Author Archive

Essay

Where Occupy Wall Street & Millennial Douchebags (Should) Diverge

The view from my office looks right at the State Capitol, so for the last couple of weeks I have gazed upon the vagrant tent city comprising “Occupy Denver.” I find the spirit of this movement somewhat ingratiating and their execution haphazard and mediocre at best. The night the police told them to disperse, I awoke the next morning amused and annoyed by the news report of the evening’s events.

White dudes with dreadlocks stood there yelling at police about how they have a constitutional right to protest their government and the police’s orders to disband were tantamount to tyranny. While it is legal and constitutionally protected to protest the government, it remains illegal to camp overnight in Denver city parks, which is what they were doing. The city has the right to enforce the law, and exercised that right. No one said they couldn’t protest, they just can’t break municipal ordinances. Yet, there was Dreadlocks McGee shouting at the police all blustery about tyranny.

Considering how many members of my generation participate in the “Occupy Wall Street/Denver/Kirk Herbsreit” movement, I’m reminded of how idealistic and driven we can be, but how that drive and determination can turn us into myopic jackasses. Continue Reading »

Movie, Sport

Summer Homestand: Moneyball

Every Wednesday between now and the end of baseball season (of 2009) the Cru Jones Society brings you a new baseball movie examined for both overall entertainment value and treatment of our favorite game. This is a special edition of that series. To suggest a film, email us at staff [at] crujonessociety.com. Otherwise, pour yourself an $8 beer, crack some shells, and let’s play ball.

 Date Released: September 23, 2011
Box Office Total (as of 10/2/2011): $38,469,000
Team Featured: Oakland Athletics

“It’s unbelievable what you don’t know about a game you play every day.”– Mickey Mantle, the opening quote in Moneyball.

It’s said that being creative is seeing the same thing as everybody else but thinking of something different. Inventors do this, business leaders do this, comedians do this, and in 2002, Billy Beane did this with baseball player evaluation. Moneyball tells the story of creativity in a classically stubborn and traditionalist sport. It’s less a story about baseball, and more a story of the challenge of innovation and reward of determination. Continue Reading »

Field Trip

Random Travel Musings From 11 Days Abroad

London, Paris, Munich.

Lady E said to me several weeks back, “Thank God we’re going to Europe so we can hang out together,” after what’s been a particularly brutal summer at work filled with trips to Houston, Casper (Wyoming, bitch! Jealous?), and a bounty of after work events all about town. This was a much needed break, and the trip was so awesome it’d melt your face if I told you the whole tale.

That’s why you only get a handful of random musings about it, lest you suffer the face melting. So here we go. Continue Reading »

Essay

Defining What’s Real: Realizing There’s No Definition

“What is ‘real’? How do you define ‘real’?” – Morpheus, The Matrix

No mainstream film of the last decade and a half dealt with the question of how to define reality better, or more extensively, than The Matrix. It took what we saw as fundamental truths about the world and created a universe that turned every last one of them upside down. It subjugated the world as we know it to a world of fantasy, created to nourish the human mind so that our future robot overlords (Who I, for one, welcome!), could continue to harvest us and lord over the world or whatever the fuck (this was the one part of the movie I was unclear on).

While the question of what is real is a fundamental question to humankind and one that has been wrestled with since the dawn of civilization, it’s not one that figures into day to day life for most of us. I probably think about it more than most because I work in a trade where perception is reality, but most of my engineer, geologist, and finance compatriots function in spaces where reality is generally drawn with clearer borders. That’s why it was with great interest (and a note of muted glee) that I was so happy to watch my professional world thrown into minor upheaval, and why I realized the documentary is simultaneously the most powerful and most dangerous form of entertainment today. Continue Reading »

Music

Songs To Close Out Your Summer 2011

It’s the music craze that sweeps the nation every August – Songs to Close Out Your Summer! Order it now for 3 easy installments of $19.95! You’ll get five discs of the “best” music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and today! Order now, and we’ll throw in this handsome pancake flipper, which will be perfect for that one time a year when you get a bug up your ass to eat pancakes! Operators are standing by!

Or you can just start to bid adieu to patio time with these good jams that E Dagger compiles for his birthday every year. This year I turn 30, and everyone asks me if I’m dreading it like we live inside a sitcom or something. No, I don’t dread it, and why would I?

There’s nothing I can do about it, and more importantly, I’ll finally establish some additional instant professional credibility without having to do anything. That happened when I got married – I’m pretty sure the thinking is “If he was at least smart enough to convince some lady to commit to him, he’s not a total assweasel.” – and it’ll happen again when I turn 30. Being in your 20s and trying to advance in a professional environment is a lot like trying to get laid while having a visible cold sore on your lip; you can do it, but it’s going to take a shitload of legwork.

Anyway, let’s check out this year’s playlist. For reference, here are the playlists from 2009 and 2010 . Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts because winter is right around the corner. What’s hot, DJ Roomba?  Continue Reading »

Essay, Movie

How to Make a Movie in 48 Hours

This weekend my friends will make a movie. They don’t know what movie they will make, but they know they will start it Friday night at 7:00 pm, and they will turn it in by Sunday night at 7:00 pm. They can’t tell you what it will be about, where it will take place, or even what the main character’s name is. They can’t tell you about the film’s exciting moments or quippy one-liners. They can’t tell you what kind of movie it is.

My friends are not being coy or difficult. They can’t tell you about their movie because they don’t know anything about it either.

This is the 48 Hour Film Project. And while I will not be joining my friends in their quest for two day cinematic glory this year, I can tell you what it was like last year. Here is the Nebulus Visions / Cru Jones Society story of the 2010 48 Hour Film Project. Continue Reading »

Essay

The Loud and the Confused: One and the Same

As I watched the All-Star Game this year – way to go National League! – I found myself thinking about Casey Anthony. It’s not that Casey Anthony was a can’t-miss power hitting 3rd baseman or anything (that would have been awesome), it’s because Tim McCarver and Joe Buck, who are both awful, kept talking about Derek Jeter.

McCarver thought Jeter “owed it to the fans” to show up, tip his cap, and make the celebration of his 3,000th hit a national thing, not just a local one. That’s horseshit. And for several reasons. 1. We all have cable and/or the internet, so anyone who wanted to see it could already watch it in perpetuity over and over again. This is 2010, not 1962 when there were 3 channels and racism was still sort of okay. 2. When have ever had to do that before? I don’t remember having to drop what I was doing to continue to applaud Craig Biggio or Tony Gwynn. 3,000 hits is nice, and quite an accomplishment, but several SportsCenters in a row dissecting it is enough. 3. That means Jeter would have had to fly across the country, continue to get hounded by media, then fly back, and play Thursday. That’s not rest, that’s unnecessary PR hassle.

That didn’t stop McCarver from bitching about it, which led me to think about all the noise about Casey Anthony. People who shouldn’t even have an opinion about it were going on and on, and the dialogue was becoming less and less cogent.

In today’s feature, let’s look at three pressing issues (two national, one personal) and try to figure out what the fuck is going on. We’re squawking, but do we even know why? Maybe, maybe not. Continue Reading »

Things We Love

Things We Love #26: Uncanny Midwestern Friendliness

It’s Wednesday night as I write this and I have just returned home from a trip to Milwaukee and Chicago. I have been home for about two hours and I am happy to be here. Buttfor and Bumhug are pleased to see us. I am relaxing on my own couch after staying in two generally marginal hotel rooms. I am not subtly (or not so subtly, depending on the temperature) sweating on account of the semi-oppressive summer Midwestern humidity. When a vacation ends, I am almost universally happy when it does. The only thing better than going on vacation is coming home from one.

With that said, one thing I will miss greatly from this trip is the uncanny politeness of Midwesterners. For as friendly as Westerners are (and they are), they’ve got nothing on the generosity, pleasant demeanor, and goofy charm of our Scandinavian friends to the east and north. That’s why they’ll always be a CJS Thing We Love. Continue Reading »

Essay

The Death of Weird

That Charlie Sheen thing didn’t last long, did it?

From approximately early January (I can’t be certain of the exact begin date considering a search of the AV Club’s archives turns up 164 answers to the query “Charlie Sheen”) when the country learned of Charlie’s crazy substance abuse superpowers, his desire to create a porn family, the tiger blood, winning (duh!), and all the other seemingly unbelievable (read: Holy shit, this is actually happening in reality?!?) until about – what, May at some point? – when CBS announced Ashton Kutcher as Sheen’s replacement on “Two and a Half Men” we were all fully within the crazy Charlie Sheen vortex.

Think about the elements of this story for a moment. You’ve got the star of the #1 sitcom in the United States, hookers, cocaine, Twitter, the president of the #1 network in the United States, something called “vanity cards,” porn stars, an eager public, and professional publicity exploiter Dr. Drew all involved. It’s a huge fucking story, but lasts only 4 months.

Why? Our culture churns and burns this stuff at a clip thought previously unimaginable and turns the page like a meth addict reading a manual on how to smoke meth more efficiently. The Charlie Sheen thing left with barely a whisper about Ashton Kutcher as the new star of the nation’s #1 sitcom, and was promptly shown the door by the revelation that the most recent former Governor of California, not to mention star of no less than 7 movies that grossed over $100 million, banged his house maid, fathered her child that is the same age as one of his children whom he had with his wife, and is currently trying to make some sort of Terminator reboot. This event, it bears mentioning, is greeted with a mere shrug among the people I know despite it being abstractly the biggest political/celebrity scandal in over 10 years.

What’s the point of all this? Weirdness is dead. I am simultaneously shocked all the time, and yet surprised by nothing. Our culture has reached satiation point and there is nowhere left to go. Good luck. Continue Reading »

Nonsense

E Dagger’s 5 Most Punchable Faces

“I don’t know what it is about your face, (holds up fist), but I just wanna deliver one of these right to your suckhole.” – Rob Riggle as “Randy” in Step Brothers.

Watching the NBA Finals this year, and this is exactly how I feel about Chris Bosh. Something about his stupid face makes me just want to put my fist square in his grill and knock that obnoxious, manicured, boy band beard off his big ugly head. I don’t think there’s anything he can do to change my mind either. I will probably always want to punch Chris Bosh in the face.

I suppose he can take solace in knowing he’s not alone. So in honor of the day we all get to point and laugh at Lebron, Wade (looking like the only one with any sack of these three assholes) and Bosh choke away the Finals after turning the entire country against them, let’s take a look at E Dagger’s 5 Most Punchable Faces. Continue Reading »

Essay, Movie

The Last Cinematic Feminist Argument We Should Ever Need to Have

“It isn’t enough for Bridesmaids to be a great comedy; it has to be a comedy that transcends the lady-movie ghetto, thereby becoming the thing to which all lady movies aspire. We don’t have the vocabulary to talk about what it is, so we elevate it into something it isn’t: a paradigm shift, a game-changer, whatever.” – Genevieve Koski , “Why Bridesmaids won’t save the ‘chick flick’ and shouldn’t have to,” AVClub.com

Lady E and I saw Bridesmaids this weekend and both laughed our asses off. Like most of Judd Apatow’s oeuvre, the movie has a laugh out loud quotient higher than almost anything else out there thanks to spirited and inventive profanity, humor driven from fully realized characters, and gross out gags that don’t hold back. Also like the rest of his work, the movie underlines a very sad protagonist that balances the comedy with understated poignancy. Real problems don’t have easy solutions, and the troubles faced by the characters in Bridesmaids don’t resolve easily either.

For as interesting a piece as Bridesmaids is, what I found more interesting was the dialogue Lady E and I had after the movie over giant mason jars of beer. I made the crack that we both should have been wearing our “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts while we chatted, but ultimately I came to realize something similar to what Ms. Koski argues above. I have very little distinction between male and female comedy anymore. Funny is funny. And that’s a good thing. Continue Reading »

Essay, Sport

R.I.P. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

When I was a kid, Randy’s Mother (aka Macho Mom) would always make sure that Randy would put aside tickets for when the WWF or WCW would come to Chicago. During a show in 1992 or 1993, me and my brother were actually granted the opportunity to go backstage. For the 6-year-old me, this was the most awesomest thing possible.

I don’t remember what happened during the show, but I do have a vague memory of what happened when I was able to go backstage. I’m not sure of what my expectations were of going backstage, but at that point in my life I was sure of 3 things: Wrestling was 100% real, there were Good Guys who were super heroes, and there were Bad Guys that were super villains.

We were met backstage by some WWF people who were leading us into the locker room area, and we were brought to Randy to say hello. There were a bunch of other wrestlers around, which was really cool but there was one problem: the good guys were hanging out and being cordial to the bad guys! Seeing good guys like Brett Hart sharing laughs with bad guys like Jake “The Snake” Roberts was almost traumatic to see; like seeing your Dad french kiss your aunt. It simply wasn’t supposed to happen.

I was sad, scared and confused. I gathered up the courage to ask why the Good Guys were friends with the Bad Guys. Randy said, “We’re not. We’re just tricking them. You’ll see.”

After this, a WWF rep was showing us some other areas of the backstage. I don’t remember what we saw, but I know when we circled back to the area where Randy was, all of the wrestlers I had seen before were back in character. Bad guys were yelling at Good Guys about how they were going to kick their butt and Good Guys were holding each other back from attacking the bad guys.

This. Was. Awesome. It IS real! Of course it is!

Randy didn’t know me too well, but he cared enough about a young fan and professional wrestling to keep the illusion and innocence alive.

While, as I said earlier, I cannot claim that we were particularly close, I do send my condolences to those in our family who were. He made a lot of people happy.

The above is not my story, but it’s my favorite tribute to “Macho Man” Randy Savage I’ve read over the last four days. It belongs to a gentleman named Adam, who was Randy Savage’s second cousin, and it was sent to Drew Magary of Deadspin who included it in his latest edition of the Funbag

“Macho Man” Randy Savage died Friday of a car crash in Tampa, Florida. This is my tribute to him. Continue Reading »

Sport

Hatesport! E Dagger’s 5 Least Favorite Teams

The genesis of this article came last Monday night. Lady E worked late. I breathed easily after a local news piece on my company that could have gone either way turned out largely positive. The Rockies sat 12-3 with the best record in all of baseball, and the buttfucking World Series Champion San Francisco Giants rolled into town for a little old school baseball bloodmatch. The team that had it against the hot team that wanted it. Fuck yeah! Baseball time!

Then Esmil Rogers promptly exploded and spotted five runs in the first inning to Tim Lincecum, giving up a 3-run homer to goddamn Pat Burrell who was hitting .190 at that point and one epic shot immediately thereafter to Nate Schierholtz who, despite being someone I have never fucking heard of, became the first one to put it in the right field upper deck this season. Christ…

This reminded me of just how much I hate the fucking Giants. Granted, I don’t hate them enough to beat one of their fans into a coma, but then I’m not a Los Angeles psychopath. I sporthate the Giants an appropriate amount. This led me to think about who else is at the peak of my sporthate. Continue Reading »

Movie, Sport

Summer Homestand: A Question of Verisimilitude

So I’m watching Rookie of the Year the other morning, and it’s the scene where the Cubs play the Mets for the NL Pennant. Gary Busey as Chet Steadman is out there laboring away with his thick ass mustache and hat full of crazy. He walks the bases loaded and begs his manager, the wildly emotion Sal Martinella, for just one more hitter. Steadman shakes off a bunch of pussy ass breaking balls and goes for the heater. He rears back, fires, and you hear his arm give out complete with a giant wail from an inexplicable electric guitar on the movie’s soundtrack. Continue Reading »

Sport

Our Opening Day Pitchmen

It’s time for one of the CJS HIgh Holidays: MLB Opening Day.Tomorrow we’ll be at the park with a beer in hand, cracking peanut shells and enjoying the greatest game on earth as it shepherds in the summer months. Around these parts, a new season not only brings a fresh sense of hope, but also a new batch of Rockies commercials. So let’s roll in the new season with the delightfully offbeat humor of the Rockies’ amazingly successful marketing efforts. Continue Reading »

Essay

Helpful Tips from your Friendly Neighborhood Burglar

I realize I’ve been wrong. I’ve been myopic in my focus, lacking in nuance in my approach, and needlessly limiting myself to but one form.

Why have I merely limited myself to poking fun at simple relationship articles, when there’s a whole internet full of stupid shit to make fun of?  

And first up: That bastion of delightfully pointless claptrap you don’t even bother to read in the waiting room of your dentist’s office – Reader’s Digest! Continue Reading »

Essay

The Simple Majesty of the Podcast

At the intersection of technology and obsolescence sits the podcast. Without a doubt, the technology of the iPod revolutionized the way we consume our culture in its sleek appearance, easy-as-pie interface, and seemingly limitless storage capacity. The iPod made all technology from the charmingly archaic Walkman, the comparatively cumbersome Discman, and the thoroughly misdirected mini-disc player look like relics from the Temple of Doom.

Yet, what is one of the fastest growing formats played on this tiny little morsel of technology? It’s the most outmoded form of social interaction you can possibly have – a long, meandering conversation with someone else free from interruption, format restrictions, or FCC constraints. A conversation you can have at a pub in 2011, or on the goddamn prairie in 1835. Sure, the content would be different, but the spirit remains very much the same.

The podcast is the perfect marriage of technological advancement and that which we decry is missing from many of our interactions in day-to-day life: real depth, real connection, and real conversation. Technology we blame on alienating us is also bringing us together in unexpected ways. It’s a culture come full circle, and I’m here to tell you why it means so much to me. Continue Reading »

Movie

The Duality of Experience in a Pixar Film

The movie Up was not at all what I was expecting. I texted CJS Regular Brad two nights ago; it read “The movie Up was not at all what I was I expecting.” He replied, “What were you expecting?” I said, “I have no idea, but it was way more action movie-y than I thought. And way more dogs too.” Brad’s response: “Yeah, same here, didn’t expect that much action… Or to want to cry at the end.”

That pretty much sums up every viewing experience of a Pixar film rather tidily, doesn’t it? Way more action than you expect married with a desire to cry. Why is that? How does Pixar achieve this strange balance? Let’s take a look. Continue Reading »

Field Trip

Geek Bowl V: The Results

I had this post all written in my head. After handing in The Road to Geek Bowl V last Friday, I already had the victory lap primed and ready to go. Victory at Geek Bowl V was to be a culmination of everything the Cru Jones Society is: Humor | Analysis | Pop Culture | Backflips.  

Humor represented by the choice of J. Thurston Rockefeller Meowington IV as our silly, yet dignified choice of team name.

Analysis represented by our impeccable preparation, prescient category prediction, and tireless training schedule at a thorough representation of Denver bars and quizmasters.

Pop Culture represented by our daily conversations comprised of nothing more than snippets from TV shows, movies, Goldfinger crank calls, and questions of “If you could be any famous historical tyrant, who would you be? I’ll go first…”

Backflips represented by our raucous celebration after supreme Geek triumph…

I’m pleased to report that what went down on Saturday, while not a Geek triumph, was at least not a Geek tragedy. Here’s our story of Geek Bowl V. Continue Reading »

Field Trip

The Road to Geek Bowl V

You may have noticed it’s been quiet around CJS lately. No, we’re not callously folding up shop again. This time it’s for an actual good reason, and not some stupid “We work too much/I have homework/I want to see my wife/Work is haaaaard” mealy-mouthed bullshit.

No, the reason we haven’t had much time to dedicate to bringing you the funny on a more regular basis is that we’re deep in the pursuit of knowledge. We’ve committed ourselves to a quest for glory complete with sacrifice, perseverance, and lots of mid-week drinking.

That’s right, everyone. We are going to take down Geek Bowl V. Continue Reading »

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