Verbally Harassing Horses

It’s not that I don’t like horses; it’s that I don’t like the hub-hub that surrounds them, the people who liken them to people and all that nonsense. So with that in mind, lest PETA or other wackos stumble across this, I’ll go on the record saying, don’t harass horses or other animals. Make sure you let them (the horses) have a piece of your mind, but administer only verbal pain. The Junior Staff might think differently, but I’d hope not.

horse face
“Nice teeth, Tooth Face!” — that showed him

So I was out near Weisenberg (the middle of nowhere, in other words) today, minding my own business. In fact, I was near the middle of nowhere of the middle of nowhere. Roads in the middle of nowhere often serve as borders for farm land. Like I said, driving in the middle of nowhere, minding my own business… when all of a sudden, about 25 yards ahead, I see this horse staring me down. He/She/It is behind a fence and eating whatever it is that horses eat (I’ll let Adam field that one), but instead of a tranquil face of cow-like calm, this horse is looking at me hard. More accurately, he was probably staring in the general direction of the white van I was driving, but as far as I’m concerned, his black, buggy eyes were calling me out.

Naturally, when I drove up next to him, I stopped, lowered the passenger side window, leaned over, and told him what I thought about him. In a rant that included such highlights as: “Nice teeth, tooth face,” “Next, we’re taking a trip to the glue factory….and you’re not invited!” [Simpsons joke/put-down there], “the whole stable at the Kentucky Derby has carnal knowledge of your mother,” as well as a tirade detailing how all of the frustrations in my life were caused by him, it really seemed like he finally got the “bounceback” karma that had built up after so many years of people driving by and saying, “Look! A Horsey!” Is it my role to portion out karma? In this case, I believe yes. It’s as if this horse understood what was coming to him, that it was simply his time. He didn’t complain, staying at the fence, staring at me, listening to me explain how he’s wasting his life away watching traffic. Now, let it be known that the insults weren’t necessarily my finest, but remember, I didn’t exactly plan on verbally harassing a horse when I woke up this morning.

I then proceeded to tell him that I run a lowly visited review website, and he was only worth 1 star… on a good day. I think this was the straw that broke the camel’s horse’s back. He took a mouthful of whatever he was eating, looked away, then walked away, apparently finally realizing that I meant business. I raised the window and drove off the bigger man.


Verbally Harassing Horses receives four stars due to the fact that it’s free and is a victimless crime, in fact, it’s not a crime at all, I think. There’s something to be said for letting out one’s frustrations in front of what is the breathing equivalent of a wall. Other animals walk away (cats), turn away (cows), don’t get the whole point of it and try to cheer you up by insisting that you take them for a walk (dogs), or lack the facilities to even grasp the fact that not only are you alive, you’re making some sort of noise (chickens). Horses take it all in stride. However, they do lose a point due to the fact that if they ever developed pointy teeth and a taste for mammal blood, we’d all be pre-processed horse food, especially those of us who’ve already expressed our displeasure in them.


6 responses to “Verbally Harassing Horses”

  1. Well, when we term a feeding apparatus as “oat bag” or “hay bin,” the answer as to what horses eat becomes quite obvious….Cheez-It’s and Mountain Dew (it gets those legs a-motoring).

    Oh, and Dan…horses have the ability to develop jagged teeth and have no qualms about drawing blood. Sleep tight knowing that the horse is now plotting your imminent demise.

  2. […] Okay, I’ll be honest…I’ve been slacking it on this website. Many (meaning the eight dedicated readers we have) may remember when Nate even semi-demanded me to start posting. Maybe it was because I was a little too proud (probably not), but mostly it was due to time constraints and the simple fact that I have very little occurring in my life that I consider worthy of rating or that I could make it remotely entertaining. Now that I’ve graced the pages of this website, does this mean that I’ve overcome these obstacles? Absolutely not. Unfortunately for all of us, this probably won’t stop any of our readers from continuing. So, now that I’ve managed to take advantage of what little downtime is so rarely presented to me during my endless pursuit of a respectable career, what have I chosen to review? I knew my topic had to be gripping, with bouts of violence, wit, romance, all while being constantly intelligent and entertaining. Of course, I threw all of these notions out the window when Dan decided to yet again pansy-fy me publicly (again, having readers in the single digits makes it no more public than usual, but it’s the principle that the public could eventually read it). So gather ’round as Adam recounts his version of the story. […]

  3. […] September 25th, 2006 Dan It’s well known that aside from some misinformed old-cootedness about video games, we hold Roger Ebert in pretty high esteem around these parts. His cancer-surgery-turned-surgical-complications has taken him out of the reviewing game since mid-summer, and though no announcements have been made, I’m guessing he won’t be back until “Oscar season” starts in mid-November. Regardless, I’ve taken issue with very few of his reviews, though his “thing” for Angelina Jolie’s lips awarded both of the Tomb Raider movies three undeserved stars, even looking at those movies in the “brainless action” genre. That tick of his aside (a soft spot for threatening-looking women), the only other time I’ve not taken his side was when he decided the original Jackass wasn’t worth reviewing. Unfortunately, I can’t find the actual article that includes the quote that I think I remember, but it went something like this (notice the single-quotes – journalistic integrity is listed as a category for this review) ‘I am a movie critic. I review movies. As funny as Jackass is, it’s not a movie.’ In short(er), just being a collection of skits, none of which tells any sort of traditional story, it’s more accurately a “video” as opposed to a movie. I couldn’t find that quote, but I could find him answering a reader’s question about why he didn’t review it. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Ebert said, “If I laugh, I have to tell you it’s funny. I went to see ‘Jackass,’ a shameful movie. I laughed all the way through it. I mean, I have to tell you that.” At the end of day, instead of giving Jackass a positive review (what with it being a successful movie, one where the audience is entertained) and being on the record as having condoned something like that, he chose to not review it at all. I don’t get it. Now, speaking as a principled person myself, I perfectly recognize the need to occasionally throw all principles out the window if there are extenuating circumstances. Ebert simply didn’t want to be someone associated with a movie like Jackass. Luckily, his on-screen partner in reviewing all things cinematical, Richard Roeper gave probably the best critical quote about it: “Jackass: The Movie is a disgusting, repulsive, grotesque spectacle, but it’s also hilarious and provocative. God help me, thumbs up.” Hallelujah. That’s even more positive than my review would’ve been. (for the record, having seen both of the movies, I’d say that I could do without the poop and the pain for the sake of pain stunts) I’m not one to find profundity for the sake of profundity, but my stance on the movies is this: they’re not profound, but there’s something to be said about the sociological aspects of what a bunch of suburban-ish white guys found to entertain themselves and the business acumen it took to make what they were doing marketable outside of the skater community. The issue I do take with Ebert’s (lack of a) stance is that his book of “The Great Movies” (quotes because that’s the actual title of the book) includes the 1929 short film, Un Chien Andalou, notable for its lack of coherent structure and (more so) co-creation by one Salvador Dalí. I won’t compare work by Salvador Dalí to the content of Jackass, nor will I insinuate that Jackass somehow deserves to among “the great movies,” but I will say that for someone who is very quick to condemn the supposedly increasing closed-mindedness of the American movie going public, not giving a movie you liked the critical time of day because it was “different” isn’t the strongest philosophical ground to be standing upon. (I know, it’s sort of lazy of me to not include links to examples of “very quick to condemn…” but, in short, look up any of his Adam Sandler reviews other than Punch Drunk Love.) The loose thread between the “Once Again Being One Up on the Mass Media…” and the movie itself is the fact that in the AP review, the writer actually invokes a comparison between Jackass: Number 2 a scene from Un Chien Andalou. There’s not much more to it than the fact that I said the same thing in 2002. And, I was reasonable enough to give the comparison with a bunch of qualifiers instead of trying for some sort of faux-intellectual comment. Once Again Being One Up on the Mass Media Or The Critical Reception to Jackass: Number Two receives four-and-a-half stars due to my thinkin’ brain and its whooping of the critics by four good years. In actuality, the whole mess with Ebert’s take on the first movie is sort of unrelated to this, but it does serve as backstory as to why I had done any thinking on the subject. If you’re thinking about seeing the movie, it’s as simple as this: if you think you’ll like it, you will. If you think you won’t like it, you won’t. If you’re not sure if you’ll like it, you’ll like it. Late-breaking, sort of related reviewing: Jim Emerson, the sort of backup on has his own blog (aside from the corner he gets on the Ebert webpage). On his blog, he has a cute little entry entitled, “Aint-It-Cool-Times” (his emphasis) bemoaning the Los Angeles Times for including a script review section on their website. He’s so put off by it that he says the newspaper has “jumped the shark” (and I thought Emerson was a movie critic! buh-ZING!), becoming yet another head of the hydra that is the modern movie industry (my metaphor, thank you very much). There’s a bunch of resentment of the “traditional” journalists (print, TV, radio) towards the “new” “journalists” on the internet. Sure, any schmuck can run a website and spout off whatever nonsense he wants and claim to be a journalist (note: Nate and I don’t claim to be journalists. Adam? Maybe.) What with journalism degrees being real degrees, the “old guard” doesn’t like the instant credibility that the internet offers. Aintitcoolnews, the target of his sort-of pun of a title is one of the more successful “home made” websites, and in fact, in the years it’s existed, it’s sort of a “real” site, though it does seemingly serve as a mouthpiece for the studios marketing departments sometimes. He goes on: “No. It’s not. Fernandez [the writer of the script review section of the Los Angeles Times] isn’t a journalist and he isn’t a critic; he’s a leech, on the level of those self-aggrandizing amateur web trolls who think their premature, uninformed opinions about an unfinished work are ‘news.’” Amateur web trolls? eh. Premature, uninformed opinions? meh. Self-aggrandizing? MR. EMERSON, YOU HAD ME AT ‘HELLO!’ We here at the Bookshelf® … wait, hold on, I like seeing that with the registered mark after it…. wait….yeah. We think you’re wrong and are probably just bitter that you had zero web recognizability until you became Roger Ebert’s second-in-command. Consider yourself called out by the Bookshelf® (you join such luminaries as the New York Times, Humanity, that horse, and Pitchfork Media. […]

  4. […] November 30th, 2006 Dan Though this was meant to correspond with Nate’s review of the first 100 reviews, schedules and, uh, not-feeling-like-it-at-the-moment-because-it’s-a-bit-daunting-of-a-task-itis, has delayed this “One Year Anniversary” review and pushed it into 13/14 months, but that’s fine by me. WARNING: Intense self-congratulation ahead. Nate’s recap covered things in a time-based manner, in fact you could almost call it a “temporal” recap. (HA!), so I’ll look at things a step back or so. Basically, this chart says that aside from people that randomly come across the site via search engines, a large portion of our readership seems to check back pretty regularly. When I had run the idea of a website by Nate, it was presented simply in a “wouldn’t it be funny if we reviewed anything-and-everything.” How often do people assign start rankings to things that aren’t arts or consumables? (Consumer Reports gives star ratings to lots of stuff, though it’s always physical items available for purchase). We never officially decided on what constitutes “reviewable”, but being that we’ve reviewed Pluto’s demotion (those bastards) and thrown an ambitious amount of words towards reviewing the hype surrounding various media properties, we’re definitely keeping our options open. From the beginning, we’ve dreaded the dirty “B” word. Our site looks like many, many sites associated with the “movement” associated with the B word; our site runs the same software that is one of the most popular B word platforms, and the fact that we usually indignantly explain “it’s a website, not one of those” when people refer to it as our “BLOG” just serves to establish how much like a blog it is. Well, though we’re wont to admit it, at the end of the day, we’re really not too far removed from the “blogosphere” – we just avoid the “I feel bad today because” style rampant in most blogs. Likewise, it’s rare that we read a random article online then say, “I think I’m going to review that” the way that many people who have blogs write snippets of “I read this article and I think this about it.” Nate did a good job wrapping up the first batch of reviews we did. Though the writing in those first reviews had “voice”, the big picture aspects of the site were still up in the air. My first review (about a really long baseball game) didn’t really accomplish much, though it did help to establish the implicit theme of our reviews and how we think we’d like aim to separate from the “blogosphere”: as everyone who writes anything on the internet, we think that we offer something new and interesting that is unique to our site. You could find people talking about how long that baseball game was and how great it was, but no one saying “well, actually, the game wasn’t any good.” This led into our future reviews, where we’re pretty much the only people writing about the topics (verbally harassing horses, recaps of great football injuries, the myth of the Christmas season coming earlier every year [as opposed to the complaint that it does or doesn’t come earlier every year] etc.) That’s not to say we didn’t write about things that were more straight-forward as needed. When I had bad luck with Vonage and when Nate’s long distance provider didn’t see that anything was out of the ordinary when his long distance bill went up somewhere in the 900%+ range, reviews were written. There, the goal was to try to make our bad experiences in consumerism known and hopefully somewhat entertaining. After we had established the criteria for whether or not something was considered reviewable, we looked toward more “touchy-feely” sort of goals. Well, at least I did. I’m not sure what Nate’s goals have been. The shear size of the internet makes it so any schmuck can make any website about any thing. That’s widely understood, and that’s fine, but it also gives space for incredibly, well, passionate (for better or for worse) defenses or critiques of topics that go (rightly) ignored in the mainstream print media. Heck, even a devoted sneaker magazine such as Sole Collector probably wouldn’t devote 1600 words to the Oakley Twitch. Likewise, Entertainment Weekly would never run 3500 words about Scrubs (and rightly so). One of the first websites that took advantage of this freedom afforded by the internet was the movie news/rumors site Ain’t It Cool News; it didn’t create the mold, but it had a lot to do with shaping what people expect from the internet. Ain’t It Cool News still “works” as a website almost 10 years after its creation, but it would never work as a traditional magazine or even newspaper. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe in the community “power” of the internet, but I will stand behind the sense of community that it can create. Ain’t It Cool News is famous for its rumors and news, but what sets it apart from, say, Variety or Entertainment Weekly are the actual movie reviews. Needless to say, read Harry Knowles’ review of Clerks 2, then read the Variety review. They’re both positive, but the limitations of “traditional journalism” are evident. Sure, Knowles’ review is a bit fanboy-ish, but there’s something to be said about liking a movie, then seeing someone else on the internet go out of his way explaining how and why it is that good. Oddly, it’s re-affirming in some way to see that someone is as over-the-top positive for a movie (or CD, or pair of sneakers, or a Star Wars promo video). What brings it all back is that my goal has been to write reviews that people who already like something end up liking it more after they’ve read it. I guess that’s sort of a pretentious if not presumptuous opinion of my own work, but that’s my goal. As always, there have been humorous reviews sprinkled in within the more serious (the Chinese basketball game, verbally harassing horses, etc.), but by-and-large I yearn to educate. So, here’s a recap. I like how every single review (well except Nate’s U2/Green Day one) has a picture and funny caption. Nate’s Saving Silverman review has a good one, and I’m still fond of my “Nate Hates Christmas” when we were feuding over whether Christmas comes early every year or earlier every year. I like how pop-ins created an entirely new dynamic within the articles, allowing for jokes that are completely removed from the review itself (such as “HE HAD THE HIGH GROUND” in my Star Wars review. In terms of stuff liked enough to call out… how Nate combined historical revisionism in cartoons with a defense of Pluto’s planethood […]

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