Bart makes the cranberry sauce

The Simpsons Parodies Mad Men’s Cryptic Teasers

The Simpsons Riff on Hayao Miyazaki

Blurst of times

Democracy

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” — The Simpsons

1989 Matt Groening Profile in Mother Jones

From the December, 1989 issue of Mother Jones:

David Foster Simpson

(About/via).

Bill Plympton’s Simpsons Couch Gag

“Well, the evening began at the Gentleman’s club, where we were discussing Wittgenstein over a game of backgammon”

Ned Flanders Reads Harry Potter

Teddy Roosevelt on The Simpsons

The Simpsons Play Football

Moe Szyslak Defines “Postmodernism” for Homer and the Boys (The Simpsons)

John Kricfalusi’s Simpsons Couch Gag

DFW Memorialized, Homer Endorses Obama, Sarah Palin Is Never in on the Joke, and Hope for a New Zeitgeist

So let’s just say we’re too anxious around here to run a proper book review, okay? I promise to have reviews of new books up after Election Day. In the meantime–

Great, thorough, and touching essay by David Lipsky at Rolling Stone: “The Lost Years and Last Days of David Foster Wallace.” Check it out. Also, there are plenty of online accounts of the DFW memorial last week at NYU’s Skirball Center, but I thought Andy Battaglia’s eyewitness account was pretty moving.

Also–

It leaked a few weeks ago, but it was nice to see Homer Simpson endorse Obama on this year’s Treehouse of Horror episode–

(The best part of the episode was the Mad Men parody, though).

Speaking of election humor, Sarah Palin continues to be a comedy goldmine. How could she be so readily duped by a French Canadian pretending to be President Sarkozy? She’s fucking stupid, that’s how. I’m reminded of her appearance on SNL a few weeks ago–unjustifiably lauded–where she smirked along as if she were actually in on the joke, and not being simply mocked.

Speaking of ignorance and ugliness, the aughties in America have been culturally and politically awful. Beginning with the one-two punch of the 2000 election debacle and the nightmare of the 9/11 attacks, this past decade has been an embarrassing series of disastrous blunders for the United States government, coupled with a spike in civic apathy at home. The results: our stock has fallen in the rest of the world’s eyes and a large portion of Americans have found solace and even pride in ignorance and xenophobia (what else could explain the ascendancy of an ignoramus like Palin?)

And for all the great things that I’ve experienced in my personal life this past decade (marriage, fatherhood), the idea of another decade like the aughties–selfish and cruel and ignorant–seems miserable. The Bush administration–and the American people who supported them–has been working hard to usher in a New Dark Age. Yet in the past few days I’ve seen some of my cynicism fall away, as I see friends and acquaintances and complete strangers excited about the prospect of change for this country. Watching Obama in Cleveland tonight, I found myself moved and excited and hopeful, not just for Tuesday, or for a new President in January, but for a whole new spirit in this country, one that embraces progressive ideals and puts them into action.

Dad’s Little Helper: Malt Liquor for Grownups

So my wife gave me Rogue’s Dad’s Little Helper Malt Liquor for Father’s Day. The back of the bottle tells the history of Father’s Day, which is fortunate, because I love reading copy with my food and drink. Here is the history:

After the death of his wife, Henry Jackson Smart was left to raise 6 young children alone. His courage, love, selflessness and dedication inspired his daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, to organize the first Fathers Day on June 19th, 1910. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Fathers Day. President Nixon, in 1972, established it as a permanent day of national observance.

Nixon! What a softy. Anyway. I’m going to drink this now and write about the experience in real time.

Malt liquor is traditionally served in its selfsame bottle or can, with the special accoutrement of a brown paper bag. However, out of respect for Rogue Brews–they make great beers–I’ll pour it out into a nice glass. Here goes.

7:56pm: Open the bottle. The nose is reminiscent of, uh, like a quart of Mickey’s (the “gentleman’s malt”). Not a good sign.

7:57pm: Pour. The color is gold, of course, a little darker and more opaque than a standard American lager.

7:58pm: Taste. First impression: This isn’t Olde English, but it’s hardly Rogue’s Juniper Pale Ale.

7:59pm: Oh shit! The Simpsons is going to come on (yeah, I still like The Simpsons).

8:00pm: I missed the couch gag. Hang on, a trailer for Hellboy 2. This looks pretty good. But back to the malt.

8:03pm: The beer has a good taste in the mouth, but it has that undeniable corn-burn aftertaste, which is kinda unpleasant, and kinda makes you want to keep drinking the beer. Homer kills his father–but it’s just a “wonderful dream.” Dark.

8:08pm: I haven’t had malt liquor in a long time, actually, probably like seven years. When I was a college student I used to scrape together seventy cents and go to the gas station next door and get myself a quart of Hurricane (to more cosmopolitan readers: in Florida we don’t have beverages in the forty ounce variety, popularly called “forties” –we have quarts. Because that extra eight ounces will, like, really tear you up). The trick with Hurricane–or really any quart, especially malt liquor, is to drink it really, really fast, before it gets warm. When it gets warm, it’s really, really bad. Also, the last portion is no good to drink, but may be respectfully tipped out in memory to one’s fallen comrades (the “homies,” if you will). Lisa said “southern-fried succubus.” Excellent.

8:17pm: A little internet research reveals that Anheuser-Busch still makes Hurricane. Also, Hurricane received a 2.125 rating (5 is the best) at BeerPal. What kind of a loser takes the time to review malt liquor online? Dad’s Little Helper got a 3.0. Here’s a quick control: My go-to beer of choice, Sierra Nevada IPA earned a 3.355, and Budweiser, the self-proclaimed “King of Beers” earned a 1.866.

8:26pm: The Dixie Chicks, Colonel Homer…and Major Marge! Seriously, the show is way past due for being taken out back and gently shot between the eyes. Seriously.

8:30pm: King of the Hill. This show is still good. And “What Would Hank Hill Do?” is a personal motto of mine.

8:35pm: This malt liquor is only 22 ounces, not 34, but it’s never taken me this long to drink one before. I’m kinda old, I guess, or I just don’t drink that much anymore.

8:36pm: My wife appears from the baby’s room. She has put the baby to sleep (that’s not a metaphor. We’re excellent parents). She asks about the malt liquor. “It’s a malt liquor,” I say. “It’s pretty good.” She asks me why I’m smiling. I think the brew is working some magic on me.

8:40pm: Micturition imminent.

8:43pm: God, I hate Peggy Hill.

8:45pm: My wife informs me that this Rogue beverage costs the same as other Rogue beverages (like five or six dollars). So, there. There’s some info in the review.

8:46pm: I haven’t talked about the label. Who is this guy? He’s on a couple of the Rogue bottles, but it strikes me now that he looks like Tom Selleck. Or, really like Magnum (P.I.). Magnum in three ties.

8:50pm: It occurs to me now that my best friend gave me a subscription to a microbrew of the month club, where I’ll receive several microbrewed beers in the mail every other month. So, I could do reviews like these, you know bimonthly (I suppose there’s nothing to stop me from doing them all the time–still, there needs to be an occasion. I’m kinda rambling now).

8:56pm: Okay–so, as it warms, Dad’s Little Helper conforms to standard malt liquor rules–but with greater resistance. There’s a possibility of this tasting like ass pretty soon, though, I fear. I need to pony up and get down to brass tacks.

9:02pm: Final verdict: This beer will give you a buzz, but so will Hurricane, paint thinner, and standing up too fast. A lovely Father’s Day gift–who wouldn’t want malt liquor?–but not on par with Rogue’s other brews.

Comic Book Writers on The Simpsons

Even a die-hard Simpsons fan such as myself–I’ve been watching the show for over half of my life on a near-daily basis–cannot deny that the show has been in a slump for the past couple (some might say dozen) years. And so far, the 2007 season has been pretty awful–even the highly anticipated “Treehouse of Horror” episode failed to elicit a single laugh. So I was unduly excited by the first segment of last night’s episode, which featured three of our favorite comic book writers: Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, and Alan Moore. Jack Black guest-starred as the owner of Coolsville, a new comic book shop where the elite underground trio gathers for a book signing (much to the ire of Comic Book Guy, of course). Somehow (and of course, if you watch The Simpsons, you know exactly how), this plot lasts exactly until the commercial break: in part two Marge opens a gym, and in part three Homer gets plastic surgery. Sigh. Luckily, Youtube allows us to preserve and isolate the most pleasing fragment of last night’s episode and watch it again and again obsessively.

Check out the super trio here (and take note of the prominent display of one of our favorite graphic novels ever, From Hell):

The Evolution Will Be Televised

If you missed The Simpsons last night, you need to check out the extended couch-gag intro below (may god bless Youtube). Marvel as Homer demonstrates eons of evolution in just over a minute. Best. Intro. Ever.

This isn’t the first time The Simpsons has dealt with evolution and its (nonsensical) opponents. An unbiased comparison between creationism and Darwinism:

And of course, the horror of the Flanders (note the sweet soundtrack to the end of this one courtesy of the Doobie Brothers):