Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Movies of 2008

Top two:

Paranoid Park
Flight of the Red Balloon

Next tier:

My Winnipeg
Wendy and Lucy
Up the Yangtze

Still good:

A Christmas Tale
The Man from London

Still need to see (top five of many):

In the City of Sylvia
Waltz with Bashir
Silent Light
The Class

Top tier if they count:

The Headless Woman (unreleased)
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (maybe 2007)

Previews from hell:

La Misma Luna
The Visitor (why was a boom visible multiple times in the theatrical preview but not online?)
Doubt/Slumdog Millionaire/The Reader/Revolutionary Road/other gratuitous award season wanks I didn't have the displeasure of having to sit through

Favorite performances:

Juliette Binoche
Ann Savage
Sally Hawkins
Eddie Marsan
Galina Vishnevskaya
Emmanuelle Devos
Michelle Williams
Emile Hirsch

Predictions for 2009:

-Diablo Cody's slasher movie will be delayed at least one more time, get panned, and bomb
-Michael Cera will play himself in at least five major indie films
-Daniel Radcliffe will play a female sociopath with a Russian accent in another attempt to distance himself from the HP franchise
-More sci-fi, less Western
-David Fincher will make a movie that is one minute longer than Berlin Alexanderplatz and will include a 3-hour close-up of Brad Pitt's nearly motionless face set to the post-digital music of Stephan Mathieu

Friday, December 26, 2008

The 2008 Blake Review Part Three



The doorbell rings and Raymond’s sister, Lacey Cox-Sickle (wife of local pool and patio superstore magnate Dick “Enrico” Sickle, hurries to let Raymond and his family in for their annual Christmas Eve celebration.

LACEY: Merry merry! It’s fantastic to see all of you. Precious, you look just as thin as ever. It’s nice to see us girls keeping up our looks.

She manages a half-smile; her facial mobility has been temporarily limited by recent Restylane treatments.

WIFE: Your house looks absolutely gorgeous.

LACEY: It’s literally breathtaking! Don’t you love my precious li’l cocktail tree? To make your own, into your barware cabinet I want you to take all your martini classes, shot glasses, hurricane glasses, and so forth and just adhere them to the branches with piano wire from your regular stringed instrument specialty boutique.

RAYMOND: That nutcracker topper looks like a toy we sell at my store. People come in and ask for the nutcracker topper, and I have to remember they’re not confusing us for the seasonal décor store in the other strip mall across the street.

LACEY: That’s a real convenient location. Both malls have their own li’l liquor store! Sometimes I just have to check out both in case there are any special deals of the moment.

Enrico enters and helps Raymond’s family with their coats.

ENRICO: The old broad here has been cookin’ up a storm. I told her, “as long as it doesn’t look like that fucking piece of shit Easter ham, we’ll be fine.” Seriously, that pig died so a chunk of him could be turned into a blooming onion-looking shit blob.

LACEY: That was not my recipe, and I had too many white knight saketinis that afternoon. What have you cooked for me lately, sweetie?

ENRICO: It’s your job to cook and clean, bitch! Or, should I say, Ho ho ho!

Everyone laughs. Slim and Precious sit under the cocktail tree while their parents grab the loveseat next to the fireplace.

Lacey leaves to get drinks for everyone in the kitchen.

ENRICO (to Slim): What’s up, buddy? Gotten any memorable blowjobs lately? Oh, I guess you don’t want to answer that in front of your parents. Like they’re stupid enough to think a beautiful boy like you isn’t fighting off bitches who want a taste of your corncob.

PRECIOUS: Even the holiday time has been irretrievably imbued with hypermasculine ideological domination. It’s really tiresome, but at least it gives me something to appropriate. Something to grab on to, to use a phrase to which you might be more receptive, although that may ultimately contradict what I’m intending to actualize.

ENRICO: Sure, you learn all those fuckin’ fancy words at college, but the degree you should be aiming for is a M.R.S.! You don’t want to become one of those uppity overeducated broads on public radio.

Precious growls and tries to distract herself with the engineering feat that is the cocktail tree. Lacey returns with a large tray of martini glasses filled with a slightly slushy electric blue mixture and rimmed with dried coconut shavings.

WIFE: Those look special.

LACEY: Say hello to my snowball martini cocktails. Onto the rim of your martini glass I’ve put for you just some shaved coconut for a sweet li’l garnish. The drinks are a little strong.

SLIM: Just the way we like ‘em.

PRECIOUS: You could have called this an ice “Sickle” cocktail.

LACEY: I don’t get it.

PRECIOUS: Sickle, like your last name.

LACEY: Well, that would be pretty fucking weird.

SLIM: Word to that.

He takes a large gulp of the drink and nearly goes into shock from the extreme blast of pure alcohol goodness.

LACEY: I warned you: I made ‘em strong. More cocktail for your buck equals more fun! Speaking of which, I cannot wait to show you my life-sized nutcracker king, Bjorn. Come with me into my tablescape room and say hello to him!

Everyone rises reluctantly and follows Lacey.


Christmas Eve at the Rubenstein house: Saggy and Ratso are sitting in front of their plasma screen TV, drinking Icehouse and playing GTA 4. Ratso is on the phone.

RATSO: Dude, you should totally come over here tonight. Bring your friends. We’ve got beer and shit. . . . Okay.

He closes his phone.

RATSO: Whore!

SAGGY: She coming?

RATSO: She will be later when I’m alone with her!

They both laugh for several minutes.

RATSO: Yeah, she might stop by and maybe bring some other bitches. Dude, you just totally got fucked by that dude! He shot your ass so many times, I can’t believe you aren’t dead.

Chunky enters carrying a KFC bucket.

RATSO: Hey fag.

CHUNKY: Jesus Christ, I hate my fucking family. I just got to watch my mom get shit-faced on box wine and my dad and brother practically start a fist fight because my brother didn’t sufficiently appreciate the SUV antlers Dad bought him.

RATSO: Fuck, that is some poor white trash shit going on. And where’s the KFC from?

CHUNKY: Leftovers from Christmas dinner. Want some? It’s Extra Crispy.

SAGGY: Hella yes.

He grabs a handful and sets it on the couch next to him to pick at while playing GTA.

RATSO: No dude, I’m fine. Want some Icehouse?

CHUNKY: Fuck yes. We should totally bong it.

RATSO: Fuck, I lent my bong to Bulge the night my brother broke that sink at that one dude’s house when he was fucking Rachel Goldblatt in the bathroom. Remember that, dicksmack?

SAGGY: Not really.

RATSO: Well, you were pretty fucked up on Jag bombs, but that was fuckin’ hilarious. I’ll never forget the look on that bitch’s face.

CHUNKY: Was that the party I missed because I was hunting with my dad and his friend that got arrested like a week later for having an eight-year-old girl tied up in his attic?

RATSO: Yeah, I think so.

Chunky finishes his beer in one go and opens another one against his Confederate flag belt buckle.

RATSO: Is that new, dude?

CHUNKY: The buckle? Yeah, my brother gave it to me.

RATSO: That shit looks dangerous, like if your pants were at a fucked up angle or maybe when you were pissing or some shit, that buckle could cut off the circulation to your dick.

CHUNKY (worried): You think? That sounds fucking painful.

RATSO: Yeah, my cousin plays soccer and he was too embarrassed to buy a new nutcup so he had the same one from when he was like nine until he was like fifteen, and his dick would turn blue and he had to go to the doctor and a bunch of people were all staring at his dick in the hospital. It sounded pretty fucked up.

SAGGY: Fucker!

He throws the controller, which lands under a Led Zeppelin poster.

RATSO (laughing): You shoot like a bitch! But seriously, do not break another controller. Remember how pissed Mom was the last time.

SAGGY: Somewhat.

CHUNKY: You’re lucky to even have a 360.

RATSO: Just because your family is too poor white rash to upgrade your Game Cube doesn’t mean we don’t love you, man. We share the wealth. Speaking of which, why aren;t those fucking bitches here yet?

SAGGY: It’s not Christmas without pussy.

CHUNKY: Well spoken, my man.

He bumps fists with Saggy as Ratso nods in solemn agreement.


Slim and Precious are hanging out in Precious’s room, listening to the Phil Spector Christmas album.

SLIM: So, shit wasn’t as bad as it could have been tonight.

PRECIOUS: For once, Lacey’s horrifying forays into ultra-alcoholic cocktail crafting was a boon.

SLIM: Yeah, it was pretty fucking hilarious when Uncle Dick opened that Aneros prostate stimulator that Dad got him from the store. Do you really think he’s going to stick a plastic thing in his ass so he can get off harder when he’s fucking Lacey?

PRECIOUS: Between you and me, that is one thing I can spend a thousand Christmases never thinking about.

SLIM: Dude, you have a point. What’s Boobs doing tonight?

PRECIOUS: Gyrating viciously on the laps of whatever men are poor and/or non-Christian enough to spend the holidays at the Vu. Gyrating, up and down, over and around, left and right, until sexy time explosion occurs.

SLIM: Jesus, Bitch. Those Borat references are so dead.

PRECIOUS: I have no idea what you are talking about.

SLIM: Anyway, I think Chunky has a thing for Boobs. He’s always asking about her and he sent me this IM that sort of implied he had a dream about donkey punching her or some shit.

PRECIOUS: Typical. That child looks like a piñata filled with semen. I’m sure Boobs has a stable of politically powerful johns and drug dealers who give her exactly what she wants in a way no high school boy ever would. Like a famous female hip-hop artist once said—and I paraphrase—Boobs don’t want no one minute man.

Slim grins sheepishly and adjusts himself.

PRECIOUS: Anyway, this is our chance to bond during the holiday time. Confide in me your darkest secrets, your secret fears, you fearful wishes, your wishful fantasies. I’m all ears.

SLIM: I’ve been thinking about a lot of shit lately, and when I think, it’s usually not a fucking good thing. But really, I just want people to act fucking normal. I mean, what the fuck else can you hope for?

PRECIOUS: World peace? Queer acceptance? The eradication of authoritarian hegemonic oppression of historically subjugated peoples?

SLIM: Be realistic, bitch! I’m still in high school. If I get drunk and hit on in the same week, it’s good times.

PRECIOUS: Oh, I remember those days, when aiming low meant something about urine and girls creamed themselves over the high school teacher that looked like Mr. Clean’s significantly more fetal younger brother. Enjoy it while it lasts. Soon you’ll be confronted with non-suburban people, the real possibility of weight gain, and cafeteria food. Enjoy your lithe teenage body while it lasts.

SLIM: Yeah, I guess. And dude, I still can’t believe Dad gave Uncle Dick something he’s supposed to shove up his own ass.

PRECIOUS: It is rather comical, I’ll give you that.


Precious and Boobs are back at Bob’s, having coffee and scones with Jogs.

BOOBS: And then he took out a needle and a bottle of rubbing alcohol and asked if I would pierce his Prince Albert while he jacked off. What the hell is wrong with guys these days?

PRECIOUS: As much as I would hate nothing more than potentially sounding condescending, you may want to consider that your profession has a limiting effect on the quality of people you are particularly likely to encounter.

BOOBS: I’m not naïve, but there is a time and a place.

JOGS: I totally agree. I would never ask a girl to pierce my dick. Just like I would expect her never to ask to smell it. I mean, you gotta have some trust in a relationship. You can’t spell “relationship” without “us.”

BOOBS: Wise words, my man. If you only lost seventy pounds, I would so be dying to ride your jock.

JOGS: God damn it! Why does this always happen to me.

BOOBS: Get some lipo and call me in the morning.

PRECIOUS: All these standards of attractiveness are so retro-bourgeois. I mean, bodies are made of flesh. There are no bodies without organs; there cannot be bodies without flesh. I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess, but in the meantime, there’s no reason to imagine the possibility of a present that can’t happen until at least the future, if ever.

JOGS: More girls need to see it that way. How about a date?

PRECIOUS: Fuck no. I don’t care that you’re fat, but you’re totally ugly and you really need to see a dermatologist.

JOGS: Fuck both of you! Why can’t I have the fantastic genes of my sister? The lottery of birth is so tragic sometimes.

BOOBS: Don’t feel bad. You’ll find a fat bitch who will want you to roll her around and find the wet spot.

JOGS: Ugh, cliché cliché. I guess I just need to accept the tragedy of my existence.

PRECIOUS: True that. But irregardlessly, what is the story with your sister? Where did you hide this hot model bitch from us while we were in school together?

JOGS: She went to a different school because my parents thought Edina was getting too Jewish.

BOOBS: Smart choice.

PRECIOUS: That explains everything.


Slim and Chunky are having breakfast together in a coffee shop on Central Avenue.

SLIM: I fucking hate the holidays. You always think something is going to happen, but it’s just the same old shit.

CHUNKY: Yeah: you think there’ll be girls to fuck and parties to get fucked up at and lots of cool shit going down, but it’s just the same routine with lame presents and relatives getting drunk and screaming and shit like that.

SLIM: Why doesn’t life cooperate with us?

CHUNKY: Dude, the eternal fucking question. Ugly motherfuckers like Ratso and morons like Saggy get bitches left and right, while attractive, cool guys like us are having breakfast alone like two homos who spent the last night having an anal probe-a-thon. Speaking of which, I gotta shit. BRB.

Chunky walks toward the bathroom.

Slim stares into his mug of coffee contemplatively, absently picks up a bacon strip and bites off its tip, then sighs.

A couple at the next table toasts mimosas, smiling satisfactorily.

A server drops a tray of food on the ground and laughs.

Time refuses to stop.



Thursday, December 25, 2008

The 2008 Blake Review Part Two



Slim stands at his front door, waiting to be picked up for an exciting party in his friends’ basement. His parents and sister are playing Mystery Date in front of the fireplace.

PRECIOUS: This Date looks like a hot lesbian. It’s so disturbing when boys like that have facial hair. I mean, of course I’m all for embracing the subversive potential of drag, but that doesn’t mean removing some of the rare attractiveness from campus.

SLIM: Fuck ever. You could have done what every normal person does and check Facebook to make sure there were lots of hot people at Sarah Lawrence. Instead, you made the free and rational choice to go to a college with a bunch of homos and bitches who don’t shave their legs and pits.

PRECIOUS: Some of that may be for axilism.

RAYMOND: You kids would be surprised about the kind of things people are sexually attracted to. People come to my store and buy stacks of magazines and videos with pictures of hairy women: hairy women in wheelchairs, hairy pregnant dwarf women, hairy women inserting automotive pistons into their anuses and vaginas . . .

WIFE: Now that is wacky! Ooh, let’s see who my mystery date is!

She opens the door to reveal her perfect match.

WIFE: Not exactly the face of an angel, but maybe he’ll make up for it downstairs.

RAYMOND: Where it counts!

SLIM: There’s Chunk-style. Gotta bounce, bitches.

WIFE: Have a lovely time!

Slim bounds down the stairs and gets in Chunky’s rust-colored El Camino.

CHUNKY: How’s it hanging?

SLIM: I don’t want to talk about it!

CHUNKY: Ever since our trip to the Vu, you’ve been uncharacteristically reluctant to discuss your own cock and balls. What gives?

SLIM: Your mama gives! And the bitch takes, too, from what I hear!

CHUNKY: So what? A bitch gotta make a living. What does your mom do when the cash is tighter than one of Michael Jackson’s potential victims?

SLIM: Dude, we’re totally rich. You think that the recession is going to make people stop jacking off?

CHUNKY: Fucking old people who don’t use the internet. I’m gonna start classes for them and your parents are going to be screwed.

SLIM: Why don’t you just try to hook up with Boobs Carlisle? Get a woman with a nice salary and live easy for the rest of high school.

CHUNKY: Good idea. Can your sister help a bro out with that?

SLIM: I’ll ask after she’s had a few Martha Stewart eggnogs on Christmas Eve.

CHUNKY: Noice.


Slim and Chunky are in the basement of the home of their friends, Julius “Saggy” Rubsenstein (so nicknamed because of his tendency to wear his pants like a black) and his brother, Ratso. Even though they are Jews, they have embraced the holiday spirit with cases of Bud Light emblazoned with the Claus family provided by their parents.

SLIM: Where the fuck is everyone? You didn’t tell us it was gonna be a four man sausage fest.

RATSO: Fuck you. A bunch of people are out of town and Bulge and a bunch of bitches are on the way.

CHUNKY: More beer for the rest of us.

SAGGY: Hella true.

SLIM: So what have you guys been doing on break?

RATSO: What the fuck, are you accusing me of not having a life and spending all my time posting on some web site for bitches? I have been going out and enjoying social activities, getting crunk in and out of the club, smoking piles of weed, and hooking up with hoes.

CHUNKY: We went to the Vu a couple days ago.

SAGGY: Hella awesome.

SLIM: It was actually pretty lame.

CHUNKY: Speak for yourself! They got Mr. Pibb and snatch! What else fucking is there in life?

SAGGY: Hella yes.

CHUNKY: Anyway, Slim here got a lap dance from some ho named Salsa and he won’t even tell me what went down. Or—I should say—up!

RATSO: Fuck, man, you gotta tell us.

SLIM: Dude, nothing happened! I mean, nothing didn’t happen . . . It’s just . . . I think it’s kind of fucked up that I’m supposed to tell my friends everything about everything that goes in or out of my body. Like, can’t I fucking shit or jack off and just keep it to myself?

CHUNKY: What the hell? We’re bros. Bros before hoes.

RATSO: What the fuck is wrong with you? This shit is just fucked up.

SAGGY: Hella mos’ def.

SLIM: Why? Why don’t we just pull out our dicks and compare them and then have an orgy and send pictures of it to everyone we know?

Saggy takes off his pants, which is not a particularly difficult feat for him.

SLIM: I was fucking kidding!

RATSO: Dude, Slim, you got some issues. And it’s pretty obvious what happened. So what? It happens to all of us.

CHUNKY: Yeah, we get it. So you didn’t last as long as you wanted to. I’m sure some random stripper bitch really cares. What, were you gonna ask her out afterward? “Let’s grab dinner at Maggiano’s and check out the new Dane Cook joint.”

SLIM: Fine. You win. Now give me another fucking beer and call Bulge to find out why the bitches aren’t here yet.

The doorbell rings.

RATSO: Bitches, check. Beer, check.

SAGGY: Hella.


Precious and Boobs are having coffee at Bob’s, a coffee shop on Lyndale with a diverse clientele including lesbians, bikers, and lesbian bikers.

PRECIOUS: It’s like the existence of strip clubs is one of the last things granting any sort of credence so second wave feminism. I just imagine, in the midst of a bed dance, your nipple releasing a single tear-shaped drop of breast milk that morphs into the disapproving face of Catharine MacKinnon.

BOOBS: Yeah, I don’t really philosophize about it, though. It’s hard to think a lot when you’re on oxycontin, methadone, crank, and D when I can get it.

PRECIOUS: Jesus Christ on a snickerdoodle! Have you considered rehab?

BOOBS: Oh, please. It’s way too expensive and I can quit whenever I want to.

An overweight boy approaches their table, holding a large café mocha and a brick of Rice Krispie bar.

BOY: Precious and Hope? This is so cool!

Precious and Hope look confused; obviously they do not recognize their admirer.

BOY: It’s me, Jogs Chignon. I know I look a bit different from high school. The freshman fifteen turned into more like fifty. It’s hard to stay svelte when automatic wheelchairs are just so fun. Plus, I really like beer and fried snack foods.

PRECIOUS: Jogs! I have to say, your weight gain is slightly horrifying, but it’s nice that you’re not giving in to the historical American disdain for the body and disquieting images of contemporary beauty.

JOGS: Yeah, pretty much once I realized I would never look as good in a loincloth as the dude from MGMT, I just decided to let myself go.

PRECIOUS: And your first name is a bit of an ironical performance now, or lack thereof. I heartily approve.

BOOBS: So, what are you doing back in the Minneapple?

JOGS: Same as you: Christmas break with the family.

BOOBS: Actually, I never left Minnesota. I live with my parents and I’m a stripper at the Vu.

JOGS: That must be fun!

BOOBS: Well, unlike every other woman in the Twin Cities, at least I’m getting paid to be sexually harassed.

JOGS: Nice! Anyway, I should get back to my friends, but I wanted to let you know about this fashion event that my sister’s putting on at Club Fantasy tonight. It’s going to be awesome and I can get you and anyone you want to bring in for free with a non-perishable food item.

He hands them a small, tastefully designed flier.

PRECIOUS (reading): “Fashion Fucking Fashion for the Motherfucking Holidays.” Now you’re speaking my language!

JOGS: See you tonight, then?

PRECIOUS: If my psyche withstands another day of being assaulted by the pressures of the telematic age plus my bitch parents, I’ll try.

BOOBS: I’ll check it out after work if I don’t find a john.

JOGS: Coolio.

He waddles back to his friends.

BOOBS: I don’t remember him having a sister.


Precious, Slim, and Chunky are standing together next to a catwalk at Club Fantasy, waiting for the fashion show to start.

SLIM: I cannot believe how gay this crowd is. Can you catch gay by being near so many homos?

CHUNKY: Too bad I didn’t wear my asshole shield underwear.

PRECIOUS: Your queer fear is such a ridiculous put-on. Like you haven’t spent hours in sweaty locker rooms, engaging in football field ass-slapping and basket-grabbing, et cetera, et cetera. Like you really read XY Magazine for the articles.

SLIM: Fuck you. They have some useful tips on body hair management. Maybe you should get a subscription for your dyke friends at college.

CHUNKY: Pwned!

The lights dim for the show to start.

SLIM: I hope we get to see some titties.

PRECIOUS (whispering): Shhhhh! Behave!

An extremely flamboyant black man walks onstage wearing a salmon colored double-breasted suit jacket with brown leather pants and a matching fedora punctuated with a huge peacock plume.

EMCEE: Hello, ladies and ladies! This is Miss Joe, the bitch who started it all! And we’re here to check out the fierciest, fabbest, fantasticest fashions for ya’ll this holiday time. Here we go.

Explosive techno pumps through the speakers as the first model—a buff teenage boy wearing stonewashed gray denim shortalls cut off mid-thigh with denim UGG boots and pink glitter pasties—fiercely marches down the catwalk.

MISS JOE: Say hello to Armando, who looks stunning in this frothy confection of an ensemble available at Rainbow Road near the downtown Hyatt. Work it, bitch!

Armando erotically winks at Slim as he poses at the end of the catwalk.

SLIM: I just realized I have to take a huge shit.

He walks off toward the bathroom.

PRECIOUS (to Chunky): You aren’t going to leave, too?

CHUNKY: Fuck no. This is awesome.

Precious pats him on the back.

Slim returns just as the first female model hits the runway.

MISS JOE: Here is Jay, ready for a night on the town in this military-inspired halter dress with mock epaulets.

Slim is obviously entranced by Jay, a fierce walker who slaps her ass as she twirls at the end of the runway.

MISS Joe: Go girl! You better work, honey!

Jogs walks up to the group.

JOGS: I’m glad you could make it. How’d you like my sister?

He points to Jay just as she leaves the stage.

PRECIOUS: I would kill for an ass like that.

SLIM (aside): Me too.

JOGS (laughing): I gotta head backstage. See you after the show?

Precious shrugs.


All four members of the Cox family are gathered in the living room listening to Wife’s favorite Mannheim Steamroller album.

WIFE: This music is so gosh darn exhilarating! I feel so energized, it reminds me of the days with my first husband when we would have sex three or three and a half times in one sitting!

RAYMOND: Just the thought of that makes my balls hurt.

WIFE (laughing): This is why our relationship works so well. We’re life partners, not just starved horndogs pouncing on each other, having wild, animalistic sex all night.

SLIM: For the tenth time, shut the fuck up! Unless you’re buying me years of therapy for Christmas, I don’t want to hear about this disgusting shit.

WIFE: Oh Slim, someday you’ll find a sweetie to bang. It really can be something special when you find the right fit.

SLIM: I can feel the vomit struggling to escape.

WIFE: I’ll be quiet and enjoy the music. Just think, tomorrow it will be Christmas Eve.

PRECIOUS: One can only wonder what Jesus Christ would think if he returned to earth and saw Americans celebrating his birthday with an orgy of capitalist frenzy.

RAYMOND: It’s a real impasse, all right. But, you know, people come in to my store and buy the Jingle Balls Cock Sleeve, the Mistletoe Anal Tickler, and the Elfmaster 2009, so I roll with the punches.

PRECIOUS: That is something we cannot not do in this environment. I must depart and get my drank on now.

SLIM: Is that Jogs guy going to be at the party?

PRECIOUS: Why do you care, shit stain?

SLIM: His sister seemed nice.

Precious laughs, rolls her eyes, and rushes out.

RAYMOND: Now that your stupid feminist bitch sister is gone, there’s something your mother and I wanted to ask you about.

SLIM: What the fuck is it now?

RAYMOND: Well, you know we’re in for a few generations of economic horrors, and a growing boy like you needs spending money for food, fun, and fantasy products.

WIFE: It’s true. Wouldn’t you like to have the pride to go out and buy a burrito with your own money? Or a corn dog? Or a churro? Whatever you want to stuff in your mouth, you can get it yourself.

RAYMOND: So, how’d you like to try working for me? The boss man can be a pain in the booty, but the pay’s decent and you could learn about the family business.

SLIM: Don’t you have to be eighteen to sell porn and dildos and shit?

RAYMOND: Who cares? We could have our own family “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

SLIM: I don’t know. I’ll think about it or some shit.

RAYMOND: Don’t you want the satisfaction of knowing you sold a Fleshlight to someone who otherwise would have to use something less pleasurable and potentially less sanitary or even illegal?

SLIM: You’re not too consistent on the legality shit, dad.

WIFE: Your son has a point.

RAYMOND: Oh, fuck off for the love of all things holy. Anyway, sleep on it. Spend some time imagining what it would be like surrounded by hardcore pornography and relationship and pleasure enhancers for a few hours a week. Sweet dreams!

Slim goes upstairs and logs onto IM. Chunky immediately sends him a link to a video called “Peanut Butter Jar Fun.”


Monday, December 22, 2008

The 2008 Blake Review Part One

He was a boy; she was a post-op MTF transsexual. Can it be any more obvious? I know that (that) “it” is ambiguous, but it’s been a long, hard weekend. There have been sleepless nights, pillow fights, sexually confusing initiation rites, and—most of all—Christmas lights.

It all started in rural West Virginia just over fifteen years ago. He was a coal miner's son, squeezed out of the sooty loins of a child bride in a thatched hut on Christmas day, her howls mingling with those of stray coyotes in the hills above. In fact, he had a younger sister who was raised by coyotes for the first eight years of her life. Although she remained feral at heart, she eventually learned the social ways of the human world and found success as a high school ultimate discus player.

He, on the other hand, was born without the gift of athletic prowess. His father refused to come to terms with this, berating the child for his inability to develop bulging lats and glutes by age eight. He was no Richard Sandrak: he could barely complete four pull-ups, and lost in the first round of the second grade arm wrestling tournament to a primordial dwarf with carpal tunnel.

This embarrassment was too much for his father, who turned to the bottle, spiraling downward until, one fateful night, he drank sixteen purple hooters and got arrested for having sex with a picnic table four times in one hour, then smeared his feces all over the back of the police car that carried him off. The local publicity was too much for his poor wife, who whisked the kids away to start a new life in the great state of Minnesota.

She found a job as a sales assistant at the Fantasy Gifts in the Town and Country shopping center in Bloomington, where she met her second future ex-husband, Raymond Cox, who wooed her with erotic gifts: crotchless pantsuits, cashmere thongs, flavored body oils, and more. After a shotgun wedding at the Anoka Knights of Columbus hall, the Coxes moved into a sprawling home in Indian Hills and created a beautiful life for Slim and his still slightly feral sister, Precious.

Five years have passed. Now, Precious is a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence, and Slim is a junior at Edina High School. This is the story of the holiday season experiences of the Cox family in 2008. I hope you enjoy it.



We begin in the living room of the Cox house, where Raymond’s wife and son are waiting for him to bring Precious back from the airport.

WIFE: It’ll be real cozy with us all here. My mama always said the home and the hearth are like the human womb in the holiday time. Some people may dream of sugar plums, but the sweetest thoughts in my noggin are shaped like cute li’l fetuses.

SLIM: That is so fucking gay. What the fuck is wrong with you, bitch?

WIFE (laughing): I know I’m a bit esoteric, idiosyncratic . . . some have even deigned to refer to me as “wacky.” But that’s what happens when you take a girl from the bucolic outskirts of Yakima, Washington, make her run away from home to escape her stepmother’s crippling dextromethorphan hydrobromide addiction, then set her up with a hard-drinking miner with a taste for light bondage, especially when there’s a full moon or a neap tide.

SLIM: Gross me out! That is some sick shit. Seriously, I’m so glad I haven’t eaten for three days, because I would have just projectile vomited all over your tits.

WIFE: It wouldn’t be the first time, sweetie.

Just then, the doorbell rings. Wife leaps in the air and squeals with delight as Slim lackadaisically throws the door open. Precious and Raymond enter along with a burst of cold air. Precious is wearing pastel pink tights, white fur boots, a vinyl miniskirt, and a sweater with a picture of St. Josephine Bakhita’s stern yet benevolent face on it.

WIFE: My sweet, semi-feral daughter! I’m so glad to see you. My cup runneth over.

SLIM: That’s what she said.

Wife embraces a detached-looking Precious, who growls softly.

SLIM: I was expecting you to look much more lesbo.

PRECIOUS: God, fashion sexual preference identity locationality is so jejune, even the neo-essentialists ask for their goulash, hold the FSPIL.

RAYMOND: Those lesbians sure do like their harnesses, though. They come in and ask for the leather harnesses. I guess the economy hasn’t been too bad for them because they really like to splurge on my high-quality leather harnesses.

SLIM: Subarus must have good gas mileage.

WIFE: I’m going to go check on my baked Alaska. Slim, why don’t you help your sister with her luggage.

SLIM: Is it heavy?

PRECIOUS: It is no heavier than the pendulous testicles of a particularly large steed.

SLIM: You would know!

He grabs a forest green L.L. Bean duffle with the monogram “BWO” and heads upstairs with Precious, who is hauling a trunk plastered with shirtless pictures of “Beautiful Soul”-era Jesse McCartney.


Slim is reclined on a fainting coach in Precious’s bedroom to recover from the exertion of toting her duffle bag upstairs. She is mixing highballs with a vintage stainless cocktail set straight out of “Mad Men.”

PRECIOUS: The whole campus has become a knitting orgy. The frenzied social is merely a woolen happening. People are measuring others’ genitalia to make custom cock socks. I’m not sure if it’s refreshingly unselfconscious or sexually overwhelming. I suppose we have reached an impasse.

SLIM: Dude, that cock sock fad would be pretty cool if it came here.

Precious hands him a cocktail.

SLIM: What is this, Captain coke or some shit?

PRECIOUS: Lord no. It is a virgin brandy stinger.

SLIM: Is that supposed to mean something?

PRECIOUS: What sass! As if the concept of “meaning” can be invoked so casually. It must be right cozy living under the veil of structuralist assumptions. I envy you, really.

SLIM: Bitch, you crazy. But this drank is pretty baller.

PRECIOUS: Yes, few teenage boys can resist the allure of the virgin stinger. In fact, I once knew a lovely coyote called “The Virgin Stinger.” He had the most attractive pouty lips.

She growls suggestively.

SLIM: So, what’s college like? Is everybody constantly fucked up and fucking? My friend Will’s brother who goes to Madison said it was like that.

PRECIOUS: I don’t know what those ignoramus rubes in cheesetown are doing with their time, but Sarah Lawrence is quite civilized. Yes, my roommate was left overnight tied to an Ikea swiveling desk chair, but they made sure she could move her hands enough to smoke clove cigarettes. And anyway, the whole incident was about experiencing the transgression of boundaries, flirting with the erotic kernel of submission.

SLIM: Damn, that makes high school sound pretty lame. The closest thing to that was when that deaf girl got caught giving her deaf boyfriend a blowjob in the language stairwell.

PRECIOUS: Ah, yes. How ironical that was.

WIFE (calling from downstairs): Supper’s ready, children!

Slim and Precious both quickly finish their cocktails and head out.

SLIM: By the way, are you still friends with that one hot bitch, the one with the pink Geo Tracker?

PRECIOUS: You mean Hope?

SLIM: Yeah. I hope I can get inside her pants before New Year’s Day.

PRECIOUS: Actually, she goes by the name of “Boobs Carlisle” now. She’s a stripper at the Vu.

SLIM: Hot damn! We are so headed there tonight. Be still, my beating left testicle.


Precious, Slim, and Slim’s aggressively pubescent friend, Enrico (who goes by the name “Chunky,” which was earned after he was caught doing something at least minimally unsavory with Jif) pull into the Third Street municipal ramp in downtown Minneapolis.

CHUNKY: So, the guy shoves this empty glass jar up his ass, and of course all the guys watching were like, “Whatever.” Like, of course he’s going to shove it up his ass. But then the jar broke and all this blood and shit went everywhere and I started screaming like a bitch and ran to the bathroom because I thought I was gonna throw up but I didn’t so I decided as long as I was already in the bathroom I should probably just beat off.

SLIM: I’m so sick of those videos that start with some guy shoving shit up his ass. That shit is so 2007. The internet needs to have a New Year’s resolution to can it with the objects up ass shit.

CHUNKY: That “sounds” good to me!

Slim high-fives Chunky as they both laugh uproariously. Precious rolls her eyes and delivers a growl of subtle irritation.

They park the car and emerge.

PRECIOUS: It’s colder than Oprah Winfrey’s crotch out here! Bronxville might not be Tahiti but this is just horrific. Why would anyone live here by choice?

SLIM (pointing at Sex World): That’s one reason.

CHUNKY: My brother told me they have free popcorn outside the jack-off booths!

SLIM: Popcorn: America’s healthy snack, now with three hundred percent more protein.

CHUNKY: That is just sick, bro.

PRECIOUS: Before we go in, I want to make sure you guys promise to respect the sex workers. Being a sex worker in the 90’s does not mean you’re happy and free. These bitches have drug problems and most of them probably have the clap and the slightest insult can invoke a violent rage. You don’t want your eyeball torn off by someone’s acrylic bitch nail so keep it polite.

SLIM: How you know so much about whores? Have you been enjoying life south of the border?

CHUNKY: Spending your food money on box lunches?

SLIM: Experimenting with carpet samples?

CHUNKY: Snatch spelunking?

PRECIOUS: Har har har. Your juvenile euphemisms are so witty, I’m stifling a titanic guffaw right now. But actually, I took a class on sex-positive feminism last semester. What an academically bankrupt, essentialist discipline. It almost made me nostalgic for Phyllis Schlafly.

SLIM (to Chunky): Are you sure our fake IDs are going to work?

CHUNKY: Dude, of course. I got them from the same guy in Chinatown who forged a passport for that guy who blew up all those people in Canada last year.

SLIM: It’s just weird that this ID says my name is Michael Cholbi. That sounds really gay and I don’t even fucking know how to pronounce the last name. What’s your name?

CHUNKY: Michael Cera.


Raymond and Wife sit by a roaring fire enjoying hot buttered rum and gingerbread cookies made with novelty penis and boob cookie cutters from Fantasy Gifts.

RAYMOND: I’m getting worried about that boy of ours. All he does is sit around watching the "World’s Strongest Man" on TV and eating petit fours.

WIFE: You have to understand, honey, that my baby daddy didn’t treat him good. He’s been emasculated so many times. And just look at the contradictory images society projects to teenage boys. They’re supposed to look like Abercrombie models yet walk around in public holding shopping bags with pictures of shirtless Abercrombie models on them.

RAYMOND: That’s why I think he needs to spend some time in a real all-American red-blooded manly man’s place, and I’m not talking about the YMCA locker room. I’m talking about my store. He could earn some pocket money and learn the ropes of the trade.

WIFE: Mixed metaphor aside, are you sure he wouldn’t nearly explode with sexual frustration? He might get all worked up and into a state where the slightest trigger could make him explode. Imagine if that happened in a grocery store, or during square dancing in gym class.

RAYMOND: Insinuating that hours and hours spent among luscious pornographic materials would make a teenage boy sexually frustrated is fundamentally retarded. This is about capitalism, it’s about the economy, and it’s a little bit about leather harnesses, too. But only a bit.

WIFE: I guess we can talk about this with him, but not with that intellectual half-feral feminazi around!

Raymond laughs and nods vigorously.


Precious, Slim, and Chunky share a table at Déjà Vu, sipping Mr. Pibb and watching a stripper wearing a Santa hat and forest green spike heels pole Atlanta-style.

SLIM: You could choke someone to death with those thighs.

CHUNKY: I’ve got something I’d like her to choke!

Boobs Carlisle approaches the table wearing red hot pants with white fur trim and a matching bra.

BOOBS: Precious! Tony said some girl asked for me, but I never thought it would be you.

They embrace warmly.

BOOBS: We could have met somewhere classier.

PRECIOUS: Oh, hooey. I decided to embrace the Xmas spirit and take this little fucker and his friend to see some nice silicon-enhanced tits and heavily waxed bacon strips.

BOOBS: Awww, that’s cute. If either of them wants a lap dance or a table dance or a bed dance, I can suggest some hot bitches.

PRECIOUS: My brother is pretty frail. I think his heart might give out—

SLIM: Fuck you, you half-feral bitch! I get lap dances all the time. I had one the night before you got back.

CHUNKY: Yeah right: you had one right before you woke up in a pool of your own dick juices.

Slim bitch-slaps Chunky, then moans in pain and nurses his hand.

BOOBS: I gotta go get ready for my big number, but if you decide you want some hot one-on-one action, just find Salsa over there.

She points toward a spicy, racially ambiguous woman dressed as a Russian Orthodox nun.

SLIM: I wonder if they touch your unit.

PRECIOUS: Go find out. Just don’t blame me if you die.

SLIM: I’ll show you that I’m a real man right now.

He gets up and walks purposefully toward Salsa.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Music Releases of 2008

In alphabetical order:

Autodrone: Strike a Match
The Bug: London Zoo
Cold Cave: Painted Nails
The Comas: Spells
Dan Friel: Ghost Town
Dead Leaf Echo: Pale Fire
The Fun Years: Baby, It's Cold Inside
Hauschka: Ferndorf
The Hold Steady: Stay Positive
Paavoharju: Laulu Laakson Kukista
Rustie: Cafe de Phresh
Teenage Filmstars: Star (reissue)

Best corporate music experience: Hearing "Marshmallow World" at Trader Joe's