Thursday, November 26, 2020
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Filler is a Killer: Do Not Let Cover Letters Own You.

Invincibility! Source:

When it comes to applying for a job, you have your resume all set, ready to go but as with most jobs you need that added boost: a cover letter.

For you Mario Fans out there, it is almost like you are about to fight Bowser & you need the Fire Power or Invincibility star to pop up so that you have an advantage.

Cover Letter Invincibility! Much Needed Advice! Super Mario!

Cover letters provide that boost and act as a resume translator for hiring managers. Yes, I realize that cover letters are not easy. They are not meant to be but they are there to help you with attaining your next position and not hurt your chances.

A wise colleague of mine once told me that, ‘cover letters show off the personality that does not exude itself from a resume’.

1. Be Concise. Filler is a killer. Case and point, do not write the romantic schpeal such as, ‘I like long walks on the beach, flying kites into the sunset’. However, DO reflect upon your achievements thus far and make the connection as to why you can go above and beyond any other candidate being considered for this position

Filler is a killer.

These words speak volumes to me as a recruiter and a person who plays a hand in the hiring process. If you cannot concisely describe why you are a great fit and what you can provide for the company that no one else can, you are not the best fit for the job. You did not prepare yourself for the cover letter. FAIL.

2. Show your personality.  This does not mean you should lose your business sense and write unprofessionally, but your resume will reflect your experience but your cover letter reflects the examples and personality that is not represented on a resume. Bring that out in an appropriate manner.

3. Make the connection. Sometimes in life we have to reach out and take what we want or at least reach out and ASK for what we want. While it tough to do this make an attempt to explain why and how you can make a difference in this position for the company.

Do you know a person within the organization? Mention to that person you will be applying to the position and be sure to include this connection in your cover letter.

No, we do not need the entire length of history here, just a brief statement explaining the connection and importance 🙂

4. Research and review. Do some background research on the company and positions for which you are applying. If you do not know a single detail about the company, it makes it a lot harder to make the connection to the companies specific wants and needs for a position. Without knowing information about the company and their current events or recent news, it also makes you looks like a disinterested candidate during the job interview. 

Utilize Google and also websites called GlassDoor  and Linkedin to assist with your research and even locate the potential hiring managers or colleagues within the company.

4. Adjust accordingly and honestly.  Your resume AND your cover letter should be altered to reflect the position you are applying for regardless of who you know and how well you think you may know the position.

In terms of the changes, do not change/lie/or misrepresent information on your resume but DO alter your resume to reflect how your experience matches the specific information listed or required for the position. Sell yourself but in an honest manner 🙂

Each cover letter should be different and adjusted according to the jobs and companies for which you will be applying. While most of the time the jobs remain the same, there will be different reasons for why you apply each time and how you can help that company.

5. Avoid General Salutations. The days of ‘Dear Human Resources Manager’ and ‘Dear Staffing team’ are gone. Most jobs these days do not provide direct contact with hiring managers because most managers work with staffing agencies like (Adecco, Randstad and Manpower). BUT a large chunk of managers and human resources managers do have profiles on Linkedin and that could be a great resource for reaching out to them regarding a position.

If all else fails, you can call the company directly and ask who is hiring for the opportunity. While that is bold, it is a solid approach in sales and has worked since the dawn of time.

Go the extra step and find out that information. Go the distance, Hercules, go the distance.


Please, please let’s hear some stories about your favorite type of cover letter, or even better…what are your thoughts on VIDEO cover letters? They seem to be taking off quite a bit.


Downton Abbey Recap: It’s Never Lupus

Downton Abbey
Credit to:
Downton Abbey
Credit to:

Last time on Everybody Hates Edith, everyone hated Edith for writing an op-ed, while Matthew felt guilty, now and forever. Maggie Smith said something sassy that you and all your friends have already memorized. Everyone caught up? Good. Remember, this is a recap, and yes, beyond this point, there are spoilers.

Dr. Clarkson is with Lady Sybil and everything’s fine and Tom is glowing. I like him when he smiles. I’ve heard rumors that he will be shirtless soon, and I like that even better. *ahem*

Downstairs, the servants are talking amongst themselves before dinner. There is the new footman, whose name escapes me, but since he looks like the Nazi kid in “The Sound of Music”, I’m going to call him Rolf. Anyway, Thomas has been flirting with “Rolf” and it’s painfully obvious to EVERYONE, even the staff who’s never heard of “homosexuality.” After dinner, Alfred follows the new kitchen maid, Ivy, around, much to Daisy’s chagrin, and Daisy starts pulling rank, since that’s the best way to get a boy.

Upstairs, all this baby talk is making Matthew rethink his guilt about all this money that he’s gotten and how poorly he thinks the estate is being run.

Meanwhile, O’Brien and “Rolf” are talking about winding clocks. Apparently, “Rolf” has been drafted by Thomas to wind all the clocks. O’Brien is talking about this like it’s the MOST AMAZING THING EVER, and how this is significant of how Thomas TOTALLY trusts and respects “Rolf.” I’ve never heard clocks being talked about like that.

Mary and Sybil are talking about pregnancy and we have the usual litany. Swollen ankles, moody moods, pickles and ice cream.

We switch to Thomas standing behind “Rolf” doing the “No really, let me show you how to do it by standing behind you and brush against you” trick. “Rolf” doesn’t fall for it, but at the same time, doesn’t seem to recognize the oldest trick besides the yawn and drop.

Mrs. Bates is at the prison for visiting hours (NO TOUCHING!). She and Bates start talking about a pastry or a pie or something. I feel like I missed something but they’re both very happy and see this as proof that Bates’ ex-wife killed herself. Bates’ cellmate and some ugly prison guard with jug ears conspire against Bates because they hate happiness.

Harriet Jones convinces Ethel, the whore maid, to come work for her. Everyone but Harriet is apprehensive about this.

It’s dinnertime and some old gentleman is with us, and it turns out that he’s a fancy doctor. Oh well. After dinner, Matthew accosts Phillip and brings up the spinal injury from last season that I thought that we had all forgotten and/or ignored. Matthew is concerned that his boys might not be working at full capacity, since Mary hasn’t been knocked up in the past few months. Slow down, kid. You have time.

Mrs. Bates talks to Lord Robert about her sleuthing and he congratulates her on her Nancy Drew-ing before heading into the breakfast room to eat. Lady Edith and Matthew are there and a letter comes for Edith. She’s received an offer to write a weekly column about the plight of the modern woman! Oh, if only getting a column was that easy! Lord Robert nixes the idea and Edith middle childs her way of the room.

Harriet Jones is talking to her Plain Old Cook, who’s quitting because she refuses to work with a former whore. They banter for a while, and Harriet Jones gets in a few good shots that just go over the cook’s head. Plain Old Cook leaves anyway.

In the kitchen, the footmen, sans Thomas, are flirting with Ivy, who’s not that pretty. They’re interrupted by Daisy who is currently drunk with power and kicks them all out in a jealous fit. This continues on to the cooking where she orders Ivy around. The hollandaise sauce curdles and Ivy doesn’t know what to do. “Rolf” magically fixes the sauce, earning the respect of Mrs. Bridges and Ivy and the ire of Daisy.

Upstairs, the daughters are consoling Tom before dinner. Maggie Smith finds out about Edith’s blog and is not amused. Everything gets stopped because it looks like something’s wrong with Sybil, and the doctors are fighting over who’s right. It’s like an episode of House. We know it’s not lupus, but we’re not sure if it’s not sarcoidosis.

While that’s going on, Ethel and Harriet Jones are off to a bad start, as Ethel attempts a kidney soufflé, which sounds awful, and is beyond her cooking skills.

Downstairs, Plain Old Cook wrote the staff at Downton a letter informing them about the scarlet woman who’s now working for the family. The staff accuses each other of being hypocrites and leaves it at that.

Upstairs, Sybil is slowly going crazy. The doctors argue over if this is pre-eclampsia or not. She may or may not need to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW and may nor may not need a caesarian. All this arguing is interrupted by Sybil screaming.

Meanwhile, Ethel screws up Harriet Jones’ tea and Daisy interrupts another group flirtation session. Mrs. Bridges sits Daisy down and gives her a Come to Jesus talk about how Ivy doesn’t care about Alfred and all this nastiness is going to do the complete opposite of what Daisy really wants.

Upstairs, everyone’s waiting in the parlor until Mary pops in, looking calm and informs them that Sybil and the new baby are fine. Apparently, they didn’t take her to the hospital. Everyone’s fine and happy and Sybil talks to Cora about her plans for Tom and the baby. Why does this feel like something’s about to happen?

Everyone in the house rejoices and Thomas gives “Rolf” a look that says “we should TOTALLY have sex.” “Rolf” freaks out and talks to O’Brien about this. O’Brien basically tells him he should go sleep with Thomas if he wants to be anything other than a scullery maid, but without actually saying that.

The next morning, my suspicions are confirmed, since there’s something wrong with Sybil. There’s lots of screaming and Dr. Clarkson does his best to say I Told You So, instead of doing anything. Not that there’s anything either one of the doctors can do, but they do just stand there while Sybil has a seizure and everyone else breaks down.

And crap. Lady Sybil’s dead. That sound you heard is thousands of fans turning off their TVs in rage.

Cora promises to take care of Tom and the baby. Edith and Mary use this as a weird bonding moment, since they seem to have the foresight to know that they won’t become best friends and will probably still loathe each other, but still take a moment to reaffirm their familial bond.

Mrs. Bates talks to a solicitor about her husband’s wrongful improvement and the difficulty of getting the woman who hates them all to stick to her story, once she finds out that her story might free Mr. Bates. Afterwards, the same solicitor talks to Matthew about the running of the estate, which Mary walks in on. Mary’s pissed, since her father isn’t involved, but that’s where we run into a problem since Robert is Earl, but Matthew is the heir AND the money is his. The solicitor travels to the prison to talk to Mr. Bates. Jug Ears and Cell Mate conspire in the shadows.

The family gathers in the parlor, and Cora has a “screw all of you” moment and it looks like Robert’s still sleeping on the couch for a while. We end with Tom holding his newborn, staring out the window.

Wow, that was a tough one!! Next time! Mr. Bates gets into a prison fight and everyone talks about religion! I know I’m excited.

Suspenders, Garters, Glasses? Sexy Lingerie Picks of 2013

Source: via Eric on Pinterest

Who doesn’t love to feel sexy? This is the Manhattan Digest Sexy Lingerie Picks of 2013. Ladies, don’t just do this for your men, but do it for yourself.  It helps to boost your self confidence and that in itself will make you more appealing.

You Can Never Go Wrong With Black

Black shows confidence and finesse.  It means you want to show your partner who is in charge and do it well!  Try black garters, sexy thongs and corsets.  It will push you up in all the right places, bring you in where you want and show off the places you want your significant other to focus on!

Source: Uploaded by user via Sharon on Pinterest
Source: Uploaded by user via Sharon on Pinterest

You Can’t Go Wrong With Red Either

This year, numerous fashion editors are stating that red is the new black.  This is also a power of color and demands attention.  Red lingerie reeks sexy and you pairing it with lace makes it even better.

Source: Uploaded by user via Kimberly on Pinterest

Play with Sexy Dresses

So many males on turned on by a good dress.  Especially when it comes to short dresses, men are constantly fantasizing about hiking it up and doing you in right then and there.  Find dresses that flatter your legs and hug your curves in all the right places.

Blue Dress
Source: Uploaded by user via Abbi on Pinterest


Don’t Stop with a Dress, Go for the Skirt

The schoolgirl skirt never goes out of style.  If you don’t have one then get one ASAP.  It’s ok to get an extra short one for your loved ones eyes only and he will be sure to appreciate it!  A tight micro mini paired with sky-high stilettos won’t hurt either!

Sexy School Girl
Source: via MeghanRose on Pinterest



Ok, there is something both nerdy and sexy about a lady that can rock suspenders and do it well.  They can be paired with a skirt or pants for a flirty look!

Source: via Eric on Pinterest



The right glasses can drive a man crazy.  It goes back to the schoolgirl fetish for an innocent look.  Consider pairing them with suspenders or the previously mentioned schoolgirl skirt for a naughtier feel.  Proceed to let you partner choose what you should keep on or take off during the act.

Source: Uploaded by user via Kris on Pinterest


Bringing Sexy Back

This year more than ever cut outs and back flattering items are in high demand.  They show just the right amount of skin and hey, it is also an opportunity for you to show that sexy back tattoo people only usually see in a bathing suit.  A man’s mind will also drift to the ease of removing these dresses, so if you have a sexy back, show it off!

Sexy Back
Source: via Hunter on Pinterest


Heels, Heels, Heels!

Lastly, the right sexy shoe will compliment everything we mentioned above!  The higher the better, just make sure you can truly strut your stuff in them!

Sexy Boots
Source: via Alexa on Pinterest


Happy shopping! Tell us about your favorite sexy item or one you already own and couldn’t live without!

Album Review: Broadcast – Berberian Sound Studio

Album Cover

Album Cover


Broadcast:          Berberian Sound Studio

Score:         7.5/10


Similar Artists: The Caretaker, The Focus Group, Philip Glass

Genre: Hauntology, Soundtrack, Musique Concrete, Collage


I will begin this review by saying what must be said: This is Broadcast’s first release since vocalist/instrumentalist Trish Keenan’s untimely death. She had been working on this soundtrack along with James Cargill before she was hospitalized due to pneumonia in 2011. Due to both artists being multi-instrumentalists, it is unclear how much of this album was worked on by Trish. However her influence is felt throughout and the music is made that much more sorrowful because of it.

Although this is a soundtrack, and stands alone in Broadcast’s discography, it can be considered a progression of the themes presented on 2010’s “Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age”. On that album, the band, along with collaborators “The Focus Group”, reached the culmination of their avant-garde tendencies. Although the band’s sound was always progressing, this was the first time where they could no longer be even remotely compared to their sister act, “Stereolab”.

Not surprisingly, due to this being a film score, “Berberian Sound Studio” is mostly instrumentally based. Although the album has a whopping 39 tracks, this number is in no way representative of the album length in total, which clocks in at only slightly over 30 minutes. Only a handful of tracks are over a minute, and the longest is 3 minutes. This leaves any kind of track-for-track analysis out of the question as many tracks are reliant on their antecedents and consequences. The album eventually does work well as a whole through the reemergence of themes and the occasional standout track. For the record, I listened to the album 10 times and not until the later half did certain pieces come into being.

Broadcast has always been known to be perfectionists, and despite the progression away from identifiable “songs”, that status is no different here. I have not seen the film this work is based off of, but the synopsis seems reminiscent of early Cronenberg, so it is not surprising that this release sees the band at their most “Hauntological”.  The sounds range from ominous keyboard melodies, vocal snippets, organ drones, 80’s synthesizers, the clicking of old film reels, blood-curdling screams, and Trish’s looped, echoey vocals. There are a few instances where the whimsicalities of early Broadcast from “The Noise Made by People” or “Haha Sound” can be heard, but these moments are few and far between. Don’t expect to come away from your listening experience humming anything in the vein of “Come on Let’s Go”.

This album is a difficult one to give a score. Broadcast’s work has always been the type whose greatness has taken a while to shine. When first released, no one called Broadcast’s early work as classic, but when the end of the last decade rolled around they were reevaluated and deemed masterful. As hypocritical as this sounds, “Berberian Sound Studio” is not going to be deemed a classic; however, it feels like something is missing to this album that will fill itself in as the sounds enters our subconscious and we revisit them years down the line. For now we will have to be happy that this album exists at all, for the tragedy surrounding it could have been fatal to what is surely music that is worthy to the band’s legacy.


Track Listing:

1.) A Breeze Through The Burford Spur

2.) The Equestrian Vortex*

3.) Beautiful Hair

4.) Malleus Maleficarum

5.) Mark of the Devil

6.) Confession Modulation

7.) Monica’s Fall

8.) Teresa’s Song

9.) The North Downs Dimension*

10.) Collatina is Coming

11.) Such Tender Things

12.) Teresa, Lark of Ascension*

13.) Monica’s Burial (Under the Junipers)

14.) Found Scaled, Dound Drowned

15.) Monica (Her Parents Have Been Informed)

16.) The Fifth Claw

17.) Saducismus Triumphatus

18.) The Gallops

19.) They’re Here, They’re Under Us

20.) Collatina, Mark of Damnation*

21.) Treatise

22.) A Goblin

23.) The Equestrian Library

24.) The Serpert’s Semen

25.) Burnt at the Stake

26.) All Chiffchaffs

27.) The Curfew After The Massacre

28.) Poultry In Mind

29.) The Sacred Marriage*

30.) Valeria’s Burial (Under the Fort)

31.) Edda’s Burial (Under the Clumps)

32.) The Game’s Up

33.) It Must’ve been the Magpies

34.) The Dormitory Window

35.) Anima De Cristo

36.) His World is my Shed

37.) Collatina’s Folly

38.) Here Comes the Sabbath, There goes the Cross

39.) Our Darkest Sabbath*


* – Album Highlight

How Canseco Got The Last Laugh


Essentially many believe this to be true. While “Big Mac” and “Slammin’ Sammy” were ending the century hitting 60+ home runs ole’ Jose Canseco was being shopped around like a sham wow last Christmas. Canseco would land on 4 teams in the last 4 years of the 90s Boston, Oakland, Toronto and Tampa Bay respectively. Although his numbers had been down since his earlier years and were not on the level of McGwire’s his home run totals were still very respectable

Imagine: (
Imagine: (

as he belted 28, 23, 46 and 34. Three of those seasons had him have less then 502 at bats. In 2000 he would be shipped to the defending and soon to be again world champion New York Yankees. In which he would parlay that into another contract with the Chicago White Sox in 2001. The final two seasons he would hit a combined 31 homeruns. In 2001 at the age of 36 he left the game with 462 home runs 1407 RBIs averaging 40 HRs and 121 RBIs a year.

Many wouldn’t like to believe this but he still had another year to 3 left in the tank, maybe not the same power he once had but he still could have been serviceable. (Mind you this was all before the steroid revelations that would occur in the middle of the previous decade 2004-2006). If Jose would of stayed on for 3 maybe 2 more years he would of hit his 500th home run thus enshrining him into the hall of fame in Cooperstown. He wasn’t commanding much of a salary and had accepted his newfound role as a “role player”. Being a bench player, pinch hitting, mentoring younger players and being a good clubhouse guy. All this started in his short stop in the Bronx in 2000 when he teamed up with the Yankees to help them win their 26th World Series championship.

Well then why was it that a still productive, cheap and more calm Jose Canseco was out of the game in his mid 30’s ? We may have to look outside of baseball for that. He at the time had 3 times convicted of spousal abuse and domestic violence for either hitting his wife or girlfriend. He also had assault charges and violence within nightclubs or bar settings. Also within the “lines” GM’s and managers also weren’t convinced that he would be a good fit in their club house. Stemming from his past off the field issues, to his on the field antics and club house problems. So when he left the game never to receive another major league offer again he held a grudge, a grudge that changed the foundation of sports forever. He would join on some minor league squads never really getting a legit shot, when he gave up on his dream to return he In 2005, admitted to using anabolic steroids in a tell-all book “Juiced” . He also would claim that up to 85% of all MLB were or had been taking steroids a number that is disputed by many in the game. Jose Canseco is also credited with starting numerous baseball players on steroids.

In the book, Canseco specifically identified former teammates Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi, Iván Rodríguez and Juan González as fellow steroid users, and claimed that he injected them. Most of the players named in the book initially denied steroid use, though Giambi admitted to steroid use in testimony before a grand jury , while Palmerio acutally tested positive for PEDs after telling but more recognizibly pointing his finger towards the members of capitol hill during testimony, he stated that he had never taken anything before.

In late December of 2007 Canseco had reached a deal for his sequel to his first book Juiced called Vindicated. The book would hit stores by Opening Day 2008. This book is said to have “stuff” on Alex Rodriguez, and Albert Belle. The book will be a “clarification” of names that shouldn’t been mentioned in the Mitchell Report. Many denied the claims but however, on February 7, 2009, Sports Illustrated reported that A-Rod did test positive during his 2003 season, which could make Canseco’s book seem more real than it was believed. Finally, on Monday, February 9, 2009 A-Rod confirmed Canseco’s previous allegations of steroids use in an exclusive interview; A-Rod admits to using steroids from 2001 to 2003. Rodriguez however denied the allegations written in Canseco’s book that Canseco introduced him to a steroid deal calling that information “100% false”. He also has had interviews, statements and blogs giving out more information and stating that his info is true, and to this point it has been. All of the denials that were false have been backed by Mr. Canseco.

Since his departure from baseball he had been on numerous early and late night television shows. The Surreal Life he has also been a boxer and K1 fighter. This is what the man is now doing for money prostituting himself for who ever will buy. He also know pushes what he “takes” for his muscular size and strength. McGwire is now back in baseball first as the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and now the LA Dodger, he is now profiting during his life after his playing days Canseco is not and probably will not. The past hall of fame vote really was the first with the post PED era, and no one was elected. People found this to be a shame , a disgrace and overall an in justice. Those people must not realize that cheating is not right and not apart of the American past time, but either way the MLB turned their back on Jose and he made them pay.

An interview with Snooki and JWOWW at Rupauls Drag Race

credit to

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWOWW” Farley are best known as MTV’s “Jersey Shore” superstars. Last night they were hosts at the premiere party for the fifth season of “Rupaul’s Drag Race”, taking place at Club XL in the heart of Times Square.

They were looking their finest last night when I introduced myself. Dressed like Hollywood Starlets they stole the show with their appearance. As we gathered together for our interview they thought they recognized me, to which I replied “Nope, first time for both”. Snooki replied- “You got a twin out there somewhere”. I don’t really know if there can be two Ryan Shea’s in this world, that might be too much for people to handle. This was a brief interview where we focused questions around hosting an event for the LGBT and how the LGBT cause rings true in their own lives.

It turns out JWOWW and I have more in common than our good looks and large breasts.
We are both from Long Island, JWOWW reps Franklin Square, I rep East Northport.

What is your favorite restaurant is on the island?
JWOWW replied “Easton”. Never heard of it before but thats not a surprise seeing as she is a Nassau County girl. JWOWW’s eyes lit up as I told her my restaurant, in all of the other hemisphere / Long Island, is “All American Burger” in Massapequa. JWOWW then informed me that “All American Burger” is both “the place you can get a to go burger” and simultaneously “get a white girl wasted”. I will remember that one girl!

“We just love that we are just so much more mature than a lot of people.”
Snooki replied, as I asked both girls if either were aware as to how famous they had gotten from the show. Jenni simply shook her head and said “No”. as Snooki continued “We get a lot of hate, and the fact that fans support us, look up to us and tell us that we don’t really care what people say about you makes us feel good.”

Snooki and JWOWW deal with bullying on daily basis.

They choose do continue being themselves because “their fans support them and because of who they are as women”.  They have been longtime supporters of the LGBT community but rose to prominence in this community after they posed for the cover of Next Magazine.

“We want to make this community acceptable around the world, not just in cities like New York and Los Angeles”. “We want to scream it through the rooftops that this is a great community, and you have to accept it”.

Snooki brought up some personal relationships, “I have three best friends I go to- Brad, Joey and Derrick. They are all gay and fabulous”. We then talk about how it’s essential to have a gay friend as we will tell you the outfit you are wearing doesn’t look great as opposed to you buying something and us lying to you about it. That’s what friends are for.

When I asked what their future plans are, JWOWW hopes for a season three of Snooki & JWOWW, where as Snooki simply says, “I want her to get pregnant” while looking at JWOWW.

As the briefinterview winded down I left with a positive impression of both ladies, that they genuinely had altruistic reasons to support at an event like this. They are using their celebrity for the better and I think they are doing a damn good job at it!

Steve Porter and “Orange Peanut”. Read on.

Steve Porter
Credit: Joe Musser/PorterHouse Media
Steve Porter
Credit: Joe Musser/PorterHouse Media

I have had the great fortune of interviewing Steve Porter in the recent weeks.  I got to know him on a much more personal level and saw how seamlessly he transitioned from EDM king to master of the viral video world.

Although his plans are to go back to his roots this year, he is still focused on doing what has made him even more successful now- making viral videos.  His most noted one is the “Slap Chop” video.  Now he is back and already garnering a bunch of attention for yet another amazing remix he created.

This one is called “Orange Peanut” which is a remix of the “Bad lip reading” that tends to happen a lot in the NFL.  The “Orange Peanut” one comes from a memorable slip up from Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson. There are several others in it that are absolutely hilarious, and Steve does an amazing job at putting it together.  Take a look at the video yourself and let us know what you think! 5 star quality in my book!

Take a look at the video here!

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis top, J Tim gains on Billboard

Credit to
Credit to


Two hip-hop songs emerge as victorious on the Billboard Hot 100 in a rather stale and non-movement week otherwise.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz shot to number one this week, dethroning Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” which spent a total of six weeks in the top spot, according to Billboard today.  This is the first number one song for the duo, and it only took sixteen weeks to get to this spot.  This is a relatively short time for an artist largely unknown in the typical top 40, poppish type songs that always seem to carry the number one spot, and a unique song as well.  This is the first time also where a song about a thrift shop is number one.  Yes, that is accurate.

Much of the reason why this song has hit number one is it’s gain in digital sales and that it currently sits at number one on streaming songs with 1.68 million in one week. Streaming pretty much means being placed on apps like Spotify and Rhapsody to name a few.  This was a problem for Taylor Swift, where her record label refuses to put her song “I Knew You Were Trouble” on streaming.  It sits at number five even though it was a huge success in radio and digital sales.

Justin Timberlake, who has had a triumphant return to music after a seven year hiatus, sees his song “Suit & Tie” skyrocket from number 84 last week to number four this week.  The song features hip-hop legend Jay-Z and has been met with quite mixed reviews since it’s release.  It opened on the digital songs chart with 315,000 copies beating his previous best for “Sexyback” by nearly 100,000 copies.  Expect it to linger in the top ten for quite sometime.

Kroll Show Brings Lots of Guest Stars to the Table, Little Else

Nick Kroll
Nick Kroll, star of Kroll Show (Source: Comedy Central)

Kroll Show: 10:30 Eastern Wednesdays, Comedy Central    

Nick Kroll
Nick Kroll, star of Kroll Show (Source: Comedy Central)

“Try to watch the Kroll Show in one sitting. It’s impossible.” — A personal friend’s Facebook status.

When I read that statement, I wasn’t entirely sure that any half-hour show could be truly that awful. I was only half wrong. As a result, I took the chance last night to watch a replay of the first episode and watch the second one live.

The sketch show loosely operates under the basic format of the Harold, which is commonly used in long-form improvisation and involved three different scenes being accessed at 3 different points in time. Generally the idea of this format is that it allows for rapid-fire bouncing between multiple isolated scenes with the hope of branching them together towards the end of the production. The show also differs from standard issue sketch fare by relying on a large list of guest appearances (the most visible in the first two episodes being Jenny Slate, Ed Helms, and Andy Milonakis) as opposed to a standard repertory troupe.

The reason I mention the structure in this case is because it really shows a lot of what is wrong with Kroll Show. I feel that the one thing many of the bits lack is a form of escalation. This escalation is critical because the dissipated structure of the show makes many of the sketches feel longer than they actually are, so when they stay on the same one joke through all three beats, it makes the show seem interminable. This lack of escalation was particularly apparent in the Ref Jeff sketch from episode 1 where the entire joke revolved around a referee trying to go out for drinks with players, but the antics never got out of that very basic level.

The other main flaw of this show is it often prioritizes pushing recurring characters over better and well developed jokes. The first two episodes alone gave us a one-note valley girl publicist (Liz G.), a one note club sleazeball that you’d find in your average Jersey Shore/Long Island club (Bobby Bottleservice), the Ref Jeff character mentioned above, the Rich Jerks (which of all the characters on the show were the strongest because there was slightly more to these guys than “we’re rich, and we’re jerks”, and Dr. Armond, Canine Plastic Surgeon (which fell flat because there just isn’t much of a character there period).

The show shines in those rare moments where it moves away from Nick Kroll’s characters as the focus of sketches. In particular, the ChikClub ad at the beginning of episode two was hysterical, as they advertised a chicken sandwich so good that people would sell out their beliefs for it. Similarly, the Sex in the City (for Men) sketch was equally strong, with its juxtaposition of the bubbly salaciousness of Sex and the City for the incredibly mundane conversation pieces of Sex in the City (For Men) while interspersing increasingly ridiculous bumpers in the middle every 10 to 15 seconds.

In general, the second episode seemed stronger than the first, though that may be because the Rich Dicks segment of the show escalated and twisted in a way that didn’t feel particularly trite (Rich guys need drugs, go to Mexico, get kidnapped, almost get killed, but then the head of the drug ring is one of the Rich Dicks’ friends from Manhattan so everyone goes home happy). The sketches also seemed to integrate together a little better (ChikClub found its’ way into all three main segments) I also happen to think that the writing seemed a little more focused (there was nothing that grated as badly as the argument in the PubLIZity sketch which devolved into full blown incoherence). Additionally, I find that the more that Jon Daly (the only consistent series regular besides Kroll) appears on the show, the funnier a sketch becomes, as he brings his trademark intensity and boorishness to every scene.

The Final Verdict: It’s not nearly as bad as my friend implied in the Facebook post at the top of the article, but it’s definitely not something I would go out of my way to watch unless it just happened to be on in the background while I was preoccupied with other tasks. The foundations for something greater are there, but the overemphasis on recurring characters was the sort of thing that also has turned me off to Saturday Night Live at points and that factor feels 100 times worse on Kroll Show. The end result is something middling and inconsistent, and if the show felt less like elongated versions of stand-up impersonations and more like the tight rapid-fire sketch show it aims to be it could be the perfect post-Workaholics anchor for Comedy Central.

Amour: A Masterpiece, or Just Plain Sad?

Amour Poster Trintignant

Amour Poster Trintignant

It won the Palm D’or at Cannes, received nearly unanimous accolades, and now it’s received the coveted distinction of having Oscar nominations for both best foreign language film as well as best picture. Amour is not just the most praised film to date to come from Austrian director Michael Haneke, but arguably the most acclaimed film to come out in years. In anticipation for the Academy Awards, BAMcinematech will begin showing the film tomorrow, and I strongly suggest that all serious movie goers (who haven’t done so already) to go see this heartbreaking, and vivid film, that is perhaps a masterpiece, and most certainly an unforgettable work of art.

As the title suggests, Amour is certainly a film about love, but it’s too dark to be considered anything romantic. The film centers on the elderly couple of Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), two retired French music teachers who live around the Parisian area. There both in their 80s, but they still enjoy going to concerts, listening to music, and visiting with their daughter (Issabelle Hupert). Unfortunately, things all go for the worse when one day Anne slips into a catatonic state for a few minutes. They immediately go for medical attention and discover she has a problem with her brain. The movie then follows Georges as he tries to care for Anne, as her condition continues to grow more harrowing.

Seeing that the film almost takes place entirely inside the couple’s flat, one might wonder why Haneke didn’t option the film as a stage play instead. Thing is, Amour works beautifully as a film due to the articulate shots, and Haneke’s unique sense of direction. Although Amour has been receiving plenty of press for how different it feels from Haneke’s more sadistic films (I.E. Funny Games, The Piano Teacher), it’s important to note that the directors skill with the macabre is definitely in effect here. A minimalist film maker in every regard, Haneke uses trace amounts of light and color in this film, so as to let viewers feel the graveness. Also, the film has one or two dream sequences that definitely take a few pages from his time directing quasi-horror films. Some people I’ve talked to have even told me they feel that the film still has a cruel sense to it, but even if that’s the case with Haneke’s craft, it couldn’t be any less true with regards to the performances.

Both Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant are veteran French actors from the New Wave period, and it’s likely that this film will be seen as a latter career triumph for both of them. As mentioned before, Haneke directs his film’s with a minamalist’s eye, but it so complements the performances. Through Haneke’s POV we don’t necessarily get to see into the minds of his characters, but their actions and facial expressions give us all that we need. Trintignant gives a mighty performance, whose suggests that his grief is just as harsh as his ailing wife’s. Speaking of whom, Riva might even give the stronger performance of the two leads, which is most impressive seeing that she hardly does much of anything. For most of the film she is paralyzed and confined to beds, but her expressions of pain fully communicate her loss of consciousness. Issabelle Huppert (a previous collaborator with Haneke) gives a limited, but very weighty performance too. One scene with her character in particular resonates with the film’s message as a whole

Amour is a difficult film for sure, nor is it very easy to watch. Still, it’s a very vital film that pulls no punches with exploring the tumultous emotions and acts that come with coping with death, after a life that was so dedicated to love. It’s no wonder that the film has received so many accolades, as the elderly are more likely to have a stronger response to it than younger age groups would. Some people have theorized that the reason Amour received so much attention from the Academy is because many of the voters are of the same age as Georges and Anne, and that honestly doesn’t sound like a stretch at all for me. Despite the biased nature that some voters might have, Amour is a huge victory for Michael Haneke and another must-see for this year. Besides The Master, I feel this was the most accomplished film of 2012.

Amour poster Emmanuelle Riva