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SNL Does Blackface...Story at Six PDF Print E-mail
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Guest Contributions
Written by mrhotlanta   
Monday, 14 December 2009 10:11
As I seem to be programmed to do every Saturday night, I stay up to try and watch SNL, which has now been the only 'live comedy' game in town for over three decades. Traditional vodka tonic in hand, I once again found myself rooting so very hard for this week to be "the one." Yes, I know, I should have seen it coming. The show disappointed, yet again.

Full disclosure - Somewhere between Dave Matthew's second number, I turned off the tube in favor of A Movable Feast, which has been my most successful attempt at reading Hemingway. But I didn't want to do this. I really wanted to be given a reason to stay up with SNL. Unfortunately, that reason never came. But since I didn't watch the entire show, and since I have a thesis in need of finishin', I'll just give a brief word on the opening sketch, for in it lies so much of what is wrong with this formerly great show.

The opening sketch, which apparently now abides by a law requiring it to be a parody of a political event from week's past, attempted to lampoon Pres. Obama's recent trip to China. The sketch featured the underused Will Forte as China's President Hu Jintao with equally talented Fred Armisen continuing to fall short in his role as Obama. The theme of the bit was America's enormous debt to China, and Obama's empty assurances that it would eventually be repaid. Already laughing? Snideness aside, it was not terrible. The punchline was that Hu kept asking Obama if he thought Hu was a female. Obama would ask why, to which Hu would reply (through a translator) "Because you keep trying to do me as such!" (Hu sticks his rear in the direction of Obama.) Get it? Gay sex...get it? Good.

But no matter how funny this was, what I could not get past was that here, in the opening number, were two WHITE actors portraying an Asian and an African American. Got it? That's DOUBLE BLACKFACE! BOO-YA! Maria, who normally makes it through a couple sketches before letting loose with her weekly, "I don't know why you watch this RACIST show," saw this and called it a night. And while I'm not about to call SNL today's Birth of a Nation, it is glaringly clear at this point that Lorne Michaels and company have a real problem giving screen time, and contracts, to minorities (point proving stats to follow).

For the past decade, the world of popular culture has become a very integrated place. Crossovers between white and minority artists happen all the time, and no one bats an eye. The Chappelle show thrived on this type of social milieu, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't love that show much more than SNL. Did I mention that our president is African American? And yet, Lorne and the gang at SNL continue to push forth this bland, Ivy league, white comedy that hasn't been of real interest for a very long time. Why? Why has he refused to branch out, bringing in a more culturally representative comic voice? I guess only he knows, but if you ask me, I'm blaming it on being from Canada.

I know this site is supposed to be a soap box for my crappy jokes, but I'm branching out a bit. We have now at least ten regular readers, and I think they deserve something more thoughtful, so from now on, TBTF will also offer running commentary on the world of comedy and comic writing. Enjoy.

Read more from mrhotlanta @ http://thisblogtastesfunny.blogspot.com
 
Rosaria Dawson, Don't You Remember Me? PDF Print E-mail
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Guest Contributions
Written by mrhotlanta   
Thursday, 24 September 2009 11:30
Hey, Ro-Ro. Remember when we came up with that nickname for you? Oh, I do. Trust me, it was a pretty hilarious moment. So I saw you today in the East Village, but I guess, and this is probably as weird for you as it is for me, but, you didn't say hello? I know, I know, you were in a hurry, and that weird sweaty guy with the dreads was like, "hey, you, let's hug, cause I hear you're cool with dread dudes." I could totally see how grossed out you were, but even still, it was nice of you to give him your number and address where you're staying. No one ever accused you of not going the extra mile to make fans feel comfy. Really, I was just hoping you'd recognize my face from all the pictures I've sent you over the years. Then, in case we happen to bump into each other at some poshy night spot in the NY, like Chile's or some shit like that, you'd be like, "Oh, snap. Is that Matt?" Yeah, but I guess you didn't see me, cause you had a white-guy dread slopped across your eyes. But even if you didn't see me, I was surprised you didn't hear me run into that hot-dog cart trying to track you down. Don't worry, I'm okay. My hand got a bit crispy from the dog fryer, but whatevs. Maybe you could come by before you swing West Coast style, you know, rub some aloe vera or something on the burn. No need to bring your own. I've got a plant.

Alright, gerrrlfriend, so, just, you know, if you're in Queens, holla at your boy, you know. But if you can't make it to Queens, that's cool too. We still might get to hang, you know, cause I'm kind of following you around this very minute (I'm in the Starbucks across the street from your hotel...call me!).

Read more from mrhotlanta @ http://thisblogtastesfunny.blogspot.com
 
The Amtrak Experience PDF Print E-mail
Guest Contributions
Written by mrhotlanta   
Monday, 13 July 2009 10:05
Recently, we traveled to Montreal via the train. Below are some thoughts. Alright, a lot of thoughts. Read what you want.

STAGE ONE
The trip begins underground, but then again, it’s New York. Where else would it begin? Quickly though, the train comes up for air around Harlem. Fairway’s fresh bread on your right, Hudson’s not so fresh water on your left. Rumbling along, you begin to pay visit to the little towns dotting the map just above the city. Yonkers, Tarrytown, the other ones. Each sort of beautiful, sort of a graveyard for industry no longer around. Still graffiti, still trash, still stray dogs eating graffiti and trash, but you are now on your way and the damn thing is just wonderful. And feet rests! Who thought of this stuff? A bit further up, the train really begins to wind with the Hudson, and for the first time, I realize how majestic the river actually is. No wonder it had its own school of painters and artists, dedicated to preserving in time the water’s life. You don’t understand it when you’re surrounded on all sides by the giants of man, but here, just beyond the Yankees, Trump, and Wall Street, lies what has to be one of the most scenic landscapes in all of America.

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN STAGE TWO AND THREE...I THINK
So, the people. Ah, yes. Who exactly rides the train in this day in America? Well, to be honest, it’s a mixed bag. Pretty much like an airplane, you have folks from all walks of life, of all races and economic levels. Think of it as a rolling sitcom for ABC Family. Beside me sits an African priest who only speaks French. FYI: even in French, it is annoying as hell to hear someone yelling into their cell phone – even a man of god. Luckily he sleeps quite a bit, as he has already polished off a small bottle of Amtrak’s finest Pinot Noir (an incredibly fresh wine, as the snack bar attendant actually stands on the grapes as he works). A couple rows up, a misplaced Eurotrasher, who seems to think he is somewhere between Palermo and Rome. Other than that, the clientele is pretty run of the mill. Hey, I said it’s a sitcom – I didn’t say a good one.

STAGE....UH? IT’S 1:30
Lunch with the family, in the dining...er...snack car. Certainly the best view in the house. Basically, the snack section of the train is like the common space of a dorm. People you don’t know sleeping with their shoes on, beer cans being pounded by the bored, that sort of thing. Actually, it is pretty nice. Where seats are normally, there are tables with bench seating, like a roving beer hall. Passengers do the normal things we do when there is nothing going on – drinking, card games, Cup of Soup. There is, however, a wonderful, unspoken connection in this section. Like a bed and breakfast, most of us took the train, certainly for cost reasons, but also because we were looking for something different. Personally, I like to add layers to my vacations. I want to relax, but I also want to learn about another culture, I want to see new landscapes, I want to meet people I have never met before. On the train, I get the sense that I am not the only one with this desire. It is not perfect, but its different, and in that, there is great value. At least for me...and the priest hammering another bottle beside me. Speaking of exciting adventures, here come the Amtrak prepped hotdogs.

CROSSING OVER – THE BORDER
The trip is beginning to take its toll. We are stuck at the border, as TWO guards check the passports of every single passenger. We have been here for at least an hour, and have probably another half to go. The air is hot, and smelly. I blame the Eurotrash, but perhaps it is me. Perhaps it is the smell of my growing disdain for the Canadian pace. Perhaps it is the toilet, which has stopped working properly. Even Miya is tired. After an hour and a half of Dora and the Backyardigans, she has grown tired of her old friends, turning instead to snarkiness and fits. Perhaps someone could tip off the guards that on board is a toddler filled to the brim with youthful exuberance and high-grade marijuana. Perhaps someone already did. Roughly three hours to go, once this party train gets moving again. Then what? Montreal better not suck! PS – to the lady in front of me that sang happy birthday to Canada upon crossing the border, enough already.

THE FINAL STAGE...?
After a two hour wait at the border, we are finally in Canada. And on Canada Day. How special. You know, if I could have one thing for Canada Day, it would be the heads of those two incredibly slow border guards. Alright, not their heads, but at least the hot one should have to go eat lard covered fries with me. It’s only fair. After the long wait, it became clear that three of us would not be going forward. The guards came back for a family that had been sitting in the front of our car. No explanation was given, as if it were my business. They just packed up their things, and left. I could not help but feel some regret over my earlier complaints about how long the crossing took, for here, after ten hours of travel, a small family had to turn around. The border is an interesting place. I haven’t seen many of them in my life. Certainly the many “Welcome to...” signs do not count, for no one is there to make you turn around. But national boundaries, they are powerful lines. Why, for instance, can’t this family come across? I am not naïve to the problems that come with fluid borders, but there was something almost heartless, almost unnatural, about telling this family “no.” I am also struck by how similar the US side is to the Canadian side. Up ahead, of course differences will begin to show, but right now, man – talk about a lack of creativity.

WE ARRIVE
Finally.....we are here. The tracks coming into Montreal are not beautiful, but over the river, they do provide some unique vistas of the city (including the biosphere, but as expected, no Pauley Shore). Once inside the heavily concreted station, the rail pulls up to an easy stop, and out yo ass goes. We are here, were queer, and we won’t leave Quebec (until Sunday). FYI: the Amtrak guy gave me some advice – the quickest way to get through customs is to travel right before a hockey game. Apparently, the guards are much less afraid of potential foreign free loaders than they are angry hockey fans.

Read more from mrhotlanta @ http://thisblogtastesfunny.blogspot.com
 
MikesLessons.com PDF Print E-mail
Guest Contributions
Written by Hotstuffler   
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 09:25
(click logo above to check it out)

As I’m sure none of you know, with the exception of Jeff and perhaps Citizen Ben, I am a drummer. I’ve been drumming for about 6 years and would still consider myself a beginner. The biggest reason for that over the last 6 years I haven’t been incredibly motivated to better myself at the instrument. That was until about 4 months ago. I had subscribed to Mike Johnston’s YouTube account drumteacher76 a long time ago because, of all the drum lesson channels and accounts on YouTube, I always found Mike’s videos to be the most helpful and easiest to understand. I had heard him mention his website in a couple of his videos but never taken the time to actually check it out until he posted a video back in February showing everybody that wasn’t familiar with his website what it was about and how it worked.

For $19.99 a month Mike teaches 11 lessons a week and during each lesson you have the option to enter a chat room and talk with other MikesLessons.com drum students. He does 3 lessons on Sunday, 4 on Monday, and 4 on Wednesday. Each of these 11 lessons are totally and completely live. Sunday is a beginner lesson, Monday is intermediate, and Wednesday is advanced. One of the great things about these lessons that I have come to love is that even though there are lessons built specifically for beginning, intermediate and advanced drummers, any drummer of any skill set can learn something new from all of these lessons. The beginner lessons on Sunday are broadcast at 10 am, 6 pm and 7 pm Pacific time. The intermediate lessons broadcast on Monday at 11 am, 12 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm Pacific time. The advanced lessons are broadcast on Wednesday at 11 am, 12 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm Pacific time. If you are like me and work 14 hours on Monday and can’t sit in for any of the intermediate lessons, don’t worry. Mike records one of his lessons for that day, usually the last, and posts it into the “Archives” section of the website so you can watch it at your convenience. Lessons are archived for two weeks so you can watch the lesson as often as you’d like before it gets bumped. If you prefer permanent access to temporary, Mike has you covered.

In addition to the live lessons and archived lessons, MikesLessons.com offers iPod lessons for $1.99 per lesson that can be played on your computer, iPod or portable video player. Also, Mike offers a lot of formerly archived lessons that have been bumped after their 2-week period for $5.99 a lesson in case you join late but still want to check out his lesson for half time shuffle grooves. The iPod lessons certainly don’t stop there though. If you are interested in improving your bass drum speed or want to acquaint yourself with some of the most widely used rudiments, you can purchase lessons packages for $14.99. Each lesson in these packages can be purchased separately for $1.99, but getting 19 lessons for $14.99, as is the case with his rudiment package, makes for the best deal.

The most enticing aspect of the website for me is that the lessons are live. Each lesson lasts about 20 minutes, after which Mike will announce that the students can ask questions. Anybody that is in the chat room at that time can ask Mike’s chat screener Amber any question about drums or drumming, she will ask Mike, and Mike will answer it live during the lesson. I enjoy this because I often find people asking questions that I would like to know the answers to, but never thought to ask. Although Mike does an excellent job of explaining each groove or fill in his lessons, if you’re unclear on anything he can break it down even further for you until you get it. Mike answers all sorts of questions from how someone should go about getting into gigs in their city to what types of drum heads would be best suited for the type of music someone wants to play. MikesLessons.com has inspired me tremendously to keep practicing drums and make myself the best drummer that I can be. Mike knows a whole hell of a lot about drums and drumming and is providing an incredible service to the drumming world by sharing his knowledge with those of us who are looking to better ourselves as drummers. If there is anybody that has read this far that is thinking about starting to play drums, or if you already play drums, I cannot recommend this site enough. I have improved so much in the last 4 months as a result of Mike Johnston and MikesLessons.com and don’t see myself quitting anytime soon. My only regret is that I didn’t find MikesLessons.com sooner.
 
The Tonight Show Curse PDF Print E-mail
Guest Contributions
Written by Independent Thought   
Thursday, 11 June 2009 09:44
While it still may be too early to tell, Conan O'Brien is heading down a similar path of his predecessor, Jay Leno. I know I am showing my age a little bit in saying that I still remember Johnny Carson a little bit and most definitely his farewell from late night television. I wish NBC would understand that there will never be another Tonight Show the way Johnny Carson was able to do it. For 17 years, Jay Leno dumbed down his humor in order to appeal to the masses. His ratings suffered and without his candid interview with Hollywood's favorite John, Hugh Grant; he may never have surpassed Letterman in the ratings let alone kept his job for as long as he did.

I've been watching Conan now for awhile since the 12:30 slot left much to be desired, although Craig Ferguson is quickly filling the massive gap created by Conan's departure and NBC's idea that Jimmy Fallon was actually funny. He's not and I am already tired of it. His interviewing technique is along the lines of cranial proctology and is just not interesting AT ALL. Conan's talent is amazing in the same way Letterman's still is. The difference and where I ultimately believe Conan will lose some of his fan base is when NBC forces him to make a show that is "appropriate" for the 11:30 slot. He has become NBC's whore in the same way Jay Leno continues to be.

The best move anyone ever made at that network was Letterman deciding to leave and as an avid fan of the Late Show I could not be happier. Dave has put together a funny product for as long as I have been watching him on television. Night in and night out his dark, dry, and sarcastic brand of humor is one that definitely appeals to me. He is one of the smartest men on television and thankfully has not allowed a network to control his material. I am not sure if there is a clause where Conan can release himself from that contract, but he needs to run as far in the opposite direction as possible.

Read more from Independent Thought @ http://gatorbull.blogspot.com
 
"I'm not ready to lose you yet." PDF Print E-mail
Guest Contributions
Written by Independent Thought   
Tuesday, 19 May 2009 08:58
Few things recently have been worth actually blogging about for me. However, this year's season finales have left much to be desired from the writer's that the movies and television stars stood behind last year during the strike. The plots are becoming so generic that it feels as though they have been seen on daytime tv for the past forty years.

Perhaps the most puzzling finale was Monday night's episode of 24. A two hour finale is not a new concept but with 24, the writers usually keep the viewer entertained for the entire time. The final hour of this season was quite possibly the worst ever. The writing was so contrite and boring that my roommate and I found ourselves finishing the actors lines several times. The plot to 24 has been the same for almost every season and the viewers have yet to really complain. There are the good guys like Jack Bauer, and the bad guys he is saving the world from. For seven seasons he has done whatever was necessary, including going further than they ever could dream of at Guantanamo Bay; all in the interest of national security. His drive and desire to protect his country is admirable and the writers occasionally write in a story making Jack human, forcing the viewer to sympathize and make him "human."

This year, they almost went too far. Jack was exposed to a toxin that gave him only hours to live and with about 7 episodes left in the season, information was leaked on the internet regarding next season and the locations of the story. Of course Jack could die and the show go on with someone filling his shoes, but that would have been like Seinfeld playing out another season without Jerry Seinfeld, or the Sopranos whacking Tony and continuing. 24 is Jack Bauer and without him it does not exist. The "cliffhanger" is hardly that and without actually spoiling it, save yourself the hour of your life and just tune in next January for season 8.

Read more from Independent Thought @ http://gatorbull.blogspot.com
 
I'm Sorry Swine Flu...Your Passport is Denied PDF Print E-mail
Guest Contributions
Written by mrhotlanta   
Monday, 04 May 2009 09:30


First it was a sore throat. Then, aches. Finally, a sneeze. That was the last draw. I grabbed my insurance card and headed for the doctor, where I am happy to report, my test for the Swine Flu came back positive. Finally, some good news, right? Maybe all I needed was for a break to go my way.

Of course, I had been pretty worked up. When I think of a Swine Flu epidemic, I don't think about a weekend spent vomiting into a sombrero. No sir, I think about that last scene in the dwarf-fi classic, Willow. You know the one - when the good guys are all waiting to attack the evil Bavmorda, and from that Evita ledge she turns them into pigs? ("Pigs...You're all pigs!") Man, if that is what the Swine Flu does to you, I say build that wall, man. No offense, but c'mon. Cause if that happens to us, no amount of vaccination can solve the problem. The only thing you can do at that point is hope that a dirty mouse saunters by your canvas tent, who you can then practice your magic on, sending her through a series of metamorphosis until her gross, wrinkled nude body is cured up on the bearskin rug. You prepared for that? I sure ain't, so lets band together and show this flu the door. ADIOS, SWINE FLU!

Read more from mrhotlanta @ http://thisblogtastesfunny.blogspot.com
 
H is for Horrendously Horrible PDF Print E-mail
Guest Contributions
Written by Independent Thought   
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 08:05
This blog will anger my girlfriend. I realize that full well before I even get into it. She tells me I do not understand Twilight. I agree.

I do not understand how such a phenomenon has taken over popular culture to a point where women are wishing their husbands and boyfriends to be vampires. My mind is a little fuzzy but was there this much of a stir when Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt brought to life Interview with a Vampire? Did women swoon when Eddie Murphy was A Vampire in Brooklyn? Even Hugh Jackman fought the creatures of the night in Van Helsing. So why now all of a sudden is this vampire phenomenon taken off in this country and around the world?

Women of all ages, shapes and sizes have fallen for Edward Cullen. He is as fictitious as Larry the Cable Guy but yet there is something that attracts women to him. Is it the pixie dust on his skin that shimmers in the light? Is it his pasty white skin? How about his mysteriousness? Robert Pattinson basically brings to life a vampire version of Elton John; equally mysterious and hard to watch or listen to for more than 10 minutes without some kind of alcohol. At least Elton John can play the piano. What can Edward Cullen do? Fly with the help of CGI.

I was at the opening night showing of Twilight and it may be the greatest script ever to come through Hollywood. I would not know it because there were too many shrieking teenagers in the theater that I could not hear it in it's entireity. So you ask youself, "well Cory, why don't you watch it in the comfort of your home without the shrieking teenagers?" I'll tell you why. Because I am sick of it. I am sick of Twilight this and Twilight that. I realize they are making sequels to the movie in conjunction with the novel series and my ultimate wish is that an accident reminiscent of what happened to Brandon Lee happens on the set of the upcoming features. Then I would advise Hollywood to cast the Jonas Brothers in the film, only for the mere fact that if one of them died, they could replace each other in a seamless transition.

To the women of the world: think what your life was like before anyone ever introduced you to the book series. Are 2000 pages of narrative and a 2 hour abomination on film really making a difference in your life? I realize for some that it does make a difference to have that escape. And here is the deal I will make you; leave our fantasy sports alone and I promise the words "I hate Twilight" will never be uttered by this author ever again.

Read more from Independent Thought @ http://gatorbull.blogspot.com
 
Lines from Fast and Furious PDF Print E-mail
Guest Contributions
Written by mrhotlanta   
Friday, 27 March 2009 08:03

So one of my favorite film institutions is back on the big screen, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Of course I’m talking about Friday the 13th….just kidding.  No, I’m talking about The Fast and the Furious.  In this fourth installment, the guys that started it all, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, are back for more high-speed adventure (and I’m guessing that this time, it’s winner take all). For those out there that are as pumped about this movie as me, I’d like to offer a little preview of the script.  Now, I have not read the script or seen an early release of TFATF4, but based on the previews, I can guarantee that the following lines of dialogue are said at some point.  Enjoy.

•    We’re getting too old for this. – Speak for yourself! (said from behind a shipping crate inside warehouse)

•    Seems like old times…only faster.

•    ONE…TWO…THREE…JUUUUUUUUMMMMMPPPPPP! (off non-descriptive office building)

•    You dudes want some blow? – No thanks. I prefer gas. (inside night club owned by villain)

•    We’ve got to stop meeting like this. (will probably be said during a bar fight)

•    I saw her first. – No, I did! – Fine, but I saw you first. – What? – I love you. (both men in towels)

•    After this is over, I’m getting a bike.

•    Check, please! (from booth in diner following a coffee and an underwhelming chicken salad)

•    The brake, the brake. – Brake? Not in this life! (before careening off a deserted dock)

•    You said you would call. (said upon meeting at the start of the film)

•    I guess they were wrong. – About what? – You can teach an old dog new tricks. (as they walk into the L.A.       sunset, Walker’s hand in Diesel’s back pocket

•    You two know each other? – Me and him? Yeah…we’ve met.  (will occur in multiple scenes)


Read more from mrhotlanta @ http://thisblogtastesfunny.blogspot.com
 
He IS "That guy from that other show..." PDF Print E-mail
Guest Contributions
Written by Independent Thought   
Thursday, 26 March 2009 11:26
Unless you have been in a hole for the past twenty five years and have not seen any television or movies, you will not know who this guy is. Zeljko Ivanek has been the supporting actor that lends his face and unique acting style to so many of popular culture's greatest movies and television shows. I personally remember him from the 1992 film (if you can even call it that) School Ties, which also featured a young Matt Damon and Brendan Fraser. Since that time, he has been featured in 90's films like Donnie Brasco, Courage Under Fire, and A Civil Action. He took a turn in the Hannibal Lecter series as the caretaker to Lecter's first victim in 2001's Hannibal, and since then has moved on to star in some of the top television shows of the 21st century.

Ivanek has lended his talents to the popular 24, playing a terrorist in the pilot season of the hit show. He was seen for nearly two plus seasons on HBO's overlooked hit Oz and his since moved on to guest star on episodes of Lost, House, Big Love, Law and Order: SVU, and CSI. What caught my eye was his role as the attorney defending the corporate mogul (played by Ted Danson) on FX's Damages. Easily his best role to date, he can now be seen on NBC's Heroes and hopefully there is more in store for this often overlooked talent. If you have not seen any of his work, I recommend Oz first and foremost (for multiple reasons, namely the who's who of now popular shows that cut their teeth on this gritty drama). After that, I would pick up a copy of season one of Damages and enjoy the ride.

Read more from Independent Thought @ http://gatorbull.blogspot.com
 
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