Right out of the oven:

Former Creek County Oklahoma judge Donald Thompson released from prison after serving 20 months for ill-timed penis pumping...Family vacation comes to a hazy end after mom and dad pass out in hotel bar, leaving one, two and six year olds to fend for themselves…Are you a dog person or a cat person? Anthony Dill emphatically answered that question for a group of shocked onlookers (who just happened to be kids) while managing to incorporate urination along with a number of other visual aides…18-year-old out on drunken-early-morning-pedal-boat-joy-ride goes for broke in the “let’s try to get multiple rescue workers killed” sweepstakes…In other bizarre Canadian news this week, dust-up over tree branch leaves 76-year-old, literally, breathless…Florida doctor, Pasco County Fire Rescue go the extra mile to show why they got rejected for that guest appearance on Law & Order: SVU…And finally, Los Angeles drunk driver learns how not to ask fellow motorists for assistance after driving the wrong way in a carpool lane and flipping his car; what a night.

The "Mission Accomplished" moment of the week:

For those of you out there with short memories (e.g., the 30% of people that still think Bush knows what he’s doing), May 1 marked the 5th anniversary – let me repeat that, the 5th anniversary – of the President’s most memorable photo-op. No, not the one where he couldn’t remember the “shame on you” saying. No, no, not the one where he convinced the Chinese that he’s a complete f***ing idiot. I’m talking about the no-less-infamous one aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln where he declared victory and an end to all “major combat operations” in Iraq. If he had still been alive to see this debacle, Lincoln would most certainly never have stopped throwing up. In fact, I’ve felt like throwing up several times over the past few days watching the Bush team bob and weave like Sugar Ray Leonard around questions surrounding that fateful appearance.

Paring the issue down to its most simplistic fundamentals, just what would Bush call the last 5 years of the war if major combat operations ceased in May of 2003 and we indeed won the “Battle of Iraq” (his words, not mine)? And, what are we to term those soldiers killed since May 1, 2003 if they weren’t killed as a result of “combat operations?” Perhaps collateral damage? According to the Washington Post – whose statistics come straight from the Department of Defense just in case anyone wants to cry foul – over 4,000 troops have now been killed as of April 28th, 2008. And, even more infuriating, roughly 97% of those 4,000 fatalities came after the “end of major combat operations” according to http://www.antiwar.com/ – they get their statistics from the Department of Defense too. So, let’s do some quick math, shall we? These statistics mean that roughly 3,900 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the President told us that the war in Iraq was over. Hard to believe that we’ve lost almost 4,000 troops in the 5 years since the war ended when we only lost 100 or so when it was taking place, you know? That seems counterintuitive to me…if these last 5 years didn’t involve major combat operations and our mission was indeed “accomplished,” then how come so many soldiers have been sacrificed since?

Even more disturbing are the Iraqi civilian fatalities which, depending on who you believe, range anywhere from 30,000 (Bush’s number) to 650,000 + (Johns Hopkins School of Public Health’s number) (click on the tab entitled "Iraqi Security Force and Civilian Fatalities" at the top-right of the chart that comes up). Personally, I think the World Health Organization’s estimate is likely the most accurate considering that, unlike Bush (who stopped counting in 2005 – what a great way to keep the number down!), WHO actually went door to door and surveyed over 9,000 households in over 1,000 neighborhoods on things like how many family members got decapitated the last time insurgents came over for dinner. Call me crazy, but I think I’ll live dangerously and take WHO’s reputation over the Bush Administration’s in deciding who’s making a more honest stab at being accurate – especially since they’re still counting and all. Put it this way, if you can convince me with a straight face that only 30,000 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives since the 2003 invasion, you might want to try selling me a car. Or crack. Either way, you dazzle me; you’ve got a lifetime customer.

Oh, and by the way, if all of the above wasn’t convincing enough that major combat operations are indeed not over – we’ve spent half a trillion dollars since May 1st, 2003 according to the National Priorities Project (they get their statistics straight from Congressional Budget Office estimates). A half trillion! And for that price tag, we still can't fit our troops with the body armor they need.

Abraham Lincoln would be throwing up indeed. Everybody should be throwing up.

You should check out:

Feeling down about what you just read? Don’t fret, let Cut Copy transport you back to the late 1980’s, that not-so-refreshing time when things also sucked thanks to a man named Bush being in the White House. Pick up a copy of their phenomenal In Ghost Colours. No, they’re not actually from the late 80’s but they sure as f*** should be.

Help the Cupcake Out:

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Right out of the oven:

Agitatated neighbor and apparent John Denver-hater murders 8 guests attending ill-timed John Denver karaoke party next door, including the gunman's brother-in-law...Locomotive, tractor-trailer and police sharp shooters remind rogue cows to stay out to pasture...Mail fraud reaches new heights in under-garment fashion trends...Irritating cat-next-door leads to more irritating dope bust...In other pet news, Spuds MacKenzie ingratiates himself with new owners by mistaking mother and daughter for a 6-pack of Bud Light...Judge Judith Shriar lectures defendant on the seemingly obvious: "Regardless of what's going on in the home and background, you do not take two knives to the bedroom and stab your husband in the penis and buttocks."... And finally, San Diego police think the skull found behind area hot dog stand might be related to the skull-less skeleton found on the other side of town last week. I think I'd take that bet.

Bonus material:
The Cupcake recently took a trip to NYC. L. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated referenced the article I wrote about it here (scroll down about half-way for the bullet and link)

Juno what? Juno sucked.

I finally got around to seeing Juno last week. You know Juno. It’s the film about the pregnant teen and her Superbad boyfriend with sharp dialogue and a killer soundtrack shepherded by stripper-cum-Oscar-winning-
screenwriter Diablo Cody. A surefire recipe for “indie” brilliance one would assume. Hmmm…seems a funny thing is happening to “indie” cinema – it’s starting to get awfully predictable and formulaic. The problem is not what’s wrong with Juno, it’s what’s right with it.

Even Tarantino has rarely written more finely crafted dialogue than the dialgoue you'll find in Cody's Juno – it’s just that gangsters are usually the ones saying it in his films, not annoying teenagers who apparently face no parental consequences for committing the ultimate teenage unforced error. Let’s put it this way, if all American 16 year olds are this sharp and acerbic, we’re gonna be outsourcing jobs in the State Department to India 20 years from now cuz no one else on the planet will be able to stand us.

Juno also has all the casting staples to satisfy the "indie" palate; you have the formerly-laughable-but-now-accepted-has-been (Jason Bateman), the currently-laughable-but-desparately-seeking-street-cred-wannabe (Jennifer Garner – who, in her defense, is very good in this film), the talented secondary actors whose names are not, and likely never will be, house-hold names (J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney), the standard flavor-of-the-month (Michael Cera) and, of course, the discovery-that-has-since-gone-mega (Ellen Page). Considering every other indie film on the planet has been following this formula since the quasi-indie progenitor Easy Rider, perhaps a rethink is in order. By virtue of adering so strictly to this formula, the narrative played out rather predictably.

And then you have the pregnancy thing…“indie” has started trending toward socially-blind and feel-good as opposed to socially-conscious. Films like Drugstore Cowboy and Requiem for a Dream were difficult to watch and tackled issues the major studios wouldn’t dare go after. Juno would have been great if actually having an abortion had been addressed (you know folks, that happens too). That decision was glossed over as a mere inconvenience and treated a woman’s right to choose with Mel Brooksian tact through its portrayal of the “neighborhood” abortion clinic. I wanted to throw up. If right-wing fundamentalist Christians have infiltrated American cinema, this is surely their Plymouth Rock. Put it this way, most everyone in Germany circa 1939, excepting the Jews of course, thought Joseph Goebbels’ inlfuence on culture was all shits and giggles too until the Allies discovered Auschwitz.

To its credit, Juno offers a magnificent soundtrack and the cinematography is truly beautiful. Its willingness to sell-out, however, supersedes these two achievements. Its hip-quotient prevents Juno from getting out of its own way and is, simply put, trying too hard to be indie. You can’t be lo-fi, it just happens. And therein lays the problem with Juno; it came off as a studio-film in indie clothing.

I understand Diablo Cody’s working with Steven Spielberg these days. What a surprise.

You should check out:

Rambo & Leroy – Last One Standing; The last band to open for a fully-functional New Order. If I need to say anymore, don’t waste your time.

Air Traffic – Fractured Life; The Cupcake was lucky enough to review this album for Astralwerks Records here. Lower-grade Coldplay. Below-average Athlete. Still some good tracks here…