Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Aauugust, Die She Must (any Simon and Garfunkel fans out there?)

So I saw a disturbing thing on TV yesterday. No, not the inherent absurdity of watching Sharon Osbourn and the Hoff judging America's talent. That's more amusing than disturbing.

No, I saw a back to school commercial. Those are always depressing. It means summer is winding down. Not that I'm going back to school or anything. Nor am I on summer break. In fact summer ending has no real effect on me at all. And Fall is probably my favorite time of the year. Baseball playoffs, football season, new episodes of that one caveman show. What? It was canceled? DAMN IT!

By the way, it's a little bit sad that I gauge my quality of life on the variety of original TV content. But admit it, you get excited when you see ALL NEW promos, don't you? You do, it's ok. No need to impress me. Hell, I've had a blog for less than a week and so far I have paid loving tribute to Top Gun, Karate Kid and The Golden Girls. This is not a high brow forum.

Anyway, something about seeing commercials with smiling children wearing new JC Penny pants and fresh smelling Trapper Keepers (you know exactly what they smell like, don't you?) brings up the sense memory of looming dread. I am eleven, and I suddenly realize that my endless summer of freedom had been frittered away (one of my mom's favorite phrases) on The Price Is Right, Spaghettio's and mowing the Bereksin's lawn. I hadn't lifted lots of weights and become a pre-season All American tight end like I had planned. I didn't bump into that one hot chick while swimming at the tennis club and had torrid summer love affair like I had planned. Instead I played Nintendo in Steve Earl's basement.

Now, that's not to say I didn't have fantastic summers growing up. I certainly did and continue to have them. But there's something about seeing Mervynn's advertise their Cambridge Classic Sale that makes it all seem so temporary, whether you're eleven or thirty.

Monday, July 28, 2008

You’re a master of karate . . .

. . .and friendship, for everyone!

So it is the 25th anniversary of The Karate Kid and as such a marathon of this opus is playing right now on Versus. By the way, I love that Versus, a network competing with ESPN as a sports network decided to fill time with coming the of age of Daniel Larusso. Glad the Mountain West Conference has hitched their wagon to this star, or whatever that expression is. So a few obvious, probably well documented observations from the movie we all know and love.

I gotta take Karate, Ma! - So I remember well, as a six year old, going to the Regency Theatre by K-Mart and watching the Karate Kid with the family. It blew my mind. It seems that every little boy has a karate phase and mine synced up perfectly with the Daniel-son revolution. In fact I remember my mom accidentally washing one of my dad’s ties. Remember the cotton square cut ties of 1984? (Karl Malone’s draft day. Awesome!) Anyway, the tie had shrunk and so my dad gave it to me and I wore that thing as a Karate Kid headband for weeks.

No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. - So Mr. Miyagi was the maintenance man at Daniel’s apartment complex. Well, Mr Miyagi was a terrible maintenance man. The faucet was broken, the pool was filthy, the place was an all around dump. Which, by itself is no big deal. I don’t pretend to work very hard at my job. But then we discover that he lives in a paradisaical garden of the Orient with 25 perfectly restored classic cars. Hey Miyagi, instead of wax on wax off, why don’t you put Daniel to work around the apartment complex? Sweep walk, clean pool.

The enemy deserves no mercy!Johnny Lawrence is a teen-age villain for the ages. Oooo I hate him so bad. Him and his scowling face, his big cocky-guy nose and his blonde hair flopping over his black headband. Even when he was attacking Daniel-son with his karate / dirt bike / skeleton gang (did they get a group discount on those costumes?) his evil blond hair is still untamable. Everyone else has the white skull caps on, but his Medusa/Owen Wilson locks are flowing in satanic defiance. To try to contain them would be as futile as attempting to restrain the demons of hell. It can’t be done.

Strike first! Strike hard! No mercy, Sen Sei! - As good a prick as Johnny is, he is no match for the true villain of this movie. The Emperor to Johnny’s Vader is his tattooed, sleeveless, dimpled chinned, feathered haired Sen Sai, John Kreese. Why wasn’t this guy cast as every villain in every movie throughout the rest of the 80’s? I just checked his IMDB and besides Karate Kid sequels, he was in two other movies in that decade. Rambo: First Blood Part II (most confusing movie title ever) and Steele Justice in which he plays John Steele. 3.5 stars on IMDB. I think my Netflix cue just got a new leader. Imagine this guy as a Rocky Villain. Well the Rocky Villains are all too perfect. But make this guy Clubber Lang’s evils trainer. And make him the one that kills Mickey. As much as I love Hans Gruber, John Kreese (same character, same sleeveless karate outfit) would have been a better foil for John McClain. Hell, John Kreese would have made a better Mola Ram in Temple of Doom.
“This is a Do Jo, not a knitting circle!” "Out of commission. Out of commission!" Solid gold.

If do right, no can defense - So what’s the deal with the Crane kick? What is just so unstoppable about it? You see it coming a mile away and you have to stand on one leg to do it. I know nothing about Karate, but I know that the last thing you want to do in a fight is stand on one leg for an extended period of time.

Daniel Larusso is going to fight? Daniel Larusso is going to fight! - And while we’re at it, the hand rubbing, leg healing touch thing? Seems like more of a trick a kiddy fiddler would try. “Oh, you pulled your groin? Let me rub my hands together in an ancient Okinawan technique and then I will place my warm hands on your quivering thighs and you’ll feel all better.” No explanation was even attempted. The writers figured "he's Asian, people won't ask questions." And they were right.

Top Five Records

So one recurring feature I plan to have is a “5 song intro” to various bands I like to listen to. And by “recurring”, I mean “do it two or three times, lose interest and then never do it again.” Much like every effort in my life to keep a journal.

The current age of music sharing is truly mind boggling. I often just scroll through my ipod and just grin like an idiot at my incredibly awesome music collection. And then I consider that I paid zero dollars for the bulk of this catalog and I get an honest to goodness boner. (What did you think the link was going to be? Again, all my links are sfw)

By the way, I would like to take this moment and thank all the good people out there who pay real money for online music, when it is available for free. You good, honest Americans (suckers) are keeping the music industry (Satan) profitable, so the authorities decide that it isn’t worth prosecuting file sharers (cheap, thieving bastards) like myself. Thank you.

It used to be that your buddy would make a mix tape of the better known songs as well as a few obscure gems of any given band and that got you started. You took your time listening, usually while mowing the lawn or folding newspapers or whatever crap job you had in 7th grade. To this day I have flashbacks of washing dishes at Niko, a Japanese restaurant by my house, whenever I listen to Zeppelin IV. You had the time to come to your own conclusions, usually repeating the songs that were familiar and branching out into the others in good time. It takes effort to really know a band. It takes time and quite a bit of care to digest their music, to really examine if you like it and why, ever weary of being a poser. Upon concluding that this sample was worthy, one would then make the next investment of buying actual albums. Sadly, the mix tape (few f words on this one, but Jack Black is very funny) has become a thing of the past.

It is for this reason I give you the 5 song introduction to fill-in-the-blank. A quick sample of some of the defining characteristics of a given artist that may give you a deeper insight into who they are. And maybe you’ll find something you like.

There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you.

They’re everywhere! Dirty hipster douchebags. Everywhere I go, they follow me, with their pretentiously ugly sunglasses and their scruffy, just woke up hair that they spent a lot of effort to get to look just right.

One development that I have noticed over the last few months that is especially disturbing is the hipster fashion sense invading church. Now I don’t want this to be an entry in which I criticize what someone wore to church. I mean if I was reading some Mormon Mom’s blog and she wasted everyone’s time with a rant about what immodest (read slutty) top the younger mom in Relief Society was wearing, I would probably have to vomit. But I guess that’s exactly what I’m doing here, so feel free to vomit at any time.

So I’m grinding through Sunday school yesterday in my lovely singles ward when I notice some incredibly cool guys in the front row. I got excited, because for a second I thought The Strokes had joined the LDS Church. Take that Snoop. But it turned out that these guys weren’t The Strokes, just a couple of douchebags that forgot to take off their costumes.

I’m not that guy that is looking to throw people out of church because they aren’t dressed well enough. I’m all about someone wearing jeans to church, because those are the nicest pants they have. But that’s not what’s going on here.

The irritating thing about the whole hipster style is its inherent, arrogant vanity. “But how can you cay it's arrogant when they buy their clothes from the DI?” Well first off, they don’t. They buy them at “Vintage” stores, which is just like the DI only $40 more. But to answer the pretend question, they are arrogant beyond belief because they wear ridiculously ugly, ill-fitting, cheap clothes.

“Doesn’t that mean that they are rejecting fashion demands? That would mean they are the opposite of vain?” No. Because the message they are sending when they wear powder blue tight pants, used black loafers with no socks, a plaid shirt and a skinny, pink tie to church is “I am so damn cool, I can where these obnoxiously douchey clothes and my coolness will still shine through. In fact if I didn’t wear this attire it would be like looking at the sun with your bare eyes. You wouldn’t be able to handle my coolness. It would consume you.” I would say that is an arrogant and vain statement.

Note: I used some variation of the word douche like 9 times in this entry. I really need to find a new word.

Friday, July 25, 2008

5 Girly songs I like and I don’t care who knows it.

You know the commercials that sell a bunch of crap you don’t want, being shown during a show that you don’t watch and yet they feature a song can’t escape? For example, a tampon commercial being played during Ugly Betty lays eggs in you head. Those eggs then hatch weeks later and you find yourself singing Wilson Phillips (nice hat Carney, you look like a Goucho) at the top of your lungs while driving to work. I hate those songs. Even if at one point I may have kind of liked one of those songs, by its sheer persistence, I end up hating it. Kind of like being friends with Aaron B (last name withheld since i don't want him to google his name and find out I didn't really like him) in 8th grade. He was a nice enough guy but he would follow me and my friends home after school. He would stay over until my family started dinner and I just had to tell him to go home. Dude, you are a ‘talk to you at lunch’ friend not a ‘don’t worry about knocking, call my mom by her first name’ kind of friend. Back off.

However, this is a list of Aaron B songs that I end up kind of liking. I never invited them over, but I don’t really mind that they stayed. The fact that they are all completely girly beyond hope is also kind of interesting. Perhaps I am more feminine than given credit. Perhaps this red blooded American man who loves his cheeseburgers, football and GGW infomercials (all they want is their father's attention the poor stupid things) really just wants to doodle unicorns and braid someone’s hair. I’ll have to give that a try sometime.

Note: This list by no means is meant to be my complete collection of femininish songs I like. In fact I have a deep appreciation for many female song writers and bands that feature female vocalists. For example, Ani Difranco, Rilo Kiley, Gillian Welch, Mazzy Star, Cowboy Junkies to name a very few. These are all artists I have genuine respect and affection for. The following is a list of crap, that despite being crap, I still reluctantly enjoy.

Now, with that out of the way and in the interest of humiliating, public self exposure that blogosphere (I still hate that word) is famous for, I give you five girly songs that I am ashamed to kind of like.

1. "Last Thing On Your Mind" by Light

For the love of crap, what is wrong with me? This is from an Old Navy commercial, for hell sakes. Although I was relieved to find out this wasn’t by Ashley Simpson. For some reason I thought it was and for about a week, I lived with crushing conflict of kind of liking an Ashley Simpson song. If that were the case, I would never admit it. In fact, what integrity I pretend to have would likely compel me into a ceremonial suicide to maintain any remaining honor. Just for fun, here’s a great clip of one of the more humiliating moments that liar’s career. It’s too hard to pick just one. Here’s another.

2. "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis

That’s right! I don’t care who knows it. Now it must be made clear that this is a list of songs I ‘kind of like’, in that I don’t wish them any specific harm. I have 80 gigs of music on my ipod, and this is not featured. But when it is playing in a supermarket while I’m buying frozen burritos, I find myself doing a slow shoulder shimmy to the chorus while mouthing the words with my eyes closed. I had a mission companion who would play this song while he pined away for his girlfriend. It was really a hilarious thing to observe. How many clich├ęs can one moment include? So maybe that’s where my affection for this thing comes from. I was exposed to it during the enforced Michael McLean/Afterglow/EFY soundtrack stage of my music listening life. When you’re starving to death, sometimes a rotting dead cat can look kind of tasty. By the way, she dumped his ass like a month later. I guess his eyes just weren’t blue enough.

3. "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer

This is one I have a hard time justifying. There’s no excuse here and the chick who sings it is really weird looking. Let’s just pretend I didn’t bring this up. Let us never speak of it again.

4. "Precious Moments" by Three Degress

This one I am not as ashamed to embrace and it is featured on my ipod. This is classic 70’s soul, baby complete with the standard weepy string section. In fact, in the movie “Kill Bill” Bill references this as his favorite song. So how girly can it be if David Carradine likes it? He was Caine on Kung Fu, for hell sakes.

5. "Kiss Me Deadly" by Lita Ford

HA! This song in no way applies to this category. It is in fact the opposite of everything else on this list. I make no apologies for rocking out to this gem. She was in The Runaways. Lita is legit. I chose it mostly to cleanse the pallet of all that estrogen from the previous four songs. I was starting to get a menstrual cramp from typing all that crap. This song is here to illustrate that chicks can kick ass. Especially while crawling on the ground in a wind tunnel. Any video that features a keytar, random ice blocks in a warehouse and thong leotard with boots and matching kneepads is okay by me. Somewhere, right now, at this very moment, a weary Lita Ford is belting this classic out for a half sold out rodeo arena full of shirtless, mulletted GEDers who are wondering whether she has any tread left on the tires. God bless Butt Rock. God bless America.

"That's right, Ice . . . Man, I am Dangerous"

So here's a link to an enjoyable article espousing the "Saturday afternoon, seen it a thousand times but since it's on TV I'll watch it anyway" value of Top Gun. They call it Hangover Theater. Believe me, the experience of seeing Top Gun, yet again is just as soothing whether you have the taste of vomit in your mouth or not.

So we all are aware of the overwhelming gay overtones of this movie (and Tom Cruise in general). But just for fun, check out the lyrics of the song by the Great Kenny Logins (his proper name) to 'Playing With the Boys" that you hear during the greatest scene involving playing beach volleyball in jeans ever put to film. By the way, I love how the bother to tape up their hands but can't spend the time to put on a pair of shorts. My buddy Cousin John and I were planning to film a frame by frame homage using slightly chubby, pasty white people. But it never happened. That's the kind of regret that going to haunt me on my deathbed.

But now; the lyrics-

I’m moving in slow motion,
Feels so good,
It’s a strange anticipation,
Knock, knock, knocking on wood (very subtle, Kenny)
Bodies working overtime
Man against man
And all that ever matters
Is baby who’s ahead in the game
Funny but it’s always the same

Playing, playing with the boys
Playing, playing with the boys
After chasing sunsets
One of life’s simple joys
Is playing with the boys

Tobias Funke could not have written any gayer lyrics.

One more note; the actor who plays Jester is named Michael Ironside. Could there be a cooler more manly last name than Ironside? Maybe Slaughter or Mannilow but I think Ironside wins. Wasn't there a Transformer called Ironside?

Enjoy the article, though there are a few swear words. Fair warning.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What is my major malfunction?

So the other day, I dropped 70 dollars on a tank of gas. I know, griping about gas prices is a pretty obvious and irritating thing to do. But as I was driving away from the Maverick, enjoying my Bahama Mama, I realized I needed a haircut. I also needed to get some pomade and shampoo. This kind of product I get is about $20, but it usually lasts me 6 months. The point is, after getting raped by Texas oil barons and terrorists who want to kill me at the pump, I just wasn’t in the mood to drop another $45 on hair that I don’t really care about. So I buzzed it all off. One of those decisions I immediately regretted. Like eating at Carl’s Jr. Now I look like a fat-faced holocaust victim.

There has only been one other time that I have had a haircut this short. I was getting a standard haircut by Deb at Great Clips, early summer ‘99. Deb was a plump lady that had long finger nails and smacked her gum a lot. And she called me ‘hun’. So Deb is doing the ‘comb the hair up and buzz the top of the comb with the clippers’ technique that seems to be popular among the Dallas Roberts grads. And, I guess she was distracted that day because she accidentally buzzed below the comb. Deb drops the clippers, bursts into tears and says “I just can’t do anything right.” Then plopped down in a chair and sobbed. Deb was having a bad day.

Like most men, I have been trained over a lifetime to immediately concede any opinion or grievance the second a woman starts crying. Instead I say whatever I can to put out the fire. “No! It looks fine. It’s summer, I wanted to go with a flat top. Don’t worry about it! Yeah, I’va always wanted a flat top. It’s okay.” So I ended up with an accidental flat top. I like to think I looked like Dolph Lundgren. But I suspect I looked more like Greg Ostertag.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

God bless you, Sophia Petrillo

Picture it: Sicily 1932.

Estelle Getty died, earlier this week. Which is pretty amazing since she's been 92 years old since 1989.

Sophia, I would like to speak directly to you, now. You are free. No longer will you need to fear being sent to Shady Pines Retirement Center by your 6'5'' daughter. And that Alzheimer's you got in that one episode will no longer afflict you (although it stopped afflicting you the next week). You are free to carry the biggest, most jewel encrusted purse with you to heaven, eat all the cheesecake you want and you will be reunited with your husband whose name I can't remember but Dorothy always called him 'Pop'. In short; If you threw a party, and invited everyone you knew. You would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, 'thank you for being a friend.'

So I love the Golden Girls. Growing up my mom would always watch it on Saturday nights while she vacuumed and did laundry. For being a show about a bunch of old ladies, it was pretty dirty, especially to my 10 year old ears. My mom would laugh her butt off, then realize the impressionable minds of her children were present and say 'that's just filthy.' But she never seemed to change the channel. Sorry to rat you out Mom.

To this day, if I happen to catch a rerun on Lifetime, I will sit and watch the whole episode. For the record, Mitch Hurwitz, creator of Arrested Development (greatest TV show of all time) was a writer for the G squared (that's what the cool kids called it). That's all the credibility it needs, right there.

- Note: I just read the article I linked earlier. Apparently she really did suffer from dementia, which makes my Alzheimer's reference seem a bit crass. And yet, I leave it in.

POP! gurgle, gurgle

So, here I am. Some what reluctantly publishing my thoughts for anyone interested. Kinda like a crazy guy talking to himself on the bus. What he's saying may not make any sense, but it is entertaining to watch.

Like most things, I'm about three years behind the rest of the world (at least). It took me until 1999 to figure out that Stone Temple Pilots kick ass. I didn't get a cell phone until 2004. And it's now 2008 and I'm finally getting around to 'blogging'. I really hate that word by the way. As a noun, but especially as a verb. But like Hannah Montana, hate it all you want, it's not going away.

So enjoy the trivial madness of my mind and feel free to leave anonymous, abusive comments.