Thursday, April 30, 2009

So What Are People From South East Idaho Going to Drive Now?

Earlier this week, GM announced that they were discontinuing production of their Pontiac line. It really is a shame.

Who didn't want to spin out on a dirt road in a black Trans Am with a golden eagle painted on the hood after seeing Smokey and the Bandit? You gotta love the classic GTO, the Firebird even the newer Solstice was a good looking car. And now it's all gone. Does this mean the end of the T Top as well? I'm pretty sure that was a Pontiac exclusive. Man, Bon Jovi never sounded better than when blaring out of a Pontiac T Top in your local Burger King parking lot.

I want highlight a cultural anomaly that is local to the Mountain West. I don't know why it is, but there seems to be a disproportionately large amount of Pontiacs being purchased in South East Idaho. I live in Salt Lake, which is pretty close to our north of the border friends in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Blackfoot and Rexburg. Now I could be mistaken. But it seems that nearly every car I see driving around Utah with the Red, White and Blue Idaho plate with 8B in the corner is a Pontiac. It's usually a Grand Am and often maroon. Now, I'm not drawing any conclusions here. My sarcastic Bon Jovi comment aside, I really do think Pontiacs are damn fine cars. Just check out that beauty at the top of the page. Not a damn thing wrong with that baby. Perhaps there is just one hell of a car salesman working at a Pontiac dealership in Rigby. I imagine that his name is Chet. Or maybe LaDale. And he has an immaculately well groomed mustache.

This raises the question of what will be the new car of choice of Bonneville County now? My guess is the Plymouth. What? They don't make those anymore, either? Hell. Then I don't know. I say, Mercedes for all! I want to make it clear that I'm trying to be snooty. It's just a peculiar aberration is all. Or maybe it's all in my head. Idahoans, feel free to confirm or deny.

There's one more point I'd like to make on the death of Pontiac. Why the hell didn't GM kill the Mercury* line instead? In my lifetime, I have known thousands of people. As I sit and think, of those thousands of people I cannot think of one of them that drove a Mercury. I can think of people that drove Buicks (Grandma Welch swore by them), Oldsmobiles, Daewoos, Plymouths, Suzukees, Internationals, Saturns, Daihatsu and Fiats. I once knew a guy that drove an AMC Eagle. It was badass. But I cannot for the life of me think of one person that I have ever had any personal contact with that drove a Mercury while I was associated with them.

And yet Pontiac gets the ax. Life ain't fair.

*The obvious answer to this stupid question is that Mercury is a Ford brand, not GM. Ten seconds on Google can teach you a thing or two. It just illustrates how big of a gear head I am which of course only adds to my credibility on this subject.

No One Wants To See Your Dog's Anus

This statement is obvious and yet somehow no one ever says it. Time to break the silence.

Look, I'm definitely a dog guy. I always have been. Yesterday, I climbed Grandeur Peak. If your gonna be unemployed and living on the dole, it's nice to be unemployed during springtime in Utah. As I trudged my fat ass up a 2,500 vertical foot climb, there was a couple with a lab about 100 yards behind me. That lab would sprint from them, past me then pick up a stick off the ground, turn around and sprint back to his group, drop the stick and then turn around to do it again. He did this for the entire three and half miles of switchbacks and steep trails to the summit. And throughout my entire hike, I never got tired of watching him triumphantly carry his trophy back to his pack. Dogs have an inherent eagerness that never fails to entertain me.

I almost bought my first house last fall. Considering my current employment situation, it's a really good thing I didn't. But upon almost making the biggest financial commitment of my life, the thing that I found myself thinking about the most wasn't "Now, I gotta buy a fridge." or "I wonder how cheap I pickup a lawnmower on Craig's List." Those were issues on my mind but the number one thing I kept thinking about as I was about to transition into the life of a homeowner was, "Now I can finally buy a dog." That and "closing costs are a thieving crock of bull crap." In many ways, I want a dog more than I want a wife. Feel free to make the obvious joke. (Nothing says funny like buggery!)

Now I don't plan to elaborate on what is already very well trodden ground. If you are a dog lover, you know what I'm talking about. And there's no shortages of canine praising musings out there. If you don't love dogs, well I guess your loneliness has yet to exceed your willingness to pick up poo. And yes, I totally stole that last line from Dimitri Martin. Good for you for catching my plagiarism.

There are many clear advantages of owning a dog over a cat. Happy tail wagging beats creepy purring any day of the week. I'll take an affectionate dog kiss, slobbery as it may be, over a scratchy, gross cat tongue or the way they rub up against your shins. Not to mention the fact that dogs actually like people. Cats just stare at you in silent judgment. I have enough feelings of inferiority from the voices in my head. I don't need some snooty cat strutting around my house thinking it's better than me. But the number one advantage dogs have over cats is the canine propensity toward butthole modesty. Most dogs have a tail that tastefully drapes over their exit ramp. However, no such characteristic exists for cats. This means every time a cat walks away from you, you end up catching a glimpse of the One Eyed Jack. You try not to look. Honestly, it's the last thing on earth you want to see. But it's like a strobe light. Either you intentionally close your eyes, or it catches you. If only for a split second. This is what makes the curly tailed dog so irritating. It negates one of the primarily desirable characteristics of their species.

(I realize, this is the second time I have mentioned cat anuses on my blog. And yes, that fact disturbs me too. I'm not sure what exactly this reveals about me, but it can't be good.)

This of course brings us the title of this entry. I now direct this declaration to the owners of Pugs, Chows, Shar Peis and other dogs with tails that curl up up around their butts. Allow me to respectfully repeat it for you; no one wants to see your dog's anus. No one. Ever. And it's up to you do something about it.

Look guys, the dog's tail is the way it is. For some reason you felt compelled to buy a dog that is genetically predisposed to moon the world. Why you would choose to own a Pug instead of a Beagle or a German Shepherd is beyond me. But some people prefer their dogs to have bulging eyeballs and the inability to breath out of their nose. Whatever blows your hair back, I guess. But it is clear that the dog isn't gonna do anything about their "red eye to the sky" situation. Any animal that gladly licks it's own junk while their owner watches in confusion can't be trusted to employ the decency to hide their rectum from the plain light of day.

This places the burden of hiding the dreaded wrinkled star from the involuntary glance of a reluctant public squarely on the shoulders of you, the dog owner. Now that is a problem that needs a solution. But friend, I would rather light a candle than curse your darkness.

I am currently developing a tasteful and modest "dog butthole cover upper". Basically my prototype consists of a plastic eye patch from an Halloween pirate costume that is connected to the dog's collar. This way when your bug eyed, snorting Pug walks away, you get a glimpse of a cool skull and cross bones instead of the winking eye of death.

It sill has a few kinks to work out. The flapping motion works pretty well but it isn't as smooth as I'd like it to be. It's bad enough to have to pick up a tightly coiled steamer off the neighbors lawn, no matter how many plastic bags are on your hand. You don't want to also have to worry about making sure the "dog butthole cover upper" is poo free. But still, as high maintenance as the DBCU may be, it is still preferred to the alternative of shameless exhibitionism.

So place your orders now. The initial price will be a reasonable $39.99. Currently no national credit cards are accepted. Neither are checks. Just send me an envelope with cash and I'll be sure to get you taken care of. Production won't begin for another few months, but I promise these suckers are going to fly off the shelf so it's wise to plan ahead. Also, if you are interested in investing on the ground floor of what will be the most successful pet accessory in history, you can also feel free to send me a bunch of cash. However much you want. I guess a check made out to "CASH" would also work.

Act now!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bea Arthur, Be Naked

I saw a bumper sticker that said that once and I thought it was funny. In a "make me throw up in my own mouth so the vomit comes out through my nose and burns like hell" kind of way.

But that's a mean thing to say about a classy woman who just passed away. Yup, Bea Arthur, better know as Dorothy Zbornak died yesterday and it's a shame. That's now two of the four Golden Girls that have pass away in the last few months. In fact in my inaugural blog I memorialized the life of Sofia.

I have stated before that I regularly and unapologetically enjoy Golden Girl reruns on Lifetime. At this point I would like to remind you that I am indeed a heterosexual male. But I just love the G squared. From the pilot episode where she ripped on the gay roommate's enchiladas (the gay roommate who was never seen or referred to after that episode) to the finale where she married the guy from Naked Gun all with the blessing of Stan, Dorothy's two-fisted ballsiness was vital component of that fine show.

I considered doing some long winded send off to to our Baritone Beauty but it would have just been a rehash of my Sofia tribute. So instead, I thought I would treat us all to the single greatest moment in the history of the Star Wars franchise. What does Bea Arthur have to do with Star Wars, you ask? Well let me provide an answer that will give you endless joy.

In 1978, in an attempt to capitalize on the success of the first Star Wars movie, some TV producer somewhere greenlit the unholy abomination known as the Star Wars Christmas Special. The story goes that Han Solo needs to get Chewie back to his home planet of Kashyyk in time for Life Day. Apparently they didn't have Christmas a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

One of the many random scenes involves a musical number preformed by our beloved Bea. She is a bartender named Ackmena working in the Mos Eisley Cantina. The Empire has enforced a curfew, putting her out of business. Her response? A deep voiced jazzy, New Orleans style, musical number of course . Take that, evil Empire!

This is not Hardware Wars or Spaceballs. This wasn't a spoof of Star Wars. This is episode 4.5. It starred Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and the rest the original cast. If you doubt my word, check out the following musical number by a coked out of her mind Carrie Fisher in which she sings some crappy Life Day song to the tune of the Star Wars theme. It's hard to see on this old video, but the opening scene is some Wookiees preforming a Life Day ritual. It's creepy.

Mother of God! It really doesn't get any better (or worst depending on your appreciation of ludicrous). The look on Harrison Ford's face that says "What the hell am I doing to my career?". The slow dissolves between the main characters as Leia sings. The clips from the movie seamlessly interwoven with the new footage. The crowd of fully robed Wookiees walking creepily through space. The fact that Carrie Fisher is singing a completely different tune than the music accompanying her. And yet as laughably awful as it all is, it is still more tolerable than Hayden Christensen's acting.

But back to my original point. Bea Arthur, classy broad. You will be missed. Actually, I haven't seen anything you've done since the Golden Girls, except for that one Malcom In the Middle where you babysat Dewey (and then died. . . ). So I guess nothing is really going to change. But Bea, you'll always have a warm place in my heart.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Recklessness Begets Ballsiness

Or maybe it's the other way around. I actually have no idea what I'm trying to say with that stupid title. Disregard.

This is a picture of Breckan biking through Tibet.

Here is a link to my buddy Spencer's latest escapade on his world bike tour. It's worth a read. It's also worth enlarging the pictures. Some really beautiful shots that include Spencer's ratty mustache.

Put simply, they have invaded Tibet. I'm not sure what the international ramifications of this could be but it's not hard to imagine that in the near future Spencer and Charlie will be kidnapped by the Chinese government and forced to play Russian Roulette in some smoke filled back room in a Shanghai brothel. DI DI MOW! Or however you spell it. (It's clear that my only knowledge of Southeast Asia comes from Vietnam movies.)

What's interesting to me is that while they were considering whether to go the safe way or the crazy way, Spencer used the ironclad argument of "Come on!" to persuade his group to plunge head first into the unknown. I've had that discussion before.

Here is a link to Spencer's account of this event.

It was February last year. Spencer, Justin and Travis and I had just spent the day canyoneering through Keyhole canyon in Zion. It was wet and frozen. We had drysuits on which did an amazing job of keeping us warm as we smashed through 5 inches of ice so we could swim through the bottom of the deep slot. This was the first time Justin and I had ever done anything like this. And it happened to be the most extreme conditions possible. Check out the massive amounts of hanging ice that was dangling over our heads the entire time. Did we bother to rent helmets with our drysuits, you ask? No. We're not a bunch of pussies (read people with a shred of common sense). Enlarge these photos for a better idea of what it was like. But it's so hard to get a decent picture in those slots. These really don't do it justice.

That's waste deep water with sandy ice on top.

This shows how much ice there was. There were several long swims where we had to break the ice with our elbows as we tread water.

So we pounded through Keyhole, which is the shortest and easiest slot canyon in Zion. It's also the darkest, wettest and coldest. It was probably about 2:00 when we got to the trail head for Pinecreek. Pinecreek is bigger than Keyhole but still a pretty short canyon. It should have taken us about four hours to finish it, which means we would have been hiking out just as it was getting dark. However, we had a bit of technical problem. Travis had a hole in his drysuit. So he had to drive back to the outfitter we rented it from, get a replacement and drive back. All in all (including a rock slide on the road) that delayed us almost two hours. So it was almost 4:00 when we got to the first rappel in Pinecreek. At this point, there is no going back. Once you start the first descent, you have no choice but to finish the entire canyon.

As Spencer was setting up the rope, it occurred to him that we didn't have any webbing with us. Webbing is used to secure the rope to the anchor. In those pictures, the webbing is the red part and it wears out pretty quickly. Again, it was February and no one (besides Spencer and Charlie) had descended this canyon in months. In that time there had been several flash floods that put the existing webbing through a lot of beating. The first anchor was fine, but we had no way of knowing the condition of the other anchors. And we had no way of repairing them if they were in bad shape. If that were the case, (or if someone turned an ankle or if the hundreds of pounds of pointy ice that was dangling over our helmetless heads came crashing down or if a hundred other things went wrong) we would have had to spend the night in the slot until rescue came the next day.

Here is a picture of Pinecreek from above. You can see how deep and narrow it is. That photo was taken last week in the sunshine.

I remember Travis saying, "The canyon will still be here in a three months when it's warm and dry." And I figured it had already been a fun day, no need to take such a needless risk. We can just return our gear and drive home in the day light. We stood silent for a while as we all waited for someone to say, "Screw it, let's go home." Instead, Spencer broke the silence with the following argument:

"Come on!"
(waits a few seconds)
"Come on!"
(with slightly different inflection)

That's all we needed. We hooked into the rope and rappelled away into unknown darkness.

Did I mention Spencer starts law school this fall? His powers of reason and persuasion cannot be argued. Just imagine him standing up to give a closing argument in defense of a clearly guilty client (I can't see him as anything other than one of the greasy dirtbag lawyers) and saying, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. . . come on. Come on!"

Boom! Acquittal.

We descended Pinecreek without any problems. It was dark when we hiked out and we didn't get back to the rental place until after 10:00. We then drove home exhausted.

It was insane and needlessly reckless. But it was just about the most fun I have ever had. That was the first canyon adventure I've embarked upon. Since then, it has gotten into my blood. I've gone back to Zion now 7 or 8 times since then including last weekend where my big gay brother, Big Gay Al joined us. We did the same two canyons I did that first time. No ice. But it was still cold as hell (even with the wetsuits). But also a lot of fun.

A year plus later Spencer, Breckan, Charlie and some other guy I don't know are along the border of Western China deciding whether to bike the long way around or to risk an international incident by illegally (?) occupying Tibet.

Is there really any question which way they went?

Seriously guys, be safe. Be smart. And don't ever listen to what Spencer says. Ever.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why This American Hates Soccer

Well, it's springtime again. Which means the NBA playoffs have begun their 3 month journey of trying maintain/manufacture interest in their product while stretching it out as long as they can to garner the most TV viewers all while turning their broadcasts into the Sham Wow ads by cross promoting a minimum of 3 summer movies. And if the second of those three comes at the expense of the first, so be it. David Stern is always happy to sacrifice the quality of the NBA for a few more dollars.

Which leads me to my topic of the day. Soccer is infecting the NBA and it needs to stop.

I've written before about how the European influence on the NBA is toxic. In this post from last summer, I primarily focused on the greasy, filthy, sweaty, rotten cabbage smelling look that the majority of these Euros sport. The nasty long hair flipping sweat everywhere, those gay string head bad things and the pansy looking half beards. Read my previous entry for further analysis.

Pau Gasol is the devil.

But by far the worst element of the filthy Euro basketball style is the soccer flops. It is inexcusable the way that the aforementioned influence has turned NBA Basketball into a sport that rewards you for acting like a pussy. And it is all the doing of the alleged sport, soccer.

Before I continue, I need to make one thing clear. I really enjoy women's soccer. Along with volleyball, it works great as a women's sport. I have no interest in watching men play it, but I am almost always entertained with the ladies' version. I'm not sure why this is but if I ever have a daughter, I'm gonna do my best to brainwash her into being a soccer / volleyball chick that makes fun of cheerleaders and dance club. I'm sure that tactic will never backfire.

That being said, there are a whole lot of reasons why I don't like (obnoxious men's) soccer. To name a very few, those reasons would include the following; 0-0 ties, jackass fans insisting it be called football, the idiotic offsides rule, the fact that staring at a horse's ass for 80 minutes is infinitely more entertaining. But there are only three reasons why I hate it. And when I say hate, I mean HATE. And those three reasons are what I want to discuss today.

The First Reason This American Hates Soccer is obvious. I've already mentioned it. By far the worst aspect of the game of soccer is the flopping. The propensity for players to throw themselves to the ground in riving agony while they fake an injury to garner the sympathy of the ref is a repulsive display of cowardice. As a fan of sports in general, any sense of competitive integrity you may have compels you to acknowledge that this practice of acting like a pussy and then expecting a reward for doing so is indefensible. It isn't good strategy, it isn't gamesmanship. And it isn't just a lie. It's a lie at the expense of these player's own manhood. They are pretending to be a frail, weak little bitch in return for a slight advantage given to them by the ref. That it is contrary to the fundamental principle of athletic competition that says, "I'm tougher than you, watch me prove it".


The sniper from Saving Private Ryan has the right idea.

As obnoxious as this is, I don't really care about it. As long as the worst aspects of the game of soccer remain within the realms of soccer, they can act like pussies all they want. But this abomination is no longer quarantined to Europe and Brazil. And this is where I draw the line.

European basketball players were raised on soccer. As such they take these tactics of deception with them when they learn a real sport like basketball. They were taught as children that the best thing to do when competing is to pretend to fall down a lot and to fake injuries while rolling around in fabricated pain. Because what better way to match athletic wits with your opponent than to appear as fragile as possible? Right? But we see more and more, how this tactic has infiltrated the NBA.

Now to be fair, there has always been an element of acting in basketball. No one knew how to draw contact and get to the line better than my beloved Karl Malone. That's one reason why everyone outside of Utah hates his guts. But there is a huge difference between drawing contact or taking a charge and the shameful act of flopping. There is no bartering of your own manhood when you flail your arms out to draw contact as you drive to the basket. Standing in the way of an opposing player that is running at full speed with your arms straight up in the air to draw a charge in no way begs for the pity of the ref. It is the opposite of a flop. You are absorbing the maximum amount of contact for the good of your team. Not pretending to be a pussy for a cheap call. I'm talking to you, Ginobili. And what's the real difference between an actual pussy and someone who accurately portrays the actions of a pussy? The actual pussy at least has a shred of integrity.

Again, the worst aspect of this is the fact that it has spread from the soccer playing Euros to American born NBA players who were raised on basketball. Look at this despicable display from Robert Horry from a few years ago.

This needs to end.

The Second Reason This American Hates Soccer is the following argument made by jackoff soccer fans. "It's the most popular sport in the world! It's only because Americans don't have the attention span so they can't appreciate the subtle nuances of futbol. Soccer is just as physical as football and just as spontaneous as basketball. And it requires the most fitness of any sport. Soccer players are the best athletes in the world. But you refuse to give it a chance. You're already a fan, you just don't know it."

ESPN actually used that last line in an ad campaign in what I imagine was an effort to recruit a larger fan base. In reality it's just insulting. "If you weren't such an ignorant dumbass, you'd like the sport we're telling you to like. But ratings are crap, so I guess you're too stupid to appreciate it." Look, isn't it possible for me to dislike a sport like soccer and not be an ignorant, xenophobic, American pig? Isn't it enough to be bored to tears with it? Why is that a reflection on my alleged lack of intelligence and cultural refinement? Are you telling me that these guys are somehow deep aficionados of subtly? And couldn't the same argument be used to rip Brits for not loving baseball?

Also, Soccer is in no way as physical as football and it's too damn boring to be as spontaneous as basketball. And it does not require the best fitness of any sport. Soccer players are not, repeat NOT the best athletes in the world. Not by a long shot. Boxing, wrestling and hockey all require way more endurance than soccer. That's to say nothing about toughness. Just because the players have to run a lot, doesn't make your sport any more watchable.

The sport that requires the most athleticism, toughness and fitness is easily Rugby. (Whose the ignorant American now?) Which brings me to number 3.

The Third Reason This American Hates Soccer is spite. Pure spite. I am a proud member of the small faction of Americans that love the sport of Rugby. It is a beautiful, glorious, brutal game. And yet, it has no presence in this country at all. None. Considering the amount of football players who don't make it to the NFL, there is an enormous amount of dormant rugby talent in this country. If we ever figured out just how amazing this game is, we would be pretty damn good.

But as it is, we suck. This is where the spite comes in. Because even though soccer is only a blip on the sports loving radar in America (when compared to the NBA, MLB, NFL, NASCAR, College Football, College Basketball, PGA, NHL and Tennis) at least it's a blip. Rugby isn't even that.

Soccer is an NCAA funded sport that has a functional professional league and is competitive in international play. The US isn't going to win the world cup anytime soon. And the MLS is about the same as the WNBA as far sports punchlines go. But I would be thrilled if Rugby had the same presence soccer does.

Next weekend, I will be going to the Collegiate Rugby National Championship where BYU will be competing in the National Final for the fourth straght year (fourth times the charm, fellas!). It is a very well put together tournament held on the beautiful grounds at Stanford University. But it's small. Like, there might be 3,000 people in attendance. That is the sad reality of Rugby in America. The Collegiate National Final (notice I didn't say NCAA) draws the same crowd as an average high school football game.

But there's only room enough on the crowded American sports plate for one weird Euro game, and soccer is taking it all up. Like I said. Spite.

And now some video evidence of the elegant brutality of Rugby. Note the complete lack of people falling down for no damn reason. In fact it almost appears as though the players on the field are doing their best to play as tough as they possibly can. Weird.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Have You Ever Wanted To Murder a Movie Trailer?

Neither have I. Until I was subject to this unholy abomination.

Sweet merciful crap. What did Charles Dickens ever do to deserve to have his most beloved tale massacred liked this? The only possible explanation is that he was secretly a child molesting slave trader. Who knew?

Something tells me that by the end of this movie Matthew McConaughey will learn a valuable lesson about treating women with respect. Unfortunately, the fact that the women who consistently eat this formulaic, romantic comedy slop up with a spoon only illustrates that they deserve no respect at all.

Now that's irony.

Ladies, before you crawl up my ass with indignation, answer me this one question. As you watched the trailer, at 1:58 when it flashed to the shot inside the church with the bride and some crappy song played "Pictures of you!", did your heart flutter a little? Did you involuntarily make the sound "Aaahh" as you raised your eyebrows and tilted your head slightly? If you did, then shame one you. Shame on you for being an easily manipulated sap.

Now ladies, I have no animosity toward you specifically. You really are the victim in this scenario. You are the marks that feel compelled to throw away your money on a story you've already heard a million times, involving characters you've already seen a million times and plot "twists" that can be seen from space. "Oh look, he's standing outside her house in the rain in agony, wishing he hadn't pushed her away while an Ashley Simpson song plays." " Now he's frantically running through the airport trying to catch her before she leaves to Paris so he can explain that he'll change." "Oooo, he's throwing the doors of the church open, stopping her from marrying the really mean rich guy we all hate. I wonder who she'll choose."

See, you are the ones that are duped time and again by lazy producers that know every spring they can milk the same old goat for about $70 million of your dollars. And again, I have no feelings of resentment towards you. I instead feel a measure of pitty. The same pitty I feel when I watch an alcoholic suck spilled beer out of a filthy carpet. But the following grievance cannot be overlooked. It is due to your collective gullibility that Matthew McConaughey is continuously paid insane money to make the same damn movie over and over and over and over. And that is inexcusable.

Ladies, you may be the financial victims* here, but you are also enablers. If you would employ even the smallest amount of scrutiny to your movie watching practices, that jerk off would be forced to do a performance that was slightly different from his previous film thus exposing his complete absence of any discernible talent.

But, Wooderson keeps serving up the same old turd sandwich and you just keep pounding them down. For shame. (Slowly shakes head with eyes closed.)

Ladies, if you take a little time to consider it, you know I'm right. But, I will grant you that in the wake of MM's charm and a familiar story with a happy ending, reason and judgment go right out the window. It happens to the best of us.

I Redboxed The Spirit based solely on the fact that Scarlett Johansen was in it. That was a mistake. Seriously awful movie.

And now by way of contrast and to clear the air of any McConaughey funk, (it smells like a mix of Ax body spray and the pheromones of stupid girls) here is a trailer to a movie that should be really, really good.

Edward Scissorhands, Bruce Wayne and Tommy Guns. Here's hoping Michael Mann has himself another Heat.

*It occurred to me that this is largely an inaccurate assumption. Most of the tickets to these damn movies are paid for by guys on dates. Men have learned that it is well worth the concession of watching an awful chick flick, hoping the honey dripping accent of Wooderson will warm up the bus. If you catch my meaning. But this makes the atrocious taste in movies of the previously mentioned women that much more indefensible. Guys are compelled to shell out twice the ticket price to a movie they don't want to see in an attempt to get some loving from a woman that only really wants to be with the dope whose crappy movie her date just paid eighteen dollars to relluctantly endure. The reverse of this would be very much like a woman inviting a man to a strip club, dropping down some cash for him to enjoy a lap dance all in the hopes that his libido would be so charged and confused that he would then use her as a proxy to release his pent up energy while his memories of "Shasta" were still fresh on his mind. In the history of time, how many first dates have ever gone down like that?

I know, it's a shock that I'm single.

To be clear, that second scenario does not appeal to me in the least. It sounds pretty gross.

Lord, I'm Five Hundred Miles From My Home.

So I did a little bit of driving, last week. Actually, it was a hell of a lot of driving. I flew to Rochester, New York and drove a car 2,400 miles back to Salt Lake. My brother bought the car on an auction and I was in the mood for a road trip. So I offered to shuttle it back. It's nice to get out on an empty highway with a full tank of gas, set the cruise at 85 and zone out to fantastic music. At least it's nice for about 2,000 miles. The last 400 or so were pretty brutal. And the fact that they were spent driving from Rawlins, Wyoming didn't help.

Here are a few highlights:

- Jessica, the nice shuttle bus driver at the airport that gave me a lift 30 miles from Rochester to Leroy, New York to pick up my car. She did this on her day off in her own car for twenty bucks. A cab would have cost me fifty.

- $1.85 gas and $30 dollar hotels. The down economy isn't all bad.

- My Ipod Battery. Holy crap! Between the flight to New York and the three days of driving, I probably listened to 40 hours of music off the old Ipod without charging it. I was pretty bummed when I realized I forgot my car charger and figured I would be jamming out to AM radio the last two days. But when I pulled into Salt Lake, the Ipod battery light wasn't even in the red. Amazing.

- Listening to AM Coast to Coast. Lunatic conspiracy theories about how Obama is in cahoots with the Illuminati are best received when listening to them on a crackling radio while driving down a lone highway in Indiana under a full moon at 2:00 in the morning. The same way ghost stories are best told around a camp fire with a flashlight pointing up your nose.

- Rediscovering how much I love Peter, Paul and Mary.

- Biscuits and Gravy at that truck stop in Davenport, Iowa. I like it when waitresses call me "hun".

- Driving into the Nebraska sunset while listening to Explosions In The Sky. (Stupid video, but amazing song.)

A few lowlights:

- Eating Burger King at the Salt Lake airport before my flight. Always a bad move.

- Cornless Iowa. I have driven this strentch of highway before. But in previous trips, it was in July and August. I love driving through agricultural areas. Endless fields of green crops, sprinkler pipes, white farm houses and red barns are some of the most pleasant scenery you can drive through. It makes you want to sing John Denver. "Life ain't nothing but a funny, funny riddle . . ." But there are no amber waves of grain in early April. Just a lot yellow grass.

- That horrible noise that happens when your cell phone is too close to a speaker. I hate that sound.

- Missing Lost. Man that one hurt. For those of us that have been hooked on this show for years, this season is delivering big time. Season 5 is the Mormon Honeymoon. After years of frustrated anticipation, finally some pay off. It was tough to postpone my viewing a few days. But I just finished watching "Dead Is Dead" on and let me tell ya, it was huge! On the bright side, I only now have to wait three days to see the next episode. All good things come to those who wait. (I'm applying that statement to both aspects of my little metaphor.)

- Cheyenne to Evanston. That is a brutal stretch of road. I love the state of Wyoming. I have a lot of family from there and have spent a lot of time enjoying what "Big Wonderful" has to offer. Between Star Valley, the Tetons, Jackson, Yellowstone, The Windrivers there is no shortage of natural awe in Wyoming. But the southern edge of that state is the nutsack of creation. Wind swept desolation and sad little towns.

- The Ohio and Indiana turnpikes. For a guy born and raised in the west, toll roads are an inexcusable nuisance. Look Ohio, where do you get the balls to charge me $11.70 for the honor of driving through your precious state on your fancy pants toll road? It's I-80. The exact same I-80 that runs by my house. The same I-80 that is free to drive down for thousands and thousands of miles. Why is it free? Because it is part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, paid for and maintained by federal tax dollars. And yet for some reason, we need to pay for pleasure of driving through the section that goes through the sainted land of Ohio. Gas taxes weren't any cheaper. The road wasn't any nicer. I guess the flat, monotonous scenery of Sandusky is too overwhelming to be complimentary. And it's not even the money that pissed me off. It was stopping at a toll booth fifty times in a day to stand in line.

Confound your toll, troll. (snaps) SSSSSSSSSS.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Look That Needs To Go Away, Forever

Disclaimer: As I wrote this, several friends of mine that sport the shaved head / goatee look came to mind. If you are one of those friends, please feel free to completely disregard this. You're also welcome to tell me to go to hell in the comments. I mean who am I to tell anyone how to look, right?

With that said and at the risk of antagonizing Stone Cold, it is time for this to be declared loud and clear. The shaved head with goatee look needs to die a quick death. Guys, you don't look tough. You don't look dangerous. You look like a guy that's trying to look tough and dangerous. And that never works. You look like an angry high school football coach. Not the kind that loves the game of football and enjoys influencing the lives of young men. No, I mean the asshole that takes pleasure in verbally abusing teenagers that are desperately trying to impress them. The guy that has made a profession out of being a vulgar bully. Of course you don't need to have the scalp goat to qualify as the second type of coach. Take for example, one particular football coach from the greater Salt Lake City area circa 1996ish. For the sake of anonymity, let's call him Larry Wilthon. He had a full head of hair (and back and shoulders and butt) and had no consistent goatee but he was the living definition of the term "asshole football coach that takes pleasure in verbally abusing teenagers that were desperately trying to impress him." I'm just saying the scalp goat points you in this direction. And it's certainly an area to be avoided.

Yes, nothing says "I am angry and poorly educated" quite like the scalp goat. "I aspire to be a bouncer at a strip club." I thought that after Mark Hacking, this thing would have died out. The same way you don't see any Hitler mustaches anymore.

Before I go on, let me make one thing clear. This only applies to white guys. Black guys almost always look good with a shaved head and some kind of facial hair. Jordan, Barkley, Michael Wilbon, post 1996 Karl Malone, Gordon from Sesame Street, Humpy the Bear. Handsome devils, everyone of them. This look works for all of them. But name me one white guy with the scalp goat who doesn't look like White Power Bill from Arrested Development.

In fact, not only does this tandem need to be forever retired, both elements of it need to fade away as well.

Look guys, no more shaving of the heads. Can we agree on that? (Again, this does not apply to the brothas.) A few months ago, I highlighted the ridiculous lie that is the comb over. In that post I praised confident, dignified bald men everywhere that have the defiant courage to trim their sides tight and be unapologetically bald. The same principle applies to head shaving. Now, there is no real comparison between the laughable facade that is a comb over and shaving your head. Going the Bic route is certainly a preferred alternative. But that is only when that alternative is a comb over. Unless you're Bruce Willis or Billy Corgan, you look better sporting what hair you have left than a shiny, shiny, bare skull.

The other half of this combo that needs to die is the damn goatee. Ten years ago I proudly coined the phrase "mullet of the 90's" to describe these things. They were the kind of fashion trend that sure looked good at the time, but would soon become comically dated. Unfortunately, I was premature in my declaration. We're now at the end of the next decade and they're still going strong.

Now I'm not going to go so far as to say that all goatees must go for good. There is a time and place for them. And that place is college. Rather, your early to mid twenties. But unless you're Robert De Niro in Heat, you can't pull off a goatee if you are over the age of 25. I'm talking to you, Kyle Whittingham.

To be able to really make that goat work, you have to be one cool son of a gun. It is important to note, that the goat never makes you any cooler than you already were. In fact, if you try to increase your coolness with such an accessory but lack the foundation to make it word, it backfires horribly. If you are a grown man, and you wear a shirt and tie to work, you should never have a goatee. Ever. It doesn't make you look young or hip. It makes you look douchey.

This goes triple for soul patches or flavor savors or nipple ticklers or whatever you want to call them. Again, when you're a backward baseball hat wearing, quarters playing, roofy dropping college jackoff, the soul patch fits the description of what you are. However, when you grow up and get a job that requires you to wear pants, the soul patch makes you look like that guy who never stops talking about "back in the day" when they were a backward baseball hat wearing, quarters playing, roofy dropping college jackoff. You don't ever want to be that guy.

Perhaps the worst part about this whole goatee thing is that a full, manly beard always looks good. Every time. Without exception. Well , one exception. But he's an ugly bastard regardless. Whenever a guy can grow a stupid looking goat, that means there's a proud, testosterone flaunting, full beard being shackled. (Did this post just turn really gay?) Take for example Kevin Yukilis, the first baseman for the mighty Red Sox. I love Yuke. I love him. (Yes it did.) But look at this picture. Now look at this picture of him during the playoffs when he grew the whole beard out. There's no comparison. The Lumberjack will always beat White Power Bill.

There is one exception to the no goat rule. And that is the academic goat. This is reserved for men who are at least 55 years old, who have a good amount of gray to their beard and wear lots of tweed. For this specific goat to work, it needs to come to a swirly point. It also is nicely complimented with some wire framed glasses. This is the Lenin. Or the George Albert Smith. That's a classy look. But it is one of the few moments where it is acceptable.

So let's all do our part in making this trend go away. The next time you see a guy with a shaved head and goatee, point and laugh. Unless he has a visible swastika tattoo. If that's the case, it's probably best to just leave him alone. Of course, what the hell do I know? I certainly wouldn't advocate the world look like me. "Hey, everyone should have a giant, fat head and constantly look like they're pissed off, even though they're not." Yeah, probably not.

Just for tricks, here is a clip of White Power Bill (a shiny building of a man) from the first season of Arrested Development. There's a lot of other stuff in this clip too. Anyong. I'm not going to bother explaining it. I've said a thousand times already, but you really need to watch this show.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Everything Was Roses When We Held Onto The Guns: Five Badass Whistle Solos

Nice bulge, Axl.

There are a few universal truths we can always count one. During insecure times, such fundamental principles provided stability and comfort. It's something we can always trust. For example: Anyone who drives an H2 is a huge asshole. Write it down. It is always true. Here's another one: Every spring, the Utah Jazz will kick Brian right in the balls. Again, it is undeniable. It's not a very pleasant fact but there is a strange reassurance that comes with its clockwork consistency. "The Jazz are self destructing? It must be April, again."

But the fundamental principle of truth that I want to focus on today is the following: If you're listening to a Guns N Roses song that begins with Axl whistling, it's gonna be a really really good song! Now clearly that statement is so obvious it's unnecessary. It's like saying, "Water is wet." or "Men don't want their daughters to be strippers."

"Patience", "Civil War", "You Ain't The First", "Breakdown". It can't be argued. Axl's expressive pucker providing the peaceful, innocent chimes countered by the rhythms of Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven (or Matt). It's a winning formula that never fails.

By the way, how big of a junkie did Steven Adler (GNR's original drummer) have to be to get kicked out of Guns N Roses? How bad of a drug fiend to you have to be for this guy to tell you, "Dude, you're out of control. You gotta get your life together." Anyone who has watched Sober House, can tell you that Steven one sad, derelict soul.

So, with that said I would like to now highlight five songs that feature really cool whistle solos.

I know that none of you really like it when I do these "5 song" lists. These posts are consistently the least read of any on my blog. But you know what? I don't care. You're probably saying to yourself, "Ah hell, not another self indulgant display by Brian where he prattles on and on about how his particular musical tastes are 'amazingly awesome'." Well that may be true. But before you browse through this entry without reading it or watching the clips, please do this one thing:

Watch the second clip on Paul Simon on Sesame Street. Do it. Seriously. See? Wasn't that worth the time? Now go back and start from the begining. You'll be a better person for it.

Breakdown - Guns N Roses, Use Your Illusion II 1991

Do you remember when Youtube didn't suck? It's way too hard to find a good clip nowadays. Please disregard the first 30 seconds of this clip. It's the only video of Breakdown I could find. Stick with it.

I need to make something very clear. GNR does not qualify as "Butt Rock". They are too damn good to dragged down by the comically exaggerated mediocrity that surrounded them. Yes, they came out of the LA club scene in the 80's and yes Axl had really big hair in the "Welcome to the Jungle" video. But don't for a second lump them together with Warrant, Twisted Sister or Poison. Guns N Roses could have been the next Rolling Stones. I say that without the least bit of sarcasm and as an avid Stones fan. GNR was legit. You don't have to incorporate any level of Pro Wrestling style kitch to enjoy them. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things about Axl you can snicker about. But unlike the rest of the Butt Rock ilk, they are not enjoyable simply because they are so bad. They had a gritty, ballsy, boozy realism that Bon Jovi never touched. If only Axl wasn't a bipolar asshole, they would have pumped out a dozen more albums by now. It really is a shame.

Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard - Paul Simon, Paul Simon 1972

In a radical shift in gears, I'm going from kissing Guns N Roses' butt to enjoying Paul Simon on Sesame Street. I love this clip. That little girl cracks me up. "You can dance with me!" Look at Paul's face. He's asking himself, "How can I get this adorable little girl to shut the hell up?". He can't come up with a good way to do it, so he just cuts her off.

I Love You Because - Elvis Aaron Presley, The Sun Sessions 1954

This was recorded at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee by Sam Phillips when Elvis was a truck driver back in 1954. Do you remember the scene in "Walk The Line" where Johnny Cash first records "Folsom Prison"? That was depicting Sam Phillips and Sun Records. If there was a single place where Rock and Roll was born, it was Sun Records.

Elvis starts the song off with nice song bird whistle which really sets the tone for the shamelessly mopey lyrics. "Most of all I love because you're you." Pretty damn cheesy. But Elvis's tender vocals and the weepy electric guitar totally sell it. I love this song.

Blackbird - The Beatles, White Album 1968

I'm kind of cheating on this one. There really isn't a whistle solo here, but I'm going to count the birds chirping. I don't know of a better musical example that illustrates that beauty is most often found in understated simplicity.

Patience - Guns N Roses, G 'N R Lies 1988

Here is the second installment of our GNR bookends. Damn it I wish I could have seen these guys live. I saw Velvet Revolver a few years ago and it was amazing. But with no Axl strutting around the stage in spandex briefs, giant boots and a Jesus shirt, it just wasn't the same. Who else could pull off an extended whistle solo to a sold out arena?

NOTE: You'll notice that Andrew Bird is not featured in any of these selections. "But he has a whistle solo in everyone of his songs. How can you leave him out?" Well to answer your question, you hipster jerk off, Andrew Bird is crap. Pure crap. I went to a free concert last summer that featured Josh Ritter (one of my very favorite contemporary artists) and Andrew Bird. The only thing more tedious than his looped violin chords and his ear bleeding (not in a good way) whistling was the pretentious douches all around me listening with their eyes closed. "He plays a violin. Therefor his music has depth." Nope. Pure crap.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sham Wow Guy Gets Beaten Up By Hooker

In all my wildest dreams, I don't think I could imagined a more satisfying headline.

I'm sure you've probably already heard this. It's all over the web and I'm a few days late on this but I don't care. My buddy sent me a link to this article today. Hilarious!

Are you like me? Have you ever been enjoying yourself some quality television after a hard day, maybe some Golden Girls reruns, only to have your peaceful moment shattered by this faux hawked, pointy faced jaggoff bombarding you with demands that you buy his shammy. If you are like me, then in those moments of interrupted peace, you then think to yourself, "I wish someone would beat the hell out of that guy." Well friends, our collective wish has been granted.

By the way, why is he wearing a mic headset? Is he a backup dancer for Madonna? He is speaking in a virtually empty studio. I'm pretty sure that it isn't even plugged in. Why then go with the "I am a massive tool" prop?

Vince Shlomi (that's right, his name is Shlomi) dropped a thousand dollars on a hooker last week. Now I'm going to ignore the travesty that a dick like this even has a thousand dollars of hooker money lying around. For all we know it was his last thousand dollars. Vince takes the hooker to his $750 a night hotel room where he proceeds to work his world famous charm. Alright, now I am pissed. $750 a night? Seriously, who is buying these damn Sham Wows and giving this guy this kind of disposable money?

In the middle of their "business transaction" Vince tried to kiss the hooker. Now, I know nothing about the ins and the outs of purchasing the services of a hooker. Give me another 10 years of celibacy and that may change. But as it stands now, I am speaking from ignorance. But I did once watch HBO's Taxi Cab Confessions, where I learned that hookers never let their Johns kiss them on the mouth. Seems like a bit of an arbitrary rule considering their line of work but I guess rules are rules. Upon this violation (a very relative term in the life of a hooker), Vince's date for the evening then bit down on his tongue, refusing to release it. They then got into a fistfight while his tongue was locked between her teeth. I'm going to give you a second to picture that.

You know how when dogs mate, they get stuck together for like five minutes after the deed? I have no idea why that happens, but it does. I was watching some nature show where two wolves were in that particular position when they decided that they didn't like each other anymore. They then proceeded to fight each other, while they their butts were stuck together. It was hilarious.

Vince and the hooker are a lot like this, but it's even funnier. Imagine Vince pulling back his tongue, only to have his date for the evening bite down harder. They then start wailing on each other at point blank rage while screaming unintelligible, clinched mouthed noises.


Try this right now, as your reading. Punch and imaginary person who is literally right in front of your face as if either they were biting your tongue or you were biting theirs. It's hard to do. You can't get any extension. No follow through. This is the awkward fighting motion our friends were compelled to use. Yet, look at that mug shot. She beat him up pretty good. For for you, hooker.

Both Vince and the hooker were arrested. Vince later was admitted to the hospital where he had to explain to at least one well respected doctor that his tongue was nearly bitten off when he tried to french kiss a woman whose primary job description involves performing fellatio on truckers.

Karma is real.

That's what you get Vince. That's what you get for cluttering up my TV time with your overly aggressive, extra douchey sales pitch that accosts the airwaves every other minute. You get your tongue bitten off by a hooker with the whole world laughing at you. Pointing and laughing.

Now we just need the bearded Oxyclean guy who constantly shouts for no apparent reason to suffer a similar, humiliating, public injury. "Fistfight with hooker" is taken, so we need something else. He looks like a bear to me. Maybe something involving a glory hole and a mousetrap. That would give him a reason to shout.

Just throwing some ideas out there.

UPDATE: So it's now been a week since Vince's little run in with Toothy McChompers and you know what? I haven't seen his crappy commercial on the air through that entire time. Not for the ShamWow or his stupid Slap Chop thing. It might be that I'm just lucky and have just happened to miss them. But there's a chance that in the wake of this humiliation, they have pulled them all together.

If that is the case I would like to personally thank Toothy McChompers for her public service. Now she just needs to infiltrate Geico and infect their head of advertising with Hepitius C or something.