominator for the PSP shortly after it came out, but only started to play it yesterday. I was dismayed to find out that there are four (!) versions of the Avril Lavigne song "Girlfriend" on the game's soundtrack.

That's four too many versions of any Avril Lavigne song.

The song is included in its original incarnation, as well as in three multilingual versions where she sings the chorus in Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish. Now people from countries around the world can become acquainted with Avril Lavigne's tendency for annoying lyrics that sound like they were lifted from the diary of a depressed fourteen-year-old girl. EA's pop music licensing scheme (called EA Trax, a system whereby EA puts annoying songs on game soundtracks but, graciously, allows players to turn individual songs -- or all the songs -- off) is unpopular with game critics...and now, with the decision to flood my auditory canals with four versions of a song I hate, EA Trax is even less popular with me.

Poor Avril Lavigne. She just can't win my favor. The fact that I cannot get my ears to accept her music is incredible when you consider the fact that, in 2005, I began my self-imposed "Be Less of a Music Snob" policy. It was meant to serve as a reform to my traditionally toffee-nosed attitude toward the myriad musicians I don't like, and to replace my feelings of "They suck" with feelings of "To each his own."

The new policy worked and I became a better person...except I still couldn't stand Avril Lavigne and a handful of punk-pop bands.

Avril Lavigne continues to be one of my least favorite singers on Earth. Her song lyrics are so inanely conversational-sounding at times and, yet, so obnoxiously melodramatic at others. You can't just write a song with a lyric like this and get away with it:

She's like, so what ever

Some people's moms say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything." To Avril Lavigne, I say, "If you can't think of an adjective to describe the relationship you're planning to sabotage, don't bother writing a song about it." And I have to wonder, is this song based on true events from Avril's life? Did she really try to steal some guy away from his "so what ever" girlfriend...and use this song to do it? And did it work? It's hard to visualize such a scenario.

AVRIL: Hey! Hey! You! You! I could be your girlfriend!

ME: Hey! Hey! No you can't! You're stupid and annoying! Piss off!

I can dance to that song. But I will say this: For the soundtrack to a Burnout game, Avril Lavigne's music might be the perfect accompaniment, because when I hear her voice my initial reaction is an uncontrollable desire to participate in a spectacular car wreck.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Happy Birthday, Takigawa Christel

I've been meaning to write a blog post about Takigawa Christel, my favorite Tokyo news anchor, for a couple of years now. Since October 1, 2007 marks her 30th birthday, I guess today is a good day to do it.
The sleepy-eyed queen of Fuji TV's evening news was born in Paris to a Japanese mother and French father, who gave her the epic moniker Masami/Christel Takigawa Lardux.
I fully support her decision to shorten her name for TV.
On the evening news, Ms. Takigawa plays second fiddle to an old dude who always sounds like he's lecturing her...and when he's not doing that, he's conducting an interview with a foreign correspondent or politician in really goofy-sounding English. Despite being upstaged, however, Ms. Takigawa continues to charm audiences to no end with her "special move."
I'll bet you didn't know that Japanese newscasters had special moves. Everyone has special moves in Japan. This is the country that spawned Street Fighter, isn't it?
Takigawa Christel's hissatsuwaza is as follows: She glances at an up-and-to-the-left camera, says "Tsuzuite wa, Nyuusu Furasshu desu" ("And now, News Flash"), and does the cutest tight-lipped smile in the entire broadcast world.
The power of this special move is devastating. See for yourself in this fascinating YouTube video why Takigawa Christel is the anchor with the mostest.