Blurred Lines

Emily Ratajkowski (naked) and Robin Thicke (clothed)
in “Blurred Lines”

Musician Robin Thicke. I went out to dine with two male acquaintances of mine when the conversation ultimately came around to Mr. Thicke's summer smash Blurred Lines. It's a pleasant (if somewhat banal) little ditty but the reason three wheezing middle-aged dudes were familiar with it was because of its music video, which features Mr. Thicke and his male colleagues glumly standing about in suits against a white background while three shockingly scantily-clad women (including one – a model named Emily Ratajkowski – who we all agreed that we would spend 48 hours buried to our neck in a septic tank just for twenty minutes alone with one of her recently-worn g-strings) dance feebly around them as inane hash tags of Mr. Thicke's name flash across the screen. But it wasn't the MTV version that got us to obsessively yammer about the video; it was the "unrated"rendering of the thing in which the women are clad only in flesh-colored panties and nothing else (I cannot embed the video on this page since this is a family website but just to keep all you idiots from frantically going over to Google to look for it, you can see it here). I have mixed feelings about the expilicit display since its exploitation of the female body and blatant sexism (brazen even by the historically degrading standards of the medium) make me feel downright sleazy when I watch it. On the other hand, I have experienced this sleaziness approximately 600 times after having gawked at the video over and over and over. I'm much more comfortable with this parody version by comedian Bart Baker, which calls out Mr. Thicke for being the douchebag that he is. If only the chicks in it were naked, it would be perfect.

Rick Simone thinking of me
Speaking of videos, my college chum Rick Simone. Mr. Simone posted a video on my Facebook wall of a pug "having an emotional reaction to the end of the film Homeward Bound with the heartfelt caption "Made me think of you....." It might have been my warmest and fuzziest moment of the week were it not for the fact that no less than a dozen people had already thought of me when viewing the goddamned video and posted it on my Facebook wall. I don't blame Mr. Simone; since my beloved pug Winston came into my life, the bandwidth allotted to me on the social network has been violated by endless videos, photographs, illustrations sound bytes and cave drawings of the pug population of North America. The problem with that is that there is a finite amount of material on pugs in existence which means that I have already seen everything ever generated on the beasts and am still subjected to an avalanche of repeats. As much as I love Winston, I wish that my Facebook followers would identify me with another of my unique traits, like one of my numerous sexual kinks and fetishes. Then they could go nuts paying tribute to me by posting videos on my walls and I could save thousands of dollars in monthly fees from having to join costly membership porn sites.

Another college chum of mine, Wade Sheeler. Mr. Sheeler served as one of the producers on the web series Top Chef's Last Chance Kitchen, which won an Emmy from The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Interactive Media Peer Group in the field of Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media - Multiplatform Storytelling. Apparently as Top Chef competitors were eliminated, they got a second chance to battle that week's winner on this digital series where (if they won), they were back in consideration for the show's finale. Since the cooking show is also a nominee for the Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, I know exactly what's going on. Mr. Sheeler and his collaborators on the cooking show are so hungry for Emmy gold that they keep extending the reach of the program into new media so they'll be eligible for awards from the ever-growing branches of the Academy. If the competitors on the web series crap out, they'll move on to the PC game. Losers on that will appear on the Facebook App Top Chef Crush Saga in which all of your Facebook friends will annoy you by posting statuses of how they're doing on your newsfeed and inviting you to join. Losers on that will get another chance at life in the Top Chef board game. All of these versions of Top Chef make Mr. Sheeler & Company eligible for Emmy in the hundreds of categories the Academy honors. By the end, the competing chefs will be whipping out Big Macs, but that only means that the producers will be eligible for the Emmy for Best Commercial. Everybody wins.

Ned and Homer: The True Story

The Simpsons. I was desperate for something to distract me from the misery that is my life this week, so to kill a few moments I made a Facebook "cover image" (the banner at the top of your Facebook profile page) of myself and some acquaintances of mine in the style of the long-running Fox cartoon sitting around Moe's bar. Surrounding me in the photo were Enemies List favorite Mara Marini (in my ongoing campaign to suck up to her) and my college buddies Ja'Son Fogelson and James "Tree" Cleveland, along with the show's classic characters Homer Simpsons, Jeff Albertson (aka Comic Book Guy), and bartender Moe Syzlak. I thought it was kind of cute but Mr. Fogelson took exception to his caricature, feeling that I had rendered him too slovenly. I had to point out that on The Simpsons, virtually everyone is slovenly - until they take their shirts off. Consider the fore-mentioned Mr. Simpson and his Bible-thumping neighbor Ned Flanders. Homer is a gourmand of legendary renown, weighing in at at least 300 lbs. Mr. Flanders, by contract, has the chiseled physique of a bodybuilder. But when they are depicted together in their street clothes, they both look like big fat slobs. And that is true of all the male characters on the show – you never know what kind of shape they're in until they're in their skivvies. So I advise Mr. Fogelson not to worry about his depiction on my cover image. It's likely that when he peels off that Harley Davidson shirt he'll be sporting the physique of a Greek god. He just needs to remember to lay off the donuts.

The legendary Paul Bunyan and the non-legendary Elmore Leonard
The word "legendary." Writer Elmore Leonard passed away this week, a scribe whose name is familiar to me because the movies Get Shorty and Jackie Brown were apparently based on novels that he wrote. I say "apparently" because I have never read a word written by Mr. Leonard so I have to take on faith the glowing two-sentence tributes posted on the social network by my Facebook friends about what a brilliant writer he was, even though I have never seen any of them actually reading anything that didn't include illustrations of Superman doing battle with Lex Luthor. But it isn't Mr. Leonard that I take to task with this listing. It was the online obituary that I learned about his death from, which included the headline "Legendary Writer Elmore Leonard Dies." I have no reason to believe that Mr. Leonard wasn't a gifted writer but no one should be referred to as "legendary" unless he's spent his life traveling across North America planting apple seeds or chopping down the Great Redwoods of the Pacific Northwest with the help of his blue ox Babe. The definition of "legendary" is "celebrated or described in legend: a legendary hero." And a "legend" is "a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical." Yet it has become a cliché to describe every old codger of moderate accomplishment in his field as "legendary." So do me a favor: when I ultimately kick off, please don't tag me with the word "legendary." Unless you're talking about the time I picked up a prostitute is Las Vegas and I so rocked her sexual world that she wound up paying me. Nobody ever believes me when I tell that story but I'm going to keep repeating it until it goes down in legend.