Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Father’s Day Card to Abraham from Isaac

abraham-and-isaac-on-mount-moriah-275x206

Dear Dad,

Happy Father’s Day! You’re the best. I really wanted to thank you for not murdering me this year. For a few minutes there it looked like you were actually gonna go through with it, but it was really cool that you pulled back at the last second. I’m so grateful that I literally think about it all the time.

I just wish you didn’t try the whole filicide charade while we were hiking. Don’t you remember how much I used to love hiking? It was my world. Now I can’t step outside without instantly soiling my robes. Maybe next time you can almost kill me when I’m doing something I hate, like my math homework haha.

But for real, you destroyed my only passion in life.

Tell God I say hello next time you see him. It’s pretty amazing how close you guys have gotten, you being a simple nomad and him being a vengeful spirit living in the sky. You know what would rock? Next time he commands you to sacrifice me, loop me into the conversation. The three of us can kick around some other ideas, maybe go ziplining together instead?

Anywho, I know you’re like way over 100 years old, so feel free to die if you want to. You might be holding on so you can take care of me and mom, but we are a-okay. It’s totally cool if you wanna peace out. No biggie.

Just make sure God doesn’t resurrect you, LOL. (He can’t do that, can he?)

Love,

Isaac (your only son!)

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5 Fancy Napkin Folding Techniques You Can Do Yourself!

Cool Napkin

If you’re anything like me, you’ve faced countless instances of public embarrassment and mob violence due to your mundane napkin presentation. But that streak ends now! We at The Danopticon have developed five easy-but-elegant ways to fold dinner napkins, so your finicky guests will never humiliate you in front of your family ever again!

1. The Plain Jane

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While the Plain Jane isn’t likely to get asked out to prom, you know she’s sure to land a steady job and support herself all by her lonesome. For this style, just fold the napkin in half so the edges meet, press down for a functional crease, and buy a couple of cats to help pass the time.

2. The Ralph Nader

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Here in the 21st century, it’s all about sustainability. Honor environmental hero Ralph Nader by recycling your light to moderately used napkins! After folding the napkin in half, place the more heavily soiled side facedown. Looks fresh to me!

3. Petra

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Perfect for outdoor cuisine, Petra offers an organic solution with a masculine edge. With every gust of wind that passes by, all of your guests will be shouting, “Nice try, wind, but this is my napkin!” to nobody in particular.

Note: Do not use Petra if one of your guests is a known adulterer, as the dinner party may end in stoning.

4. The Magna Carta

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The Magna Carta combines the simple pleasures of antiquing and wiping your face. First, obtain some old parchment, perhaps from a local historical document or from a page of your family bible. Next, singe the edges of said priceless paper, so it looks like it was rescued from the burning of some fabled Spanish galleon.

5. The Marlon Brando

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So maybe sometimes I run out of real napkins, and just end up using an old undershirt. What, do you think you’re better than me?

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Bad Album Breakdown: Radio Disney Kidjams

Radio Disney

An album of cool songs just for kidz? Groovy!

This is the attitude of the masterpiece collection Radio Disney Kidjams. It brings back memories of the 1990s Disney and Nickelodeon era where we were informed that “kids ruled and adults drooled.” It amazes me that this blatant ageism managed to exist in my childhood, but at least some folks found a way to make prejudice fun. And while I realize their kid-centric message was more or less a marketing scheme, I genuinely believe there was at least one low-level Disney employee who believed in that mantra.

Perhaps he is still around somewhere, hiding under his cubicle desk and whispering, “Yes, we must bring power to the children. Only the blood of the innocent is fit to rule.” Then he shoves an egg salad sandwich down his pants.

Anyway, as far as I can remember, this is the first CD I ever owned, receiving it as a gift when I was about seven. I must have listened to it often, since most of the songs I can still recall pretty well off the top of my head. But has it stood up to the test of time? Let’s dive into this rich collection of pop crap, kiddie tunes, and some real headscratchers, each meticulously graded below:

1. Get Ready for This by 2 Unlimited

Before the actual song starts, we are treated with some brats rapping a Radio Disney jingle, just to remind you that the next hour of your life will be a living hell. Aside from that, it almost sounds like a real radio station! As any elementary schooler would recognize, the intro’ blurring of reality and imagination serves as a dual homage to the title track of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the radio motif of The Who Sell Out, but unfortunately manifests itself in the form of an audial turd.

Then we get to the actual song. Did you pick up on the fact that Disney wants you to get ready for a good time? It’s subtle, but the message is there. The synthesized loops are almost engrossing enough to make you feel like you’re warming up for an NBA game, and not sitting in a sweaty minivan on the way to the beach. C-

2. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) by The Backstreet Boys

During the boyband wars of the 90s, if you weren’t on Team Backstreet, you weren’t nobody. What’s really touching is how these five guys, rescued from a life of violence and crime on the back streets (how else would they have gotten the name?) are able to show such emotional vulnerability. B

3. Pump Up the Jam by Technotronic

A bit of a throwback from 1989, this track shines with lyrics that are at once both aggressive and unintelligible. At least there’s something there for the kids, since “booty” is always hilarious. D+

4. River by Hanson

While 90s posers only know Hanson through their smash hit MMMBop, the Disney purists did us a solid and picked a deep cut by everyone’s favorite trio of effeminate blond brothers. Still, it’s not completely unenjoyable–imagine a blend of Gospel music and The Monkees, safely pasteurized for family-friendly consumption. C+

5. Whoomp! There It Went by Tag Team

It’s morbidly fascinating to see one-hit-wonder Tag Team try to keep the artificial magic going by inserting the voices of Disney characters into their only song. I don’t know much about the hip-hop scene, but it seems hard to maintain street cred with a song about your “main man Donald.” D-

6. Macarena by Los del Rio

Yes, we all know the Macarena dance–the poor man’s Cha Cha Slide. Unless anyone’s a chaperone at a middle school dance, I think we’ll pass on this one. D

7. Hakuna Matata from The Lion King

If anyone has anything bad to say about Timon, Pumba, or Elton John, I will fight them. A+

8. Yoda by Weird Al Yankovic

In one of the few quality tracks in this collection, Al masterfully reworks this Kinks classic about a transvestite dancer into the ultimate Star Wars parody. I remember being particularly impressed by the lyric, “I know Darth Vader may have got you annoyed/ But remember if you kill him then you’ll be unemployed.” My first real understanding of supply and demand. A

9. U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer

Apparently grown-ups thought kids would like MC Hammer? This track heavily borrows from “Superfreak,” and while I am never a fan of sampling, I can understand why Disney chose not to expose children to the cocaine-and-sex casserole that is Rick James. At least Hammer’s well-documented bankruptcy struggles should teach the next generation something about financial responsibility. C-

10. I’ll Make a Man Out of You from Mulan

Everyone remembers this one–“Let’s get down to business/ To defeat the Huns!” It’s catchy, original, and one of the most memorable tunes from the Disney renaissance. The only caveat is that the singing voice of fearsome Chinese warrior Shang Li is provided by Mormon dreamboat Donny Osmond. Cultural miscasting aside, Donny does a great job of pumping us all up for some singalongs and ethnic warfare. A-

11. Go, Speed Racer, Go! by Sponge

Oh look, a grunge cover of a theme song for a show that nobody watched! Much like George H.W. Bush, this one is a 90s relic most people won’t want to deal with for a second term. D+

12. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr.

I’ve always had a soft spot for this one. Aside from creating one of the funkiest riffs in all of popular music, Parker is also a genius for not trying to forcibly rhyme anything with the word “ghostbusters.” Bruno “grenade/throw my hand on a blade” Mars could learn something from that. A-

13. Wipeout by Steve Vai

Guitar virtuoso Steve Vai makes an unexpected appearance covering the surf rock classic. Unfortunately for us, most of Vai’s shredding serves as second banana to some guy’s Chipmunkesque rapping, making this version about as cool as boogie boarding in a speedo. C-

14. I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown

Now I feel bad for accusing Technotronic and MC Hammer of being outdated. Sure, James Brown is a timeless talent, but I don’t remember 1960s R&B as something us kids were really into. Then again, Brown does look and sound like a Pokemon, and “I Got You” could very well be the spiritual predecessor to “Gotta Catch Em All.” A

15. Let’s Get Together by MMC

Getting real tired of your shit, Disney. You might be trying to pass MMC off as a real band, but I know it’s really just the Mickey Mouse Club. Judging by their promo pictures, the MMC are a group of racially diverse children who appear to be pushing 30. Just take a look at this bunch and tell me they don’t reek of broken dreams and compromise. F

MMC

16. I Am Rubber by I-8 Paste (Just Plain Mark and Zippy)

You know what they say about rubber and glue? If not, this song will remind you–over and over and over again. This torturous kiddie ditty could have only emerged from the cells of Gitmo. It’s like waterboarding for your ears! Unconstitutional

17. I’ll Be There For You by Solid HarmoniE

Things are really going downhill. Reading the tracklist, I expected this to be the Friends theme song (not exactly a gem itself), but what I heard was even worse. Not only is Solid HarmoniE unable to grasp the basic rules of punctuation, but the band is also hopelessly derivative. Besides, what’s the point of being in a British girl group if none of you end up marrying David Beckham?

It’s the kind of kidjam that teaches us that nothing in life ends as well as we want it to. D

Final thoughts: My theory is that the anti-vaccination movement came into existence after someone’s mom listened to this album one too many times. If you love your child and yourself, please stay away. And remember: silence is golden.

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