Apocalypse Postponed To 2014

Phew! Today we can finally stop being insensitive about Mayan culture and eschatology and focus on the year the actual apocalypse will take place: 2014. This is the year, according to a release from security firm Internet Identity, that cyberattacks stop being a problem for James Bond and start affecting actual civilians. Fatally. Can’t wait!

Sure, IID offers the usual boilerplate saying that Fortune 500 companies will get backdoored by hackers and national security systems could be breached if we’re not better prepared in the future. But that doesn’t seem to be their main concern. On the contrary: “Those threats are well understood, and being addressed today.  The more interesting thing from our perspective is what’s next?  And how will the industry respond?”

What’s next they say, is the use of Internet-connected devices as murder weapons: “Examples include a pacemaker that can be tuned remotely, an Internet-connected car that can have its control systems altered, or an IV drip that can be shut off with a click of a mouse.” Remote killing, huh? Pretty awesome stuff. Though as usual, someone was ahead of the curve.

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Riding Out the Apocalypse With Pizza and Wine

The world is not going to end on Friday. The world is not going to end on Friday. In fact, we can’t wait for Saturday because then all this “end of the world” nonsense will be over and we can all go back to pretending the world’s resources are infinite. You may be going to an “End of the World”-themed party or bar night on Friday. And any excuse for a party is a fine one, ultimately, just be sure of a couple things before you go out. First, that the party that you are attending is not a secret Doomsday cult meeting and you have no exit strategy. Second, don’t let anyone talk you into doing anything stupid because the world might end, or whatever. This isn’t a Christmas movie, where everyone makes silly declarations of love and impulsive marriage proposals because “it’s Christmas,” which is never an excuse to do anything like that in real life. And be sure to get good alcohol and dress nicely, not as a “just incase the world does end” precaution, but because you’ll have a nicer night, especially when surrounded by Fake Apocalypse revelers.

Or, if you’re from the tiny French town of Bugarach, nestled beneath the Pyrenees, with a population of just under 200, you’re going to have to ride the day out with—or try to capitalize on—all the apocalypse tourists and doomsday cultists who believe the prophecy that this little town, beneath the alien “spaceship garage” in the Pic de Bugarach mountain, is the only one that will survive the 21st. The townsfolk are selling stones from the face of the mountain, and for €15a pop, water from its spring. But the most unusual offering is that of an intimate dinner at the site of our potential doomsday, with apocalyptic pizza and ‘End of the World’ vintage wine. It’s like Doomsday Disneyland up in here. And doomsday tourism, when you think about it, is kind of gross, in the same way that the nuclear test sites in New Mexico draw tourists or the “disaster tourism” epidemic that plagued New Orleans. Capitalizing on fear is really pretty gross. And, the Mayans are kind of pissed off about all the negative attention and doomsday voyeurism and representations of their culture, so uh, maybe knock it off?

Pizza and wine sound like a good last meal and all, but why bother with the traveling? Just get a slice down the street and some booze (maybe the Fin du Monde Belgian ale?), a couple close friends, put a movie on (maybe the cute, underrated Seeking A Friend for the End of the World) and just wait it out until Saturday. That might be your best option. 

New York’s Top Halloween Parties

All dressed up with no place to go? (Gasp!) That just might be one of the scariest things to happen this Halloween. This is your one chance to be someone you’re not, so you better get your partially-exposed butt and painted face out there to a party. Looking to hook up, get high, dance like mad, or party like a sophisticate? Then check out our list of New York’s top Halloween parties in 2012. They all have in common one thing: OPEN BAR. So go! Drink! Flirt! Dance! And completely become that which you are not – for a night.

Denver: Where to Get a Drink After Tonight’s Presidential Debate

If you’re one of the lucky thousands to land a seat in the University of Denver’s auditorium and get an up-close look at Obama and Romney’s nosehairs, then you’ll need a good drink after their first presidential debate. Whether you’re craving a whiskey and some alone time, or an $11 pitcher and a chance to share your viewpoint that no one listen to, you’ll find the place for you at one of these top five Denver bars for a drink after tonight’s presidential debate. 

Super Saturday in the Hamptons: I Missed Kelly Ripa

I missed Kelly Ripa. After driving nearly three hours to a large field in Southampton with my best friend and a bag of trail mix to attend Super Saturday, I missed the most revered guest at the Hampton’s most charitable annual summer event.

Super Saturday is what it says it is: it’s a Super event on a day called Saturday where celebrities (like Kelly Ripa, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member (and Paris Hilton’s aunt) Kyle Richards, and Tiffani Thiessen) and a bunch of very charitable folk descend upon a lawn and shop, eat, and mingle for several hours—and then tweet about it later.

The best part. Well, wait, there are two parts:

1. Top designer clothes are sold at heavily discounted prices, à la Loehmann’s. Sant Ambroeus caters.

2. All the money raised via luxury raffle, expensive entry tickets, and on-site spending benefits the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. This year, Super Saturday raised $3.6 million. 

But anyway, back to the main point: I missed Kelly Ripa. Most likely because I was too busy eating my second plate of Sant Ambroeus bow-tie pasta and/or surveying the line for psychic readings with Betsy Wahmann and/or devouring a corn husk.

The downside was that a lot of the designer clothes, such as Free People, alice + olivia, Diane von Furstenberg, and Intermix, nearly sold out within the first hour, and by hour we mean “ the secret hour,” when the people with VIP tickets were able to get into the tent at noon—60 minutes before everyone else—and snatch up all the really good clothes, leaving the ordinary guests with the not-as-good-but-still-fashionable clothes.

But that’s okay, because what’s one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure or whatever. Just when I thought I couldn’t find anything to buy amid the soggy, muggy weather in the middle of this field—I did. Hanging on a rack at the Junk Food booth was the perfect t-shirt: a bright blue Batman t-shirt.

And suddenly, all of my cares faded away. Like the fact that it was raining and we were going to drive back in it. Or that we were probably going to have stop at a gas station bathroom to pee on the way. Or that we ran out of trail mix. But most of all, I didn’t mind that I missed Kelly Ripa. And that made my Saturday a lot more super.

These ‘Game of Thrones’ Campaign Ads Help Us Cope With the Impending Election

Winter is coming… and by "winter," we mean the impending 2012 Presidential election and all the insane campaigning that is about to go with it. No matter your politics or investment in said election, we can mostly agree on a few things, among them that that nasty attack ads get old really fast and that Game of Thrones is awesome, or at least certainly more awesome than attack ads. 

(Obligatory spoilers warning here.) 

Seeing as nowadays, the political discourse in the land of Westeros is only slightly less volatile than that in 2012 America, the team at Mother Jones have created a series of mock electoral attack ads for three of the would-be young monarchs from the HBO series. Joffrey Baratheon, the bastard son of twins Jaime and Cersei Lannister, is pegged with a birth-certificate problem (and declared a "bastard" by actors playing the townsfolk), Robb Stark’s celebrity, family scandals and inexperience bring him down and Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen is declared an unfit queen for palling around with "Dothraki terrorists" and keeping her baby dragons in an unlocked wooden box

In a few places, MoJo’s satire hits pretty close to home. The Robb Stark attack ad (which uncannily resembles a real attack ad focused on President Obama’s "celebrity") was paid for by "Crossbows GPS." Well done. 

Joffrey Baratheon: Where Is The Birth Certificate?

Robb Stark: The Biggest Celebrity In The North

Daenerys Targaryen: Wrong For Dragons, Wrong for the Realm

Village Voice’s Choice Eats Event Last Night, Guided Photo Tour Inside

When you stick hundreds of New Yorkers into a space the size of an amphitheatre, filled with over 80 of the five borough’s top restaurants, alcoholic beverages, and desserts, and tell them it’s “all-you-can-eat and drink,” what happens?

We turn into CAVE PEOPLE. Voracious, thirsty, hungry cavemen and women. Wildly primitive desires emerged at last night’s Choice Eats event, as men and women aggressively made their way to the front of the shoelace-long lines, grabbed for the largest meat-covered crostini, shrimp roll, and bowl of salted caramel ice cream, and ran around with toppled food platters and sauce-covered fingers.
So we were full after 15 minutes, or we have some frou-frou diet to attend to. Who cares! For one night, we went wild. And it was oh-so-necessary.
Here’s our guided photo tour of the evening’s best:
Doughtnut Plant
Doughnut Plant’s peanut butter glaze and blackberry jelly donut. I’m still full, but I’m still craving this. 
Scrumptious sausages at Kafana.
Bep’s mango salad makes healthy delicious. 
Ample Hills Creamery
Ample Hills Creamery’s Salted Crack Caramel ice cream. Made with salted butter caramel ice cream and bits of their "crack." Aptly named. 
Mile End
Mile End’s smoked meat bun. Sweet. Fluffy. Meaty. 
Fried brussel sprouts topped with yogurt, tahini, and pomegranate sauce. Tanoreen does it again. 
Good Batch
The Good Batch’s chocolate chip cookies. So soft, but chewy, yet doughy. An enigma, actually.
Fay Da Bakery
Fay Da Bakery’s pork bun. Always the best.
S'more Bakery
S’mores Bakery. Toasted right infront of you. 
Ditch Plains
Ditch Plains’ mac ‘n’ cheese-covered hot dog. It’s worth the heart attack. 

The Bright Side: The Real Winners of Oscar Night

The general consensus is that the 84th annual Academy Awards were a giant mushroom cloud of boring, unfunny failure, dropped from the broken-down Enola Gay that is Billy Crystal. You know it’s going to be bad when there’s blackface in the first five minutes. In a Midnight In Paris send-up. With Justin Bieber. The song parodies were painful. (If creepy middle-aged dude is the vibe the Oscars want in a host, let’s make it someone likeable next year: Jeff Goldblum for Oscars host!)

That being said, the evening wasn’t a total loss. Here were the real winners of Oscar Night (sorry, Hugo). 
Chris Rock
As we mentioned in our morning links, he told the only truly funny joke of the entire evening. While talking about his career animation, Rock told the crowd: "If you’re a white man, you can play an Arabian prince. And if you’re a black man, you can play a donkey or a zebra!" If only he had called Billy Crystal out on his B.S. while he was up there, too. 
Asghar Farhadi
"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment," Farhadi told the crowd. Of all the victories at this sad, sad awards show, Farhadi’s was the most important. A Separation was the first Iranian film to ever take home the golden statuette, and one for which he faced detraction in his home country. A reminder that film can be subversive and teach us things and inspire nations without ham-fistedness or celluloid gloss. 
Poop as a Plot Device
In the Best Supporting Actress category, it was in a pie (The Help) vs. in a sink (Bridesmaids) by Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy, respectively. Pie won. 
Octavia Spencer
Regardless of what you thought of The Help, it’s hard not to root for Octavia Spencer. She looked stunning, for starters. And she was genuinely excited—none of that Taylor Swift "Really? Me?" false modesty nonsense. And her speech was a real, wonderful, genuine Oscar moment – until she got cut off by some jerks. (Losers: Whoever Decided to Cut Off Octavia Spencer)
Bret McKenzie
We’re sad we didn’t get to see "Man Or Muppet?" performed, but one half of Flight of the Conchords took home a statuette for it and gave an adorable speech. It’s enough to make you hope he does another TV show, just so he can get one step closer to an EGOT. 
Team Christopher Guest
Although The Wizard of Oz thing was weird and sort of out of nowhere, you can’t really go wrong with Fred Willard, Christopher Guest, Jennifer Coolidge, and the whole Guffman gang. To come: who-is-christopher-guest.tumblr.com. 
Winner: Javier Bardem
In Alexander Payne’s acceptance speech for The Descendants, he said he dedicated the award to his mother because she insisted he do it after Javier Bardem dedicated an award to his mother. So, way to make Javier Bardem look like the the greatest son ever, Alexander Payne’s mom. 
Christopher Plummer
His speech and Octavia Spencer’s were the only true "Oscar moments" of the night. After he accepted his first Academy Award ever for Beginners (meaning, as the Internet pointed out, he has exactly as many Oscars as Three Six Mafia), he was whisked off into the Alps with his family by a cabal of friendly nuns. 
A.R. Rahman
His cameo in the all-star celebrity orchestra was a nice surprise. 
Ellen DeGeneres
Sorry, weird, bigoted parents group that tried to boycott JC Penney. You lost this round. And we, the viewers at home, got an ad campaign that was actually more entertaining than the awards themselves. 
Meryl Streep
Sure, everyone expected Viola Davis to win, and she probably should have won. But Meryl’s "whatever" was a breath of fresh air in a night full of ego-stroking and false modesty. She was even dressed like an Oscar. Haters gonna hate.
The dog from Hugo didn’t get to go onstage after the Best Picture announcement. The most celebrated Jack Russell Terrier since Eddie on Frasier may also be the most overexposed thespian dog in recent years, but come on. There was a dog in a bowtie on stage at the Oscars. If "funny" and "entertaining" are nowhere in sight, at least give us something cute. 
People Who Love Hearing Celebrities Talk About How Much They Love Movies
So, uh, no one. 

Box Office Haul: ‘2012’ Wins, ‘Precious’ Surges 200%, ‘This Is It’ Sinks

Oh, hello! You’re still there? Excellent. Here’s your end-of-the-weekend, doused-in-the-mists-of-Ida box office round-up. It’s fairly predictable, with the most predictable development reflecting our fickle whims as American pop consumers. Meaning that with the Michael Jackson documentary This Is It sliding 60%, perhaps it’s time for all the king’s men to start pointing fingers at each other, lobbing jagged accusations like “You’re not faithful enough, I loved Michael more!” as they tear each other to shreds, devolving into pagan beasts of burden. On the sunnier side of things, Precious enjoys growth of about 225% this week, mostly because of a wider release. Also, 2012 made like a kajillion dollars and ranked at #1, so everyone will be talking about that tomorrow.

Well until Lady Gaga invariably appears on a talk show wearing a tankini fashioned out of crushed PBR cans and we start fixating on that instead. So that’s the bad, the good, and the best. The confusing, then? How Couples Retreat stays within the Top 10. Seriously, who keeps going back to see Vince Vaughn impersonate a potato? A full breakdown of the Top 10 (even more thorough recap here) plus some extras follow.

1. 2012 ($65 million) 2. A Christmas Carol ($22 million) 3. The Men Who Stare at Goats ($6.2 million) 4. Precious ($6.1 million) 5. This Is It ($5.1 million) 6. The Fourth Kind ($4.7 million) 7. Couples Retreat ($4.25 million) 8. Paranormal Activity ($4.2 million) 9. Law Abiding Citizen ($3.9 million) 10. The Box ($3.2 million)

Falling out of the Top 10: Astro Boy ($1.65 million) Triple-digit growth: Boondock Saints II ($1 million, +136%) and Halloween II ($52,000, +214%) Still hanging on: Amelia ($925,000) and The September Issue ($33,200)