Philip Seymour Hoffman: 1967-2014

By February 02, 2014
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This morning, Hoffman was found dead in his Greenwich Village apartment with a needle still in his arm and five empty heroin bags next to his body, with three more still full and available for use. This honestly made me cry the first time I read it. I used to do heroin — a lot of it. It’s fucking shit and it steals your soul, destroying you piece by piece by piece.

Ted Cruz Follows Twitter User With Profile Pic of Obama Being Lynched

By January 31, 2014

It appears that the senator follows a Twitter user whose profile pic (also called an “avi”) shows President Obama with a noose around his neck, presumably dead. Not only that but both of Cruz’s Twitter accounts follow this user.

Listening Post

By January 31, 2014
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Cesca and I probably spent a good ten minutes on the podcast yesterday enthusing about HBO’s True Detective and I’m going to do it here for a few seconds as well. Bottom line: If you’re not watching the show, you’re legitimately missing out on one of the best television experiences of the last decade. When Breaking Bad folded I really did think its near-perfection as a satisfying show would, for me, tarnish everything that came in its wake for quite a while. It’s tough to hold up any TV drama to a show like Breaking Bad, even unconsciously, simply because Breaking Bad was such a damn masterpiece.

But True Detective goes beyond the realm of great television into something much more artistically minded. You don’t just watch it, you feel it in your bones; it’s a layered, beautifully acted, utterly menacing, pitch black piece of American gothic, and each hour is mesmerizing from start to finish. We’re only a few episodes in so it’s easy to catch up if you need to but, trust me, you need to.

Here’s the opening credits music that sets the tone for the entire show.

It’s the Handsome Family’s Far From Any Road.

THIS JUST IN: Daft Punk Are Not Actually Robots

By January 31, 2014

TMZ, the pinnacle of world-class journalism, has broken what looks to be the story of the century: Grammy Award-winning musicians Daft Punk are not, in fact, robots.

The Tom Friedman Column Generator is Scarily Accurate

By January 30, 2014

Having waded through a few of Friedman’s pieces (all equally banal and meaningless), we compared them to the hilarious ‘Tom Friedman Op/Ed Generator’ website, a creation of developer Brian Mayer that allows readers to randomly create Friedman columns with the click of a button. Here’s what came up:

Commenter of the Week 2: Q&A With Cathy McMorris Rodgers

By January 30, 2014

More proof that Banter readers are the smartest peeps on the interwebs.

Listening Post

By January 29, 2014
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I have no idea what to make of this — and I’m betting that’s the most generous thing you’re going to hear about it from anyone who considers him or herself a fan of Elliott Smith.

Apparently, long before Smith died 11 years ago, he recorded some isolated vocal tracks for a possible collaboration with Soul Coughing’s Mike Doughty. Some of what he sang would eventually go on to become Bottle Up and Explode — one of my absolute favorite Smith songs — and Going Nowhere. Doughty says that the vocals were always meant to be cut up, experimented with, and ultimately transformed into dance tracks and that Smith was okay with this.

Whether he’d be fine with what Doughty has now created, though, is anyone’s guess. Doughty says he recently found the vocal tracks on a cassette tape and he turned them into what he’s calling honest-to-God EDM — a genre title that didn’t exist back when Smith was alive. It’s fascinating to hear anything new and even kind of original from Elliott Smith, but given that he was so protective of his material and his legacy — and this is a very far cry from the sound we’ve come to expect from him — it feels a big sacrilegious.

Decide for yourself, though.

Take a listen to The Record, Dogs and Burn (Aah Fuck).

An Open Letter to the GOP: A Call for Armistice in the War on Women

By January 29, 2014

If the GOP doesn’t quit right now they’re gonna end up crashing on their libertarian bro’s couch on election night 2016.

New Machine Allows For Men And Women To Effectively Switch Bodies With One Another

By January 28, 2014

In 1996, the alternative rock band The Butthole Surfers released a song called, “Pepper,” which presented one very important universal truth: “You never know just how you look through other people’s eyes”

But that might not be entirely true anymore…

What Have We Learned Today?

By January 28, 2014
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I’m going to try to put these up at the end of the day rather than the beginning as a way to link to everything I’ve written at Banter over the last 24 hours.

Alas, I had a hell of a panicked night project-wise yesterday — that’s to top off my normal 15-hour work day — so this shows up here a little late.

Hope you check this stuff out, though. I can always use the readership.

The Daily Banter: The Hillary Clinton Camp Stupidly Antagonizes Buzzfeed/1.27.14

The Daily Banter: Maybe It Really Is Time To Ignore Fox News/1.27.14

Listening Post

By January 28, 2014

Broken Bells is the side project of Danger Mouse and the Shins’ James Mercer. I liked their first album but admit that it wasn’t a favorite or anything. But it made enough of a splash that they can get Anton Yelchin and Kate Mara to show up in the video for the first single from their new record.

This song has a really nice late-70s soft rock vibe to it, with just enough electro-funk to keep things interesting.

Here’s Holding on for Life.

Listening Post

By January 27, 2014

I love Elbow.

I love songs that pay tribute to the insane and wonderful grandeur of New York City.

Here’s the first single from Elbow’s forthcoming record, The Takeoff and Landing of Everything.

This is New York Morning.

Return of the Thing

By January 27, 2014
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Since this little experiment of mine first went live back in May of 2006, it’s never been dark for longer than a couple of days. That was, of course, until last November — when we kind of shut things down here and vanished into thin air (or at least into the endless work of writing for the Daily Banter).

But I always promised that I wouldn’t completely abandon DXM and I intend to keep that promise. And so, beginning today, there will be daily content here again. Sometimes it’ll be nothing much more important than a song and music video or two; sometimes it’ll be a link to something else I’m writing somewhere else; sometimes it’ll be a piece that’s exclusive to here, something too personal or just not right for the Banter. But it will be something.

The lights are finally coming back on a little. It’s good to be home.

The Daily Banter Mail Bag: The GOP’s State of the Union Sidekicks, the Dinesh D’Souza Indictment and Our Nightmare Dates

By January 24, 2014

1. Did you see that Louie Gohmert is inviting Hannity to sit with him at the State of the Union address? What is it with Texas congressman and their SOTU guests? Steve Stockman brought Ted Nugent and now this.
— Steve C

Ralph Lauren Creates Worst Olympic Uniforms Of All Time Because America

By January 23, 2014

The uniforms for the Olympics Opening Ceremony have been unveiled and they’re just so us.

Respecting The Dead: Community Teaches Us How To Say Goodbye

By January 22, 2014

Of course Dan Harmon found a way to make the best Pierce-centric episode one that Chevy Chase is absent from…

Piloting A Repilot: Reviewing the Return of NBC’s Community

By January 17, 2014

NBC’s Community rose from the near-dead with its long-awaited season premiere, and a small but cult-like fanbase held its breath.

The Myth of the Good Guy with a Gun: How I was Almost Curtis Reeves

By January 17, 2014

I’d been driving with my pistol for a couple of months when my Curtis Reeves moment almost happened… Let’s rewind.