Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DJ Pauly D Does Me a Solid

Serendipitous timing that I just reported on my two year progress days ago, pointing out that in that time the blog had received about 25,000 visitors total. As of yesterday morning that total had, predictably, changed little.

I looked at my Analytics just now and saw that yesterday I had over 9,000 hits. Hmm, I thought to myself, this is the first time I've ever seen Google malfunction. What's the world (wide web) coming to?

But it was no malfunction. It took a little detective work to figure out the catalyst since the traffic seemed to surge from several sources... but much of it came from Facebook. A little more digging and behold: Pauly D shared the link to his Lifetime Achievement Award on his Facebook page.

[cue chorus of angels]

Just the nod alone would have been enough to rock my world. But 9,000 hits? And as if that wasn't enough of a bonus, Pauly boosted my Google cred big time.  Previously whenever I googled "jersey shore quotes" I was anywhere from number 8 to number 14 on the list. Now I'm number one.

You heard that correctly. For the moment, according to Google, Ink and Beans is THE authority on quotes from the Jersey Shore.

DJ Pauly D, I don't know about the effect your beats have on other guys' girlfriends, but you just made me c** in my pants.

Addendum: It's two days later and all is back to normal, both in terms of my traffic and Google rankings. But still, that was fun.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rejection Road: First MFA Responses

Got my first two responses from MFA programs - a rejection from top choice Austin on Friday, and another from the University of Wisconsin the Friday before that. Even though I have seven more applications pending, I am predictably more nervous now about my prospects of getting into any program at all. Just gimme one in the bag so I can calm the F down!

At the very least it has spurred me to begin formulating -- if only for the psychological benefit -- a Plan B that I can live with, in case I get into none of these programs.

One detail included in the note from Wisconsin that surprised me that was surprising is that they received over 600 applications, for six spots!  Less than a 1 percent acceptance rate. Wisconsin's MFA program is unusual in that it only accepts applications for fiction every other year, but I wonder how much this reflects the economy. Did the recession inspire everyone to become a writer?

These responses from schools arrived much earlier than I anticipated. Some how I got it in my head that answers would come starting mid-March and through mid-April. But Seth Abramson's generous application response time database -- which helps one estimate when they'll hear from various MFA programs based on their response times from last few years -- tells me that I am actually more likely to get most of my responses between now and mid-March.

It seems Indiana University is already making acceptance phone calls, but according to the discussions raging over at the MFA Blog (over 4,000 comments in the last two weeks!) Indiana hasn't finished their selection process either.

I may very well hear from UMass-Amherst and Michigan this week. Brown and UC-Irvine in mid-March. UVA will probably come last in late March.  And Florida's past response times were all over the place, so who knows?


Best Quotes from MTV's Jersey Shore - Episode 2

Episode 1 quotes
Episode 2 quotes
Episode 3 quotes
Episode 4 quotes
Episode 5 quotes
Episode 6 quotes
Episode 7 quotes
Episode 8 quotes
Episode 9 quotes

I'm finally caught up, and what a treat it was viewing this episode again with a full season perspective.

The Situation continues to court Sam the "Sweetheart," who is completely tickled by all the attention until her fall from grace and reemergence as Darth Sammi. Was the Situation guilty of brazen cockiness in the matter of Sammi?  Obviously.  But her coldness is still hard to believe -- making out with Situation at the club and then minutes later making out with Ronnie. When the Situation sees this and grows angry she is utterly unapologetic, deriding the guy for even thinking she was ever interested at all. Angelina, who until her premature departure was the show's moral compass, decides she wants to push him off his high horse too, and makes his night even worse by chasing a few consolation girls off the roof.

Speaking of Angelina, the Forgotten Bitch, she certainly gives Sammi a run for her money, though to her credit Angelina makes no claims of "sweetness."  She has a fun night at the club which she cannot recall the next morning, and worries she's cheated on her boyfriend. She calls him in a panic and is angered when he says he's in a meeting and must call her back. She dials him repeatedly, spitefully, offended he won't take her call and assuage her guilt and anxiety immediately.

Snooki struggles to repair her reputation in the house after her wild first night, and gets a pep talk of sorts from Sammi.  Vinny gets pink eye the morning of his first day of work at the t-shirt shop. Ronnie has a theory how it happened. Jwoww gets a taste of Pauly D despite her boyfriend back home. And Pauly D throws the first punch of the show (which I'd totally forgotten). Lots of action.


Best Quotes

7. "Me and my friend Robbie wanted to watch the sun set... no, the sun RISE." – Snooki

6. "I don't give a fuck if you're fat, you're ugly, you're forty-five years old, I'll dance with you." – Vinny

5. "I'm a cock block. Mm-hmm." – Angelina

4. "Time to get some Ron-Ron juice in my system." – Ronnie

3. "I just saw your penis." – Jwoww (to Pauly D)

2. "They don't call me Sammi Sweetheart for nothing." – Sammi

1. "In a weird Snookers world, like, me and Snookers would make like the best little guidos and guidettes… little poofs and blowouts on our little kids." – Pauly D


Honorable Mentions

"The party's in Pauly D’s pants tonight." – Pauly D

"I left the club early because I didn't want to cheat on my boyfriend... and, I felt like eating ham and drinking water." – JWoww

"Look at me. I'm all fucking natural baby, and I'm hot." – Angelina

"I hit him right in the nose. That's the best spot to hit someone. Only takes nine pounds of pressure to break a nose." – Pauly D

"Holy shit. That's like a whole drama situation right there." – Pauly D (referring to Sammi's switch from Situation to Ronnie)

"Don't let the spiked hair fool you. Like, I'm not a bitch." – Pauly D

"This is what you get for putting a fat girl's ass in your face." - Ronnie (to Vinny when he reveals he has pink eye)

"You figure diving through the fat chick's legs maybe she let something out when he was sliding through and particles got in his eyes or something." – Ronnie (referring to Vinny's pink-eye)

"She didn't sell anything, so Danny put her on, like, hangers duty." – Pauly D (referring to Angelina's poor salesmanship)

"I am the fucking princess of fucking Poughkeepsie." – Snooki

"I just feel like I'm not, like, mature enough to be on my own right now." - Snooki

"I just want to have a good time. I'm an amazing-ass, gorgeous, tan guidette." – Snooki

"My ideal man would be Italian, dark, muscles, juicehead, guido... if I found that guy I would snatch him like that." – Snooki

"There's not really much between her ass and the guy-she's-grinding-on's..." – Vinny (referring to Angelina)

"She wants to have fun AND she wants to have a boyfriend. Like I want to have my cake and eat it too. And like I'll play that game. I'll be that guy. I don't care." – Pauly D (about JWoww)

"It was like a Johnnie, or like a Donnie." - Sammi (trying to help Angelina remember who she left the club with)

"I think I might have my hands in your Kool-aid tonight brother." - Ronnie (to Situation, joking that he might move in on Sammi)

"She has a boyfriend at home, but I predict her not having that boyfriend anymore." - Pauly D (about JWoww)


Lifetime Achievement Award

And thus begins the Situation's Auerbach-like dominance of the Lifetime title.

"So I guess you're a negative three, eh?" – The Situation (to Angelina, when she tells him that every girl he brings home is a "zero")

"As far as I know everyone loves the Situation. And if you don't love the Situation. I'm going to make you love the Situation." – The Situation

"Even though I am a little bit of a player... at the same time she does see that I'm a sweetheart and maybe that, you know, we could vibe enough for, you know, I can cut that out." – The Situation

"If you want to look like someone like the Situation - which is definitely going to be pretty hard – ah, you need to get that protein in your diet." – The Situation

"I could sell t-shirts standing still. As a matter of fact, I just sold one, right now." – The Situation (during interview)

"You like the Situation now? Me too." – The Situation (to Danny, his boss)

"Everybody loves me. Babies, dogs, you know, hot girls... cougars." – The Situation

"I just have unbelievable mass appeal." – The Situation

"Me and Sam were vibin'. It's not a matter of 'if,' it’s a matter of when I decide." – The Situation

"Ronnie, he's not an ugly dude by any means. I’m not a hater at all. It's just sometimes you got it, you got the lingo, you can talk to girls, and sometimes you ain't got it." – The Situation

"It should be very interesting tonight, considering Sam is in love with me and Ronnie is also in love with me probably too because, you know, he wishes he had what I had." – The Situation

"What is going on right now???" – The Situation (when he witnesses Sammi making out with Ronnie)

"Snap. Yeah. That’s what happens." – The Situation (referring to Pauly D’s right cross)

"You're attracted to other people whether you have a boyfriend or not. Okay? You add a little bit of liquor in that and, wow, what's up, you just cheated on your boyfriend." – The Situation (referring to Angelina)


Royal Bitch Tiara

This new award goes to Sammi, for obvious reasons, but also Angelina, for her seemingly arbitrary decision to further ruin the Situation's night by verbally bashing him and the girls he's hitting on upstairs.

"There's nothing wrong with what I'm doing. Like if a girl's a slut, she should be abused." – Angelina

"I don't know why he thinks I like him like that. Like, I don't want nothing to do with you Mike. Honestly? Like, yeah I hooked up with you, but I went to Ronnie." - Sammi

"Mike I love you because you're my friend for a long time [read: less than a week] but I'm like really not having respect for you anymore." - Angelina

"Like, Mike, you turned into like a total bitch. Like you were jealous, throwing me middle fingers like we were something. We were nothing." - Sammi


Worst Exchange

Ronnie: "You crushed him tonight. Do you realize that?"

Sammi: "I was never his thing."

Ronnie: "You crushed his life, like, he doesn’t know what to do with himself right now. He's hating life."

[both laugh maliciously]

Ronnie: "You hooked up with him?"

Sammi: "No."

Ronnie: "Heh heh heh, it’s what he keeps saying."


Best Exchange

Second Place

In retrospect these dialogues are both hilarious and heart-wrenching.  Ronnie is unabashedly sleazy before Sammi gets her hooks in, and the Situation, claiming he's unconcerned, still cunningly puts out feelers to see whether he's got competition.

Ronnie: "I kinda can't wait to get out. I'm going to get so much ***."

Situation: "You had your chance last night."

Ronnie: "If I was just going to get sloppy I should have just pounded out what's her name on Friday."

Situation: "Which one?"

Ronnie: "I mean on the first night. Schnickers."

Situation: "I just think you like Sam. Not necessarily like her. Maybe want to hook up with her..."

Ronnie: "I'd pound out Sam."


First Place

Again the Situation is digging, even tries a little preemptive sabotage, and is... less than successful.

Situation: "What do you think of Ronnie?"

Sammi: "I like him."

Situation: "He's like, raw."

Sammi: "You think he’s raw?"

Situation: "Like he says some..."

Sammi: "Yeah..."

Situation: "...some like, crazy shit."

Sammi: "He’s badass, a little bit. Like he doesn’t care what he’s gonna say."

Situation: "He just says like some like… I want to pound out every girl in Seaside... -type stuff, that's how he is... he just talks shit."

Sammi: "I think he's funny."

Situation: "I will admit that he says it in like a funny way."


Dalai Lama Humility Award (note: Award is bestowed for shunning purposes only)

"I'm not a strong person, like, I look." – Snooki


Famous Last Words Award

"I was like, do I have a little competition I was thinking, with Ronnie, but then I was like... nah, I don't, ah heh." - The Situation


Lord Byron Award for Romantic Verse

"I'm not kissing you because you have throw-up breath." - Snooki (bidding good night to boy from club)


WTF Award

"I want to bring home guys and it's hard. It shouldn't be hard but it is hard because it's the Jersey Shore. You know?" – Snooki


Jersey Pride Award

"When I think of the Jersey Shore I think of a playground, like, this place, this is not a place that you come to work." – Angelina


Staggering Ambition Award

"I feel like this job is beneath me. I'm a bartender. I do, like, you know, great things." – Angelina


Amnesty International Compassion Award

Loses something without the sentimental piano chiming in at "whole other person" but still touching.

"Did I not like you the first night? I'm gonna tell you honestly. No. I did not like you. I'm like, is she that sloppy girl? The next day when I was like don't get your throw-up breath on me, cause I was like so eww about the first night, but that's just me, like I get like that, like I don't like girls that got like problems like that. I throughout the day like saw a whole other person and you made me change and realize, I don't know this person I'm not gonna judge her." – Sammi (convincing Snooki to stay)


*All photos courtesy of mtv.com.

Best Quotes from MTV's Jersey Shore - Season Finale

Episode 1 quotes
Episode 2 quotes
Episode 3 quotes
Episode 4 quotes
Episode 5 quotes
Episode 6 quotes
Episode 7 quotes
Episode 8 quotes
Episode 9 quotes

"May the Shore rise to meet you, may the Grenade always be at your back, may the tanning bed shine warm upon your face..."

And so we bid farewell to Jersey Shore, though apparently not for long.  The credits for the final episode barely began to roll before a tidal wave of supplemental Jersey Shore content -- from reunions, to spoofs, to cast-member commentary on spoofs, to guest appearances -- swept over MTV, late night TV, and the Web.  As early as two weeks before the finale, it was leaked that negotiations for a second season were already underway. One week after the show wrapped up, MTV announced that Season 2 was a go for launch.

But back to the Season at hand.  The finale was perhaps the tamest of all the episodes, and certainly the most sentimental. To me it went down like a flat beer -- but not so flat that I'd prefer to have no beer at all.

Arrested after having knocked out a loud-mouthed thug (where last week's episode ended) Ronnie spends the night in jail.  Sammi picks him up the next morning, brings him to bed, and sweetly whips him into ever deeper submission by pointing out there were two victims of his assault, not one (see below for quote about sleeping alone).

The gang hits the beach for the second time in their 30-day stay at the Shore. JWoww and Snooki hunt for juice-heads, while the Situation hits on a nymph of questionable legality.

The remainder of the show observes the group as they convene a circle of reflection that migrates from a barbecue on the deck to an unidentified lounge to the rooftop patio, infusing as much significance as possible into their month-long odyssey.  Snook and Sitch take their last late night dip in the jacuzzi.  Her top comes off.  They make out.

The final morning bags are packed, there are hugs all around and more warm fuzziness.  The housemates leave one by one until only Snooki is left to close up shop.


Best Quotes

5. "I don't know if I can last five hours with you in the car." - Vinny (to Situation when he suggests they car pool to visit Pauly D in Rhode Island)

4. "Then I end up spending the night in county for, ah - not even a night, a few hours in county - for, for, overreacting, I guess, like a degenerate that I'm not." - Ronnie

3.  "Fuck my life." - Snooki (at the end of her solo dance party on the boardwalk)

2. "I had like the best summer of my life. Girls on the rides, girls on the beach, girls in the house, the hot tub... girls after girls after girls. That's an ideal summer for anybody." - Pauly D

1.  "Yo, it's gorilla central out there. Get the fuck up." - JWoww (to Snooki, who's lying in bed)


Honorable Mentions

"Give me a call back tomorrow when you get this -- or I'll give you a call like a stalker." - Snooki (to Irish Cowboy's voicemail)

"I see a bunch of gorilla juiceheads. Tall, completely jacked, steroids, like multiple growth hormones. That's like, the type that I'm attracted to." - JWoww

"I don't see any fucking guido juicehead. You woke me up for nothing." - Snooki

"Where's the juiceheads?" - Snooki (repeatedly while walking down the beach)

"Even though we fight, and we hate each other at times, you know, when it comes down to it we really love each other." - Snooki

"Those were the best fights in the house... until AC." - Pauly D (meaning that the frequent spats between Angelina and The Situation were upstaged by JWoww delivering a spinning, backhand slap to The Situation in an AC hotel room)

"This was a life changing experience whether you like it or not." - Pauly D

"Bye make-out friend." - JWoww (to Pauly D as she's leaving)

"Goodbye everyone!" - Snooki (to empty house)

"I really think I made that house, honestly." - Snooki

"I'm just like, all right, this is it. Like, you know, like I had a summer with seven strangers and they all became my friends, you know. So that's pretty cool." - Ronnie

"The Jersey Shore changed me. Whaddaya know." - Snooki


Lifetime Achievement Award

No surprises here. To our reigning champion.

"The dude was face down though. I'm sure you had a better sleep than he did." - The Situation (to Ronnie when he says he's tired, referring to kid Ronnie cold-clocked night before)

"Hey what's up Cassandra. It's ah, Mike. Um, I was wondering if you could actually bring out your, you know, one of your, your actually ah, third friend... a ah, total of three.. it would be me, you, your two girlfriends, aaaaand my two roommates." - The Situation (leaving a voicemail)

"If you live on the beach you should be going on the beach a lot. I kinda realized that the last couple days, I'm like, fuck, it's nice as hell out." - The Situation

"Eventually I make my way over to some cute girls and do what I do best. And that's pimpin'." - The Situation (at the beach) 

"It's bros night tonight at Captain Hook's. It's got like ah, some air hockey games, some basketball games. It's sort of like a Chuck E. Cheese... for dudes." - The Situation

"I laugh it off because nothing really bothers me. I mean, what that means to me, is that I'm on your mind twenty-four/seven." - The Situation (referring to bulldog Vinny hung up in the living room with a t-shirt that reads "The Situation's # 1 Girl")

"I mean she was totally butt naked here and there and I-I-I didn't wanna... you know what I'm saying?" - The Situation (referring to himself and Snooki in the hottub)

"This whole summer has been pretty wild, pretty crazy. Lots of fights. Lots of hookups. Lots of drama." - The Situation 

"Maybe we should get a shore house next summer." - The Situation

"You know, I ran the house from start to finish, whether people liked it or not." - The Situation

"It is un-describable the time that I had here. I had a ball, okay. You know I ran this house. We call it Sitch's house." - The Situation

"I was king of the castle right there. That's how it gets done. That's how it gets done." - The Situation


Pythagoras Award in Profundity

The last episode was bound to inspire deep reflection and profound musings galore, so there was a lot of competition for the Pythagoras honor this week.  But in the end it went to the person who more or less nominated himself, and justifiably so.


"This bond that we share brings us together, and no one can ever take that away from us ever, we take that with us for life, that bond." [long, self-reflective pause] "That was deep. That was fucking deep." - Pauly D


Amnesty International Award for Compassion

"I regret that I got caught. I don't regret that I hit the kid." - Ronnie


Meryl Streep Award for Best Performance in a Dramatic Series

Goes to Sammi, twice over, determined as she was not to let her own agony go unrecognized just because Ronnie has to spend the night in jail and some other guy has a grade three concussion.

"Like, why? I don't get it. Like, why?" - Sammi (lamenting Ronnie's arrest)

"Don't do that to me again... It was the first night I slept alone." - Sammi (to Ronnie once they're alone in bed)


Best Exchange

Third Place

Situation: "If you're hungry try a Snickers?"

Snooki: "Yeah, try me."


Second Place

Vinny: "If Pauly ain't gettin' a date, I don't feel bad, because he's like ridiculously, ridiculously good looking."

Pauly D: "You got such good taste in men."


First Place

Snooki: "Should I call 9-1-1?"

Sammi: "Don't call 9-1-1. I think that's emergency."


Lord Byron Award for Romantic Verse

"I was thinking about maybe getting down with Snooks real quick. But then I was like, you know what, it's like almost like my little sister and um... you don't do that." - The Situation


Jersey Pride Award

"Down here at the Shore, one minute you got three girls in the jacuzzi, the next minute somebody's in jail and you have to bail them out. That's what happens down at the Shore." - The Situation


Famous Last Words Award

"The Snooks is out." - Snooki (as she pulls away in her car, last to leave the Jersey Shore house)


*All photos courtesy of mtv.com.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Terrible Two's - Happy Birthday Ink and Beans

Two years ago today I wrote my first post for this blog. This will be post # 96, and should bring me to roughly 48,700 words total.

As of today Ink and Beans has received 24,230 visits, with average time on site being 1 minute and 12 seconds, or a total of about 485 reading hours.

Visits have come from 66 countries (I'm only including those that stayed on the site for longer than 00:00). By the way, a lotta love coming from Uruguay, Armenia, the Netherlands -- you are my new favorite foreign countries.

Not sure what any of this means, but it's sure cool to think about.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Salinger the Ingrate?

If I'm claiming this is a literary blog then it would probably be remiss of me not to address J.D. Salinger's recent passing. I let David Foster Wallace's death last year come and go without a peep, though that was easier to justify -- I have only read one essay of Wallace's, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but to a slow and tormented reader such as myself his flagship novel Infinite Jest is too thick, scattered and daunting to merit more than forty minutes of my attention and suppressed judgment (which is what I gave it) much less the year-or-more commitment it would take to actually finish the damn thing. Sorry David.

But Catcher in the Rye did make something of an impact at the time I read it, around my sophomore or junior year in high school. Up to that point it was only the second classic I'd ever read that I didn't hate (Lord of the Flies was the first), and if I'd previously identified with a literary character as strongly as I did with Holden Caufield, I can't remember who it was.

I don't recall the specifics of my reaction at the time, but I know I wasn't swept up to the degree that many of his devotees were. Even so, at the time I was reading Michael Crichton and Stephen King almost exclusively, and I have to imagine that Catcher opened my eyes to some of the other magical feats great literature can accomplish besides unraveling an intricate, thrilling tale. Great fiction can bring characters like Holden Caufield to such vivid life, make them so identifiable in their quirks and vulnerabilities, that they seem more human than most of the humans you know in real life.

For helping me finally scratch the surface of literary fiction, J.D., you have my gratitude.

There are obviously thousands of pieces being posted about the man right now, but this article from Slate was an interesting read, and uniquely personal. If Jerome David Salinger the reclusive author of Catcher is the story behind the story, then perhaps this might be called the (or a) story orbiting the story behind the story.

"Dear Jerry, You Old Bastard: My adventures answering J.D. Salinger's mail."

Rakoff is (or was at the time) decidedly not among Salinger's devoted fans who, for all of their interesting stories, could more accurately be described as orbiting Catcher more than they orbited Salinger, because answering his fan mail is as close as anyone got to the author unless you were his agent, editor, one of his young wives or his gardener.

Like most, I too am fascinated by Salinger's secluded lifestyle. It strikes me as antithetic to one of the essential forces that drive me to write in the first place. Art is expression, and expression implies there is some point (or intended point) of reception for that which is expressed, or else what is there to make the expression, the art, more than just some arbitrary behavior?

Art is about connection. Granted, the connection could be spiritual -- the artist might be connecting to something otherworldly, a higher power, or even some other aspect of the self, as of some kind of feedback loop. Consider the musician, for instance, who only plays privately, only "for myself."

I get that. Even with my own writing, I do experience that spiritual connection to some degree.  But I also wish, I yearn, for my expression to resonate with others. I want my work to inspire. Moreover, though it may be a sign of inhibiting insecurity, I want evidence that I'm inspiring people. In short, I thrive on praise, sincere and heartfelt praise. It validates. "Validation," it seems to me, is a word that has become inextricably associated with "insecurity," but really, why shouldn't an artist require some validation? What's wrong with getting a little, natural encouragement to keep doing this thing that, though you may love to do it, pays little, is mentally and emotionally exhausting and frequently disheartening? In my life, I swear to you, I know of no greater reward than impassioned, positive feedback from someone who is moved by my work.

My point is, how was Salinger able to shun so absolutely the effusive praise he earned? As Rakoff observes, based on the fan mail she read, we're not talking here about some superficial and transient infatuation -- these are not teeny-boppers salivating over the next in a series of boy bands. These notes were as thoughtful, personal, and carefully crafted as one could hope for. To me, such letters would be worth a thousand times their weight in hundred dollar bills. Of course, too much of any good thing can get tiresome and even overwhelming, but to refuse, for decades, a single piece of fan mail??? Was there never a day he felt down on himself, enough that he might have been compelled to contact his publisher and say, "I need a pick-me-up. Send me the best three you got." Who was this man? And -- if not for the audience that connected so deeply with him -- who was he writing for?

There's always the chance this was merely marketing savvy on his part, something like "scroll appeal" to the highest degree. His seclusion surely increased his fame and impact.  But I doubt that was his motivation, even though it probably motivated his publisher to support and even encourage his isolation.

I'm sure that deep down he had legitimate, if perhaps misguided, reasons that he needed to remove himself in this way, and that it had little to do with any lack of gratitude (I hope not). But it remains a dark mystery to me. I bet that if I were to pick up and read Catcher in the Rye right now I would still identify strongly with Mr. Caufield. But I can't say I identify much with Mr. Salinger, what select details I know of him.

I'll never forget attending a reading and book signing with Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk years ago, and the sheer joy in his face at being able to talk with, and read to, his fans. This was a man who had a dark side, but here in this red velvet Depression-era movie theater, among two hundred excited readers and writing aspirants, ranging from teenage to middle-age, and from clean cut and prim to bodies covered in tats and piercings, Chuck was home. He was happy. That joy in that face gave me the courage to write at a time I desperately needed it. I wanted what he had, and now I knew it was possible.

Substitute for that formative moment an encounter with Salinger, one that offers me a directly intimate view of this isolated, searching and (it seems to me) discontented man, I suspect I might not have any blog or novel to speak of.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Best Quotes from MTV's Jersey Shore - Episode 8

Episode 1 quotes
Episode 2 quotes
Episode 3 quotes
Episode 4 quotes
Episode 5 quotes
Episode 6 quotes
Episode 7 quotes
Episode 8 quotes
Episode 9 quotes

The Situation is still on the defensive this week.  Not long after making up with JWoww, he finds himself fending off attacks from Vinny and Ronnie.  But this time he gets mischievous instead of mean, first placing pickles around Snooki's room as she sleeps, then inventing the noxious cocktail "Hate-orade" which he slides Mission: Impossible-style under Vinny's bed.

Danielle the Israeli, who Pauly took a brief interest in last episode (until she dropped the no-sex-till-marriage bomb) transforms into Danielle the Stalker this week, appearing like the Cheshire Cat all over the boardwalk as he tries to hit on other women -- even going as far as to interrupt his creeping by giving him the gift of a custom-made "I heart Jewish girls" tee shirt -- the heart, of course, being a Star of David superimposed over an Italian flag.  Later that night, a sympathetic Vinny makes an embarrassingly pathetic attempt to help Pauly deal with this adoring fan.

The episode wraps up with the second (and far briefer) of Ronnie's two big fights on the show.  This time he cold-clocks one of several drunk, camera-hungry rowdies who begin taunting the cast as they leave a club.  It seems their invasive presence at the Jersey Shore has been stoking flames of ire among the natives.  Which is understandable.  These chumps don't represent Seaside.  They're not really from Seaside, are they Seasiders?

NEWSFLASH: Neither are you. Only about twenty people are.  For all but three months of the year Seaside Heights is a ghost town -- I witnessed this first-hand in high school, when I made a trip down there in March to secure a house for Senior Week after the prom (yeah, that's right).  Except for a few establishments, open but dead as churches inside, the town was completely deserted.  Pretty fucking creepy, like Kevin Smith meets Stephen King.

My point is no one has any territorial claim on this place. And to imply, by demanding that these infidels "Go back to..." wherever, that you somehow represent this carnival of visiting mutants and misfits in a way that the cast of Jersey Shore does not is... well, how exactly??? Do you chug beers differently? Hook up with chicks differently? Start fights differently? Speak a distinct meathead dialect? Please, describe the essence of Seaside, the essence of you, that these wannabes from Long Island and Rhode Island and the Bronx could never possibly aspire to.  Tell me, and tell them, why only guidos from East Orange and Newark, and better yet Paramus and Livingston and various other mall-centered suburbs are worthy to partake of fruits like Karma and Beachcomber and Frog Bog and Balloon Darts and ski ball and Pac-Man and cheesesteaks and and Tilt-a-Whirl and mini-golf? Please, show me what makes you a for-real Seaside kid.

How about a little gratitude to MTV for expressing interest in our twisted little corner of the country, eh?  You should be kissing Snooki's bronzed ass for putting Seaside on the map. Then like me, you could embrace a show like this, brag to others that yes, you did ride that chair lift. You did swim in that grayish water before it was cool. You did watch the boardwalk roaming freakshow evolve from glam to ghetto to guido and it's so awesome that this place is finally being realized for the fun little petri dish that it is.

Sorry, but brainless belligerence draws out the deepest malice in me, and territorial belligerence and violence is the worst kind, because it's the most arbitrary. At least if this were a gang war in the ghetto I could see how guarding territory (tragically) could be considered a gesture of commanding respect, demonstrating power and solidarty etc.

But you're just a New Jersey moron, swimming among many morons.  In a cheap resort community. You hate that your life has no purpose, and pretending you're tough in front of MTV is literally the best you can do. Grow up Homes. You're not interesting enough to be on TV. Not even MTV.  You are no Situation.

My point is -- and I realize this brings me down closer to his level -- seeing that dipshit laid out like a sack of tomatoes was immensely gratifying. Thanks Ronnie.


Ahem.

Best Quotes

4. "That's one shot. That's one shot kid. That's one shot." - Ronnie (galloping away from a one-punch knockout)

3. "She's stalking his whole life." - Vinny (referring to Danielle the Stalker)

2. "You were stalking my whole life." - Pauly D (talking to Danielle the Stalker)

1. "My boobs are so tight I can't breathe. Is that normal?" - Snooki


Honorable Mentions

"We have a week left in the house... I think a lot of people are going to start exploding on a lot of people right now." - Ronnie

"If you fucking leave, I'm going to stuff your nose with tampons." - Snooki (to JWoww, when she threatens to leave the show)

"I don't remember his face, cause I was, like, wasted." - Snooki (referring to her new love interest Keith, the Irish Cowboy)

"I heart Jewish girls... oh my God." - Pauly D (staring blankly at tee shirt that Danielle the Stalker has just given him)

"At this point I'm starting to think: She's mad weird, that chick." - Pauly D

"I couldn't believe it, I thought I was seeing things." - Pauly D (when Danielle the Stalker shows up randomly for the third time)

"Pauly D has a little situation on his hands. She's definitely a Stage 5 clinger." - Vinny (making deft reference to Wedding Crashers)

"Let me get some popcorn." - Vinny (when Pauly finally takes stalker's phone call)

"Danielle is not looking for a hookup, she's looking for a husband." - Pauly D

"I told him to put me down, because I'm not trashy... unless I drink too much." - Snooki

"Your fucking room smells like asshole, bro." - Ronnie (spraying air freshener around Vinny's room to neutralize mysterious Hatorade smell)

"I closed that deal a long time ago, bro. I already got the title for that closing." - Ronnie (referring to The Situation, who is still vying for Sammi)

"Snooki's outfit is crazy. She looks like a birthday cake. She's all decorated, dressed up with the pink, boobs all out up in her face. I guess she wants to go out with a big bang. Literally." - Vinny


Lifetime Achievement Award

The Situation redeemed himself this week, and regains the title.

"You know, she likes pickles in her mouth. But pickles in her nose is just as good." - The Situation

"That was a lot of pickles. More than she's used to." - The Situation

"Jenni's got a good left punch so, you know, gotta watch out for that." - The Situation

"Neither does he know me neither!" - The Situation (defending his character against Vinny and Ronnie)

"I've been the same motherfucker for twenty-seven days. Have I got girls every day? Yeah! Have they not been pretty? Some days no, some days yes!" - The Situation (still defending his character... I think)


Iron Chef Hat for Creative Confections

A new award established to honor Hateorade and its inventor.

"Vinny's been hating on me. So what I decided to do, heh heh, was to get about three inches of grated cheese, add a little milk, a little Supreme dressing, a tiny bit of mayo, and a little Snickers pickle juice, all wrapped in one. A little Hateorade." - The Situation


The Prehistoric Kindergarten Award

"It's obvious that Sam has a crush on me. It goes back to the days of prehistoric kindergarten." - The Situation

Huh?


Pythagoras Award in Profundity

"Hater juice is best served cold." - The Situation


Best Exchange

Goes to Snooki, her latest male target, and the girl who swoops in with a surprise cockblock while Snooki and her new man make out on the nightclub couch.

Girl: "Stop what you're doing. You have a girlfriend."

Dude: "I don't."

Girl: "You don't?"

Dude: "I don't."

Snooki: "He has a girlfriend?"

Girl [pointing to the girl staring at them from across the room]: "She's here. She's watching the whole thing."

[Dude looks at Snooki, shrugs indifferently.]


The WTF Award

Maybe I'm not giving due credit to his sense of adventure, but... WTF???

"You never know what's in store for Pauly D. I love a challenge." - Pauly D (when, after all the creepiness and harsh words exchanged, over the phone and then later in person, he ultimately decides to go home with Danielle the Stalker)


Jerky Boy Badge of Shame for Worst Phone Prank in History

This new and hopefully one-time only award goes to Vinny, of all people, with some assistance from Pauly D and Danielle the Stalker.  The boys are home waiting for a call back from some girls they like while simultaneously avoiding the Pauly-obsessed Danielle. The duck begins to quack:


Vinny: "I'm not answering."

Pauly: "Yeah, don't even answer it."

Vinny: "What if it's them?"

Pauly: "Answer it. Say you're Mike."

Vinny: "I'm Mike?"

Pauly D: "I'm not here."

Vinny [answering duck]: "Hello?"

Danielle [misidentifying Vinny's voice and presumably making his job easier]: "Hi, can I speak to Pauly please, Mike?" [my emphasis]

Vinny [evincing a stunning mental lapse]: "Uhh, YO, Mike's not h--"

[Realizing blunder, Vinny holds his breath]

Danielle: "Mike? This is Mike? Hello?"

Vinny: "Hello. Yeah, hello."

Danielle: "Yeah, who's this? Vinny?

Vinny [altering voice, and sounding like a drag queen with Down's Syndrome]: "No it's Mike."

Danielle: "Mike, can I speak to Pauly please?"

Vinny [persisting with his God awful, cringe-inducing impression of the Situation]: "Uh, he's not here right now. He went to um, uhh, yeah he went to the boardwalk, he went to the boardwalk, umm..."


Famous Last Words Award

"Hey! Come back here!" - Drunk Dumbass (to Ronnie, from about 50 yards away, approximately 8 seconds before Ronnie catches up to him and knocks him unconscious)


*All photos courtesy of mtv.com.