Archive for the ‘Gripes & Tirades’ Category

Henning vs. Modern Art

April 17, 2012

Hey, painting! You’re stupid!

Over the years Steve and I have directed our critical eye toward a wide array of popular works, from albums by Passion Pit to the movie Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Minus no exceptions, we’ve stuck to the big three: music, movies, and film. Stepping foot outside those felt scary and weird, like touring foreign lands without even a McDonald’s for safety. Life is scary enough without the threat of musical theater, or books!

But as retirement looms ever nearer along with the opportunity to scream our opinions in an environment that isn’t “outside Starbucks,” the time has come to take that scary step into previously untouched terrain. And so today we summon all our critical strength to go after an artistic medium that for TOO LONG has gotten a free pass on Lifting Fog. Modern art, you’re on notice.

Keep reading!

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More Words and Expressions Aspiring Adults Should Strive to Avoid

March 29, 2012

In August of 2011, we spent some time discussing the state of modern conversation in a post we called “A List of Words and Expressions Aspiring Adults Should Strive to Avoid.” Our mission? Help those of us — Henning and Steve included — oppressed by our juvenile speech patterns to OVERCOME, and enter the world of adult interaction. In one intense exercise we struck colloquialisms like “play” and “come at me bro” from our collective vernacular. We reconsidered our use of the word “brilliant” (which, we’ll remind ourselves, can never refer to a dog or latte). Then we went to cocktail parties and BBQs where we — for the first time in our lives — didn’t sound like f**king toddlers. It was an amazing afternoon of personal growth for everyone.

But the thing about language, and the English one in particular, is that it’s every changing. New words and expressions replace old ones all the time. Yesterday’s “as if” becomes tomorrow’s “child, please” becomes next week’s “scalped.” The way we spoke even seven months ago is now outdated. Then there’s the fact that there are simply TOO MANY words and expressions to avoid. You’ll never hit them all!

But that’s where Lifting Fog comes in. Seven months after our first weed-whacking, we’re back to keep up the work we started: identifying trouble words that, if not killed, will lose you respect and de-arouse your partner. We don’t want either one of those things for you.

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…On the Other Hand, We All Need a Major Time-Out

November 29, 2011

The holiday shopping season (as distinct from the shopping-less “holiday season,” which is about stupid things like “family”) has two faces. One is the wacky, Schwarzenegger-punching-a-reindeer side:

And then there’s this:

Across the country last Friday, competitive shoppers of all stripes braved cold, sleep deprivation, and any sense of personal pride to bust down the doors of big box commerce. In this case “bust down” can be used literally, as Friday was BLACK Friday: the one day a year where doors are obstacles, shopping carts weapons, and your only allegiance to an Old Testament, dual-core processor God. It’s a fun party!

That is until an older man dies of a heart attack and a crazy lady pepper-sprays 20 people in the faceAt most parties you dread the moment the cops arrive, but on Black Friday you keep asking when they’ll show up. You’re down on Wall Street and on college campuses roughing up peaceful activists? We could REALLY USE YOU IN ALL THE WAL-MARTS.

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The Greatest Generation Loved Buying Sh*t, Too

November 25, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY BLACK FRIDAY BLACK FRIDAY means it is now officially Christmas Time (or Hanukkah Time, or…) marking not only the true start of the holiday shopping season but, for a certain part of the population, the green light for an equally affirming activity: grumbling about our 24/7 consumer culture. After all, the only thing comfortably-living people like more than Criterion Collection Blu-rays is talking about how disgusted they are with buying Criterion Collection Blu-rays! Raise your hand if in the past two weeks you’ve heard:

  • “Christmas decorations already? It’s not even Thanksgiving!”
  • “I find it sad that we value brand names over quality. Does anyone even like the sweaters at Abercrombie & Fitch?”
  • “I don’t want anything for the holidays this year, not when kids in Botswana are murdering each other.”

Extravagant purchases – self-awareness + reusable grocery bags + Twitter. WELCOME TO THE 99%, Y’ALL!

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Finding the Funny When You’re Drowning in Melodrama

October 28, 2011

DISCLAIMER: Whether the following is amusing and/or useful is entirely up for debate.

The ability to express oneself, I think most of us can agree, is all too dependent on mood. Especially if you’re aiming for a specific tone. Those whose wheelhouse is death and human misery might stumble in the light of a happy personal life; anyone all about bemused agreeability is going to suffer when they’re feeling anything but. Jolly sadists! Sad clowns! The world is obviously a coldly ironic place.

Not to mention a terrifying one.

But what’s a student of the written word to do when they’re not properly outfitted for the task at hand, WAIT IT OUT? NO! It’s when you’re at your least comfortable, your most angsty, that it’s more important than ever to convert those icky Zach Braff emotions into positive creative fuel. Remember the scene from ‘Waterworld’ where Kevin Costner waters his plant with filtered pee-water? That’s what we’re going to learn how to do today, and it will probably make just as little sense. SO:

Started/continued after the jump!

What’s the Deal with Chick-fil-A?

September 23, 2011

While our up-to-the-minute fast food coverage at Lifting Fog is usually burger-focused — with a special eye toward “consumer insanity” — every so often we like to put down the beef and examine some other industry staples, i.e. tacos or chicken. Today’s story is not about tacos.

On Thursday morning a brand new Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in Hollywood, USA — only the seventh franchise in the Los Angeles area, and a gleaming beacon of hope to chicken lovers who also happen to be Lakers fans. Coupons good for a year’s worth of free chicken sweetened the deal for the nearly 200 people waiting in line, who started camping out Wednesday morning. Asked what they would do with 365 days of chicken sandwiches, customers could only point to the nearest hospital and say “food.” It was that kind of crowd.

But back to the question at hand: why’s everyone losing their freakin’ minds? The coupon component makes sense — they’re coupons; it’s free food. Understood! But the sandwiches themselves…I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they sell the same basic item at McDonald’s? Wendy’s? Etc.? Five Guys is a chain to go nuts over. WAWA is a chain to go nuts over. But Chick-fil-A seems an underwhelming star to hitch your wagon to.

…And that’s forgetting entirely about the SECOND reading of the question, which is that lost in all the chicken excitement is some pretty unsavory news: Chick-fil-A, for whatever reason, is REALLY NOT A FAN OF GAYS.

Keep reading!

A List of Words and Expressions Aspiring Adults Should Strive to Avoid

August 25, 2011

Between the Judd Apatow movies telling us chicks dig fat men-children and the fact that some of us ride Vespas to work, many 20-somethings (and beyond!) have fallen prey to an enveloping infantilization that threatens to keep our generation DOWN. Need proof? Listen no further than the nearest coffeeshop conversation, where the “yays!” and “bros” will likely be flowing like “vino.” The language we use every day conveys an awful lot of information: what part of the the country we’re from. How educated we are (or think we are). How prepared we are for the Chinese takeover. What we don’t want is for the other person to think we’re in 4th grade.

In an effort to help you, our peers, from losing out on that job promotion or May-December romance because of perceived immaturity, Lifting Fog has compiled a quick “what not to say” guide that should help take the guesswork out of everyday communication. Not all of the below are strictly childish expressions, per se, but our crack team of linguistic experts has nevertheless flagged them as dangerous. It is always better to err on the side of safety!

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The Pros and Cons of Having Just Turned 25

July 2, 2011

For many all of us born in 1986, this is the year we turn the big 2-5 and say goodbye to one demographic (18-24) and accept, begrudgingly or with open arms, our induction into the 25-34 club. First off: congratulations, everyone! We made it! If honor student bumper stickers and participation trophies have taught us anything, it’s that no accomplishment is too small or too not-an-accomplishment to merit recognition. You’ve managed to keep yourself alive and breathing for exactly a quarter of a century, which is no minor feat considering the amount of Nikolai vodka you drank in college. Another round of applause for the birthday guys and gals!

But as with any celebratory event, rabble-rousing inevitably gives way to sober reflection and the realization that 25 is more complicated than its perfect square configuration would suggest. Pros AND cons attend this unique birthday, and as the title of this post would suggest we’re now going to straight up talk about all of them. It goes without saying, but hold onto your butts.

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The Five People You Meet in [First Class]

March 30, 2011

Today I sit in the squalor of this bottom-rung Santa Monica apartment I share with DJ Steve, recently fired from a job BUSSING TABLES and unsure when, how, or if I will achieve those dreams of screenwriting I’ve harbored for however long.

…But a year ago I was regularly and undeservedly flying FIRST CLASS, and that seems like a better launching pad for today’s post than counting the nooks in my spackled ceiling! Tray tables up, please!

For those who haven’t experienced the ecstasy of first class flight (you simply must), here’s everything you need to know: it is EXACTLY AS PERFECT as you think it is. The booze upgrade hits you first. You can drink in coach, sure, but it’s hampered both by price and frequency of cart appearances. No such problems up front, where you’ve already paid* the open bar fee and flight attendants are less safety regulators than waiters. The nuts? They’re warm. And the space — oh, the space! The fattest among you would find absolutely no trouble even splitting one of those extra-large seats, and with another fatty to boot. You will not be discriminated against!

* Note: I did not pay for a single one of these special flights. I cannot afford shirts most of the time.

But for all the Candyland wizardry, there’s a trade-off in flying first class…and that’s dealing with the kinds of people who fly first-class. We’re not blind to the ways of the world — we know that assholes exist everywhere, and in every form. Little kids and Habitat for Humanity workers can be assholes! But it isn’t all random. Spend enough time in a particular pocket of the world and patterns of asshole-ishness begin to take shape; the Matrix starts to reveal itself. What follows is the result of six months, and 8-10 flights, researching life behind that elusive curtain: a field guide to all of your new best friends.

Barf bags available right after the jump!

Pop Culture Nostalgia: A National Concern

October 29, 2010

I’m gonna strap on this guitar here and just JAM for a second. Feel free to pick up that bass and join in!

Leafing through my “Junk” feed on Google Reader this morning, as I do every morning, I clicked on a post featuring fan-made Star Wars posters. This is pretty standard — the sites I subscribe to means new Star Wars posters pretty much every day — and in most cases, something I look forward to. The Internet has only democratized creativity, to the point where anyone, anywhere can share their work and expect some kind of feedback (even if it’s from a family member). A good thing! But then Glass-Half-Empty Henning perked up, remembered some questionable developments of the past few months, and considered the posters in another context. An ALARMING context. The bullet points came all too quickly:

– Back to the Future celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new Blu-ray release, videogame, and…Playboy spread.
– The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 35 years old, recreated for no real reason on Glee. (Editor’s note: …And it is — shockingly! — still NOT VERY GOOD.)
– The Sound of Music (45!) cast reunited on Oprah. Because that’s just something the people want? Okay.

It only gets worse after the jump!