Saturday, November 26, 2005

When I Close My Pop Eye...Will You Dream (Dream) About Meeee?

Ok, folks...I'm off to New York so I'm not sure when I'll get to blog next. Let me just throw a few things at you in a last ditch attempt to entertain.

Item #1 - Britney Spears may soon be appearing on Broadway as the title character in "Sweet Charity". Looks like I'm moving to the Big Apple just in time! I'm really happy about this. Obviously, Broadway's standard of talent is at an all-time low now which means that I am one step closer to the dream of playing either Eponine in "Les Miserables" or Sandy in "Grease". Hey, it could happen.

Item #2 - Pat Morita just died. Bummer. Mr Miyagi was a cool cat. You kind of get the feeling that a guy who can catch a fly with chopsticks will live forever, but it was not to be. RIP, Pat.

Item #3 - Jessica and Nick are calling it quits. For real this time. It's rather anti-climactic isn't it? After all, this story has been making its rounds in the tabloids since the two got married. Oh well, all reality TV shows get canceled at some point and most Hollywood marriages end. The odds weren't in their favor. They will both still continue to make crappy music, just separately.

Item #4 - Two women were injured during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade when a balloon got tangled up on a street lamp, knocking part of it off. Oh great! As if it's not bad enough that I have to worry about random muggings, subway stench, crazy cabbies and running into Britney's no-talent ass...just one more thing to make me nervous about my move. Giant, runaway balloons. I hope my new health insurance covers that.

That's about it for now! Don't worry, I won't be gone for long. And Tom Cruise will still be a jackass by the time I return to the land of Blog.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Thanksgiving PSA

And now a very special Thanksgiving Day message from Tom Turkey:



I've never agreed with eating turkey, ever. Before I was a Scientologist I never agreed with eating turkey. And when I started studying the history of Thanksgiving, I understood more and more why I didn't believe in eating turkey.

You have to understand this. Here we are today where I talk out against drugs and psychiatric abuses of people, okay, against their will, of drugging children with them not knowing the effects of these drugs. Do you know what Tryptophan is? Do you know? Do you know now that Tryptophan is a street drug? Turkeys are being bought off of supermarket shelves every day. Do you understand that?

People. People...people...people. People! People. Here's the problem, people. You don't know the history of Thanksgiving. I do. All this tradition of turkey eating, saying it's giving thanks, it's all just masking the problem. If you understand the history of it, it masks the problem. That's what it does. That's all it does. There is no such thing as food that makes you tired. Food shouldn't make you pass out. This tryptophan, this is a mind-altering drug. This is dangerous. And the problem with the media and the Charlie Brown specials and all of that is that there's misinformation, okay? No one understands the history of Thanksgiving. No one understands the history of this turkey drug.

You people, you sit around your tables and gorge yourself on meat and you laugh. You laugh about how the men all fall asleep watching the football game. You're glib. You don't even know what tryptophan is. I've researched this. Do you know why turkeys were served at the first Thanksgiving? The Pilgrims were using this turkey drug to take advantage of the Indians. The Indians brought corn. Isn't that wonderful? Amazing vegetable, corn. A-maize-ing. And what did the Pilgrims do? They could've had buffalo, rabbit, deer...no, they had turkey. They gave these poor, unsuspecting Indians turkey so that when the tryptophan knocked them out, the Pilgrims could steal their land. Tryptophan was being used to mentally manipulate people long before mickeys and roofies. This is documented. These are facts. Historians don't know. The people at Butterball don't know. They haven't done the research. I have.

I know people who don't eat turkey on Thanksgiving. I've helped people get off turkey for good. I've gotten them off the tryptophan, and they're happy. Their lives are better for it. You owe it to yourselves to live the best lives you can, people. So, this year, don't knowingly feed your children, your friends, your loved ones...don't knowingly load them up with this substance. Be responsible. Put your mental health before tradition. Order Chinese or something. Just remember, no MSG. I love you all.

Inspiration = self-amusement + boredom + insomnia + Today show transcript

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gonna Get, Gonna Get... Marrrried

I don't know if many of you know this, but Christina Aguilera is an avid reader of The Pop Eye. America's favorite dirrty girl enjoys being degraded, and I try to help her out whenever I can. Being one of her favorite writers, I was invited to her wedding to whats-his-face. We'll call him J-Brat.

I don't think any pictures from the nuptials have been published yet, so this is quite a scoop for me. Here is your first peek at the blushing bride:



Never one to follow outdated customs, Christina entertained her guests by foregoing the traditional "tossing of the bouquet" and opted for a more modern "tossing of the panties". Cameron Diaz caught them, ensuring that she would be the next to marry her beau, Justin Timberlake. Either that or she will be the next to come down with the clap.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Unforgettable Ego

In a recent interview on 60 Minutes, U2's Bono declared that his activist work will most likely be forgotten in 100 years, but his music will live on. His faith in U2's musical longevity is due to his belief that their songs "occupy an emotional terrain that didn't exist before our group did". He declared that, at 45, he wasn't ready to burn out or fade away just yet and that he was looking forward to making more "extraordinary" music with his bandmates. Ok, then.


At the risk of pissing off one of my most loyal readers (sorry, Layla) I have to say that Bono gets more and more on my nerves every day. What an ego on this guy! He started to bug me back around the time that Achtung, Baby came out, when he started buzzing around with those enormous sunglasses, pretending he was a fly. Still, that was a great record so I didn't let it affect me too much.

Then, with Zooropa,the quality of music started to decline and Bono sprouted devil horns to become "MacPhisto". At that point, I really started to feel bad for the guy. I was sure that he had made so much money that he really had become "crazy rich", so to speak. I figured his mind just snapped under the stress of intense fame and success.

My suspicions were confirmed, at least in my own mind, when U2 didn't put out another record for four years, and when they did it was the weird, wannabe disco album, Pop. Finally, a bit of the old U2 resurfaced in 2000 with All That You Can't Leave Behind. However, I feel that record, as well as the latest, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, are more "U2-light". They don't have quite the same edge as they once did, and many of their songs seem awfully formulaic. (Hmm, maybe they should go back to the short, snappy album titles.)

Now, I'm not saying that they can't evolve and should've released six more versions of The Joshua Tree. Not at all. They were evolving. The change between that signature record and Achtung, Baby was fascinating. U2 was able to go in a completely different musical direction and experiment with a more dance-beat sound, while still staying true to their rock roots. So, what happened after that? The two follow-up records were pretty uninspired, if not completely boring, and the most recent two have been little more than standard pop fare, boasting the occasional gem. I can see glimpses of the old U2 in songs like "Beautiful Day" and "Miracle Drug", but aside from that they seem content to rest on their laurels by churning out a few hits at a time and charging Average Joes a week's salary for concert tickets.

U2 absolutely deserves their recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I am by no means trying to suggest that they aren't worthy of their successes. They influenced an entire generation and continue to make good music. I guess the issue I have is that Bono is talking about continuing to make "extraordinary" music, and he hasn't really done that since he killed The Fly. I think U2 still has it in them, but they'll never recapture the musical magic that they once had until they stop believing in their own hype.

And Bono, when you become almost as pretentious and annoying as Tom Cruise, that means you need to bring it down a few notches. Please. As I often say, I'm a lover of all things Irish. So, stop being such a gobshite.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Putrid Pop-Culture Parlance


Ever notice how certain phrases go in and out of cultural fashion? Generally, they go out of style because a large portion of idiots out there use said phrases about every 7.4 minutes in casual conversation, making the rest of the normal population sick enough to want to stop speaking altogether. Or maybe that's just me.

I remember when "Where's the beef?" was a flippant way of complaining about fast food. Then it became the punchline to a handful of dirty jokes. From there, it became part of everyday chatter, used as anything from an unsatisfied housewife's lament to a replacement for "how are you?". The little Wendy's catchphrase mutated rapidly and became a linguistic monstrosity. Other expressions that have followed that same path are "cool beans", "I'm a happy camper", "alrighty then", "whazzzzup" and just about any sentence ending with the word "bitch", as in "I'm Rick James, bitch". If people out there would just use these phrases in moderation, life would be a lot sweeter and I wouldn't have those recurring fantasies where I climb to the top of a bell tower with a high-powered rifle.

Here now, is my list of current phrases that are making me insane:

1. "My bad" - I think I mentioned this somewhere else before, but it bears repeating. Oh, it's not quite as commonplace as it used to be. It's clearly trying to die, but certain tribes of collegiate, wannabe hipsters just keep resuscitating it. Whatever happened to "oops" or "I'm sorry"? I'd even take a "sorry, dude"! This is just a phrase for people who hate grammar or who just like to bask in the glow of their own annoyance. But, if you were to point out to such a person how much those two little words irritate you, they would just say it again. And whether it was to be a smart-ass or to sincerely apologize, it's really not worth going to jail over. So, try to ignore it if you can.

2. "I heart ____" - People who talk like this are always soooo cool. At least in their own minds. This is especially popular with the "Ironic Age". I don't even know where this all started. For years and years, people have been using the heart symbol to represent love when they write something. It's just shorthand. No one ever read those messages literally. I think this all came about with that movie, I *Heart* Huckabees. It wasn't until after that came out that I started noticing people speaking in this bizarre manner. "I heart this" and "I heart that". Well, to all you heart hearters...er heart lovers, I *brain* that you all *nose*. Ha ha! Take a break from pretending to remember the '80s and figure that one out. Or do something more constructive, like trying to think up a term for Prince's old name symbol.

3. "Get er done" - All the project managers at my last job said this constantly. Funny, as they rarely got anything done.

4. "Can you hear me now?" - Yes, we can all hear you and it's hilarious. Gee, you sound just like that Verizon commercial! How clever! Now put the phone down and order your freaking yuppie latte, there are 15 people in line behind you.

5. "Jumping the couch" - Sort of a take-off on "jumping the shark", this term for being insanely, visibly in love was coined after Tom Cruise put on his little puppet show on Oprah. I hate that a catch phrase was created because of Tom Cruise, especially for an action that was so ridiculously phony. Then again, I am happy to hear the expression "Tom Cruise is a jackass", or any variation thereof, in general discussion. That one never really gets old.

These are hurting my head, so I think I'll stop at five. Feel free to chime in with your most hated phrases. And if I've offended any habitual users out there, well excuuuuuse me! My bad, dude! Like, totally fer sure omigod...sorry, Charlie. Don't have a cow. Get over it. Don't worry, be happy. Yadda yadda yadda, wubba wubba wubba...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Instant Karma's Gonna Get You

Oh-oh, I need to right a wrong here. I left someone off my strange celebrity crush list below. I don't want to have bad karma come back and bite me in the ass because of it, so I give you...

Jason Lee - I don't know how I could've forgotten Jason. My Name is Earl has to be the funniest show on TV right now. I'm not really familiar with much of his other work, primarily because he's been in a lot of Kevin Smith movies and I never really got hip to that whole scene. I've seen bits and pieces of a few, but never bothered to sit down and watch one of his films in its entirety. There's only so much Ben Affleck one person can take.

The only Jason Lee movies I've seen all the way through are Dreamcatcher and The Incredibles. The former was one of the most mind-numbingly stupid pieces of garbage I've ever had the misfortune of watching. I can't believe that Morgan Freeman actually took a part in that crap-fest. I should've known it would stink, because it was based on a Stephen King book. The only King stories that translate well to film are of the non-supernatural variety. Jason actually brought a glimmer of entertainment to the movie, but his character didn't last very long. It's never smart to kill off the most engaging character in a movie early on. Maybe the director was actually trying to make a bad film? If that's the case, then he gets two snaps up in a circle.

The Incredibles was obviously animated, so the only part of Jason the audience gets is his voice in the body of Syndrome, the villain. Still, I enjoyed his "performance".

I was hesitant to watch My Name is Earl because I assumed, based on the promos for it, that it would be little more than another one-note sitcom following in the redneck footsteps of Jeff Foxworthy and that "get 'er done" gang. I didn't watch when it first aired, but a few weeks into the season I was sitting home on a Friday night with nothing to do and nothing to watch, and NBC had an Earl marathon. I got to catch up by watching the first three episodes, and about 5 minutes into the first episode I quickly realized that my initial assessment of the show was dead wrong. Earl Hickey may be a redneck, but that's not what defines him. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he's a genuine and funny "everyman". His decision to let karma rule his life, a concept that he believes was created by Carson Daly, makes him a very charming, endearing character.

The supporting cast is full of comedic talents who create entertaining characters, but Jason Lee isn't in danger of having another actor run away with his show. He's created a really intriguing personality in Earl, and I look forward to tuning in to him every week.

As far as Jason being on my weird crush list, he makes it primarily because I love him in this role. He makes me want to go scout the nearest trailer park for someone just like him. He is very funny, but can also infuse some sweetness into his character which I love. His hair is messy, and I dig that. I have a thing for guys with "bed-head". The facial hair annoyed me at first. I have never been a fan of facial hair, except for the occasional soul patch or stubble. In fact, I've only kissed one guy in my life who had a full-on mustache and all I could think about was what he had for dinner that night and if particles of food were going to end up in my mouth. Disgusting, right? Well, sorry mustachioed guys, that's just how my warped mind works. Earl's mustache is definitely out of control but it suits him. And even though I tend to go for the clean-shaven types, Jason Lee is one of those guys who actually looks better with facial hair.




See?

From The Sexiest Man Alive to Men with...Something

OK folks, time for me to lay it all on the line here. I like hot men. All girls do. I also like funny men. I always say that a good sense of humor is the most important quality for a man to have, and most people probably think I'm full of it. But, I'm going to prove to you right now that I'm not that superficial by listing my strange celebrity crushes. These are guys who I'm digging right now (or have dug for a while), who are not the typical Hollywood idols. Then, if you are curious about what my idea of "hot" is, check out my old post The Pop Eye Hot 10. A post which, I just noticed, has a glaring omission....no John Taylor. Well, whatever. He knows he's hot.

And now without further ado, and for lack of a better title, The Pop Eye Lukewarm 10:

Chris Parnell - Chris has been a cast member of Saturday Night Live for the past eight years. Actually, I think he either was fired or quit, but then brought back soon after. Good move on their part. He's one of the funniest guys they have! After Will Ferrell left (another not-so-sexy guy, but who's on my "marriage-material" list) the show really lost a lot of it's lustre. It seems to be in another one of those slumps that it goes through every now and again. Now, I know it's "hip" to pick on SNL but I refuse to do it. They still come up with some funny stuff. Anyway, I absolutely adore this guy. He's hilarious. He seems to have a very self-depracating sense of humor which is oddly attractive. What can I say...I love the comedians.

Seth Meyers - Sticking with SNL cast members for a moment, I'd also like to give a shout-out to Seth. Now, I actually do find him rather cute, even without the funny. Not gorgeous, but definitely handsome. Although, he was doing an impression of Ty Pennington on the show one time and took his shirt off and I must say....that impression certainly left an impression! The guy is ripped! Being a lover of all things Irish, I especially enjoy his character Patrick Fitzwilliam (or was he William Fitzpatrick?) on the fake show, "Top O' the Mornin'". He also played the host of a home-improvement show spoof, "You Call This a House, Do Ya?". Good stuff, good stuff. But, he totally won me over when he played a Pittsburgh Steeler fan trying to hit on Paris Hilton (oh yeah, she was a fantastic host) in a bar. He had the Pittsburgh accent, which most people don't know we have, totally down. Or I guess I should say, in Pittsburghese, "he had it totally dahn 'n at". I believe Seth is from Boston, but his dead-on portrayal of a Pittsburgh schlub makes me wonder if he ever lived here or has friends from here. Seth, you need to call me so we can talk.

Gabriel Byrne - Ooh...a saucy, older, Irish gentleman. Not too many women I know find Gabriel attractive. I can't figure out why that is. I think he's hot. So yes, he does appeal to my superficial side, but he still belongs on the list because he's not on a million other "hot" lists. God, I love that accent. He's not particularly funny, but he's a good actor. He's always "the troubled guy" or "the guy with the shady past". Those parts suit him well.

Craig Ferguson - Now here's a guy who I think could be Gabriel Byrne's brother, or at least his long lost cousin. They have some similar features. Again, I'm a sucker for the dark hair and the accent. His is Scottish, which is a wee bit different, but it's close enough. I rarely watch his Late Late Show, but the few times I've seen it, he seems to be a pretty comical guy. People say he was funny on The Drew Carey Show, but I never watched that either.

Ryan Stiles - Another veteran of that Drew Carey show I've never seen, Ryan is my favorite guy on the other Drew Carey show, Whose Line is it Anyway?. Now, that show is a total crack-up. It gets a bit much now that the Family Channel has started airing like, twenty episodes in a row every day of the week, but I still enjoy it now and then. Everyone on that show is great, but I find Ryan the most consistently funny one. I just love his style of humor - sort of naughty, but with a kind of deadpan, sarcastic delivery. He's not a giant show-off, he will just sit there quietly and then hit everyone with a great line. Yeah, he's kind of a big, lanky doofus, but I love him.

The Sprint Guy - I don't know who this guy is or where he came from, but he could sell me a phone any day. There's just something about him that's kind of hot. Those commercials are a little annoying, but I like him. He couldn't steal me away from Catherine and T-Mobile, but I wouldn't dissuade him from trying.



Barry Bostwick - This one requires some explanation. Many, many years ago, probably when I was still a teenager or in my early twenties, I had an erotic dream about Barry. To this day, I have no idea how that happened. Of all the people to pop into my head at night, I never imagined that it would've been Barry Bostwick. I've never even really seen any of his movies. I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show and this really bad movie about a crazy babysitter, but other than that I'm really not familiar with his work. Still, Barry wasn't a bad looking guy back in the day. He's a little wrinkly now, and the ultra-white hair is a bit scary, but being that he's almost 60 he still looks pretty good for his age. Besides, he played Danny Zuko on Broadway, so he's all right in my book. (Oh yeah, and the dream sex was good!)

Dave Grohl - Dave kind of looks like a cross between Jerry Seinfeld and that guy from Average Joe, with a touch of Midwest trucker. So yeah, he probably isn't the most attractive guy in rock and roll, but he's no Steven Tyler. I was never a huge fan of Nirvana, and I will just skate past the whole Nirvana vs Pearl Jam debate that I usually get sucked into, but I appreciated them. I'm not a hardcore Foo Fighters fan, but I do like a lot of their songs. I think Grohl is a pretty talented man. But what I like most about him is that he is insanely funny. If the videos for "Big Me" or "Learn to Fly" didn't tip you off to that fact, just watch him anytime he's on a talk show. If he's ever on the same night as a stand-up comedian, I guarantee you he'll get more laughs than the professional funnyman. He's just kind of insane and goofy, and I love that! My only gripe - he chews his gum like a cow.

Josh Homme - Josh is the lead singer of Queens of the Stone Age, a band that Dave Grohl was also in for a short time. I normally don't like redheads, and like most of them, this guy has that semi-Howdy Doody thing going on. Still, there's something very attractive about him. I think it's his arms. I tend to fixate on that whole arm/shoulder/neck/upper chest region...and Josh has a nice area there.

Gale Hansen - You may recognize Gale as Charlie from Dead Poet's Society. I have no idea what he looks like now, and don't even know if he's still acting. I've never seen him in anything else. I'll tell you this though, he absolutely made that movie. Robin Williams was somewhat restrained, thank God, and Ethan Hawke was apparently the "star" as far as the younger cast was concerned, but Gale Hansen is the one who stood out to me. His portrayal of the goofy, rebellious, horny, smart-ass, kind of smug but loyal kid was just perfect. I don't know if he's really cute or if the character was just so fun that I just started thinking that he was cute, but I always wished that a student like Charlie would've sat next to me in high school.

Friday, November 18, 2005

S-E-X-Y L-I-V-I-N

People magazine recently announced this year's "Sexiest Man Alive", and the winner is....Matthew McConaughey. Now, I've had some issues with People's choices in the past. They either pick no-brainers like Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt, or they go with some goober like Mark Harmon. I'm still wondering why John Travolta has never won. He wins my Sexiest Man Alive Award every year, but I just publish this lowly blog, not a ginormous, mainstream magazine so no one cares. At any rate, I can't find anything to complain about this year. Matthew is hot. Damn hot. That smile. That hair. That draaaaawl. I think part of his appeal is that he seems like a regular fella. He's like that one out of place, genetically blessed guy living in the little hick town, unaware of his stunning studliness who all the girls drool over while he's out driving around shirtless on his John Deere.

Of course, that story a while back about him getting high and playing the bongos naked didn't do anything to turn most of us ladies off! In searching for a pic of Matthew for this entry, I was really hoping to come across a shot of that. Didn't any of his idiot neighbors have the motivation to get the camera out and try to zoom in through the blinds? If I lived next door to him, I...well, I better not dwell on that fantasy.

I thought he and Sandra Bullock made a cute couple. They kind of looked like the popular-but-nice high school steadies all grown up. Unfortunately, it's been reported that the sexy Texan is now dating Penelope Cruz. I can't stand that chick.

Still, no matter who he's dating or how famous he becomes or how hot he is, Matthew McConaughey will always be Wooderson* to me. And I love Wooderson. He was hot. Even with that porn star hair and mustache and the pink pants, he was hot. It's hard to look truly hot in '70s garb. But he pulled it off.

Alright, alright, alriiiight.


*If you don't know what I'm talking about, drop what you're doing and go rent Dazed and Confused. Now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

'Cos Everyone's Your Friend in New York City

As I've mentioned, I will be moving to the Big Apple very shortly...I believe as soon as this weekend. This whole opportunity never would've happened without a little help from my friends, whom I will plug right now! I actually had a giant story about how we met and everything, but Blogger went nuts and I lost the whole thing. I could only recover the first 3 paragraphs and it had about 20! I just don't feel like re-writing everything. So, I'll just make this a brief introduction to these guys and give you a little multimedia. I've been helping these two bands out with various promo stuff for nearly two years now. The lead singers of each band are brothers, and as fate would have it their sister is my new boss! They say it's all about who you know, right?

Vic Thrill + The Saturn Missile
I would never have had this opportunity if it weren't for Vic. He recommended me to his sister, she happened to be looking to hire a new person and it all fell into place. I followed Vic over to his new band after falling in love with his old band, The Bogmen. It was a much delayed, belated trip but one I was happy to make nonetheless. (If you're interested in a little more detail on that, you can read my CD reviews : Bogmen, Vic Thrill.) I guess I went from fan to friend at some point, and Vic's confidence in and support of me through this whole transition is really quite touching. If there's any reason in the world that he deserves to be hugely famous, it's because he's got more good karma stored up in his body than anyone else I know. He is honestly one of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met in my life. But as I so often say, the music industry shouldn't be about personality or looks or whatever...it's about quality music. Now, I am well aware that Vic's music isn't for everyone. Hell, when I first heard about them I wasn't sure I would like it. But it's so inventive and just "out there" that I have to love it. It's hard to pin it down to any one genre, but it's kind of a mix of electronica, punk, rock and world beat. The video below is actually an older one for the song "Nobody's Watching the Radar", but I think it's one of their most accessible songs. It's kind of got a David Bowie meets Devo vibe. Besides, the video is pretty funny. It's based on a true story about a UPS guy who came to discover that he was delivering vibrators to Hasidic Jewish women. They have a new video out, but I don't really think it's the best example of their music, because the song isn't even 2 minutes long. Still, it kind of captures their personality and is a trippy, possibly strange, short and sweet intro to the band. If you want to see it and hear more music, you can check out their MySpace page. The first song featured there, "They Want You To Be Just Like Them", may very well be one of my favorite songs ever. And if you think that page is just lovely, let me know...I run it!

**Edit: I had the video files embedded here, but it was pointed out to me by an oh-so pleasant blogger that viewing my page has become a bitch because of it and it keeps trying to install MIME files on her computer...which I assume may be happening to others as well. (The heads-up I appreciate, just not the snotty, techno-snob attitude with which it was delivered.) It seemed to be loading a bit slow anyway. So, I'll just provide the links instead. Don't be lazy...click on 'em!


Knockout Drops
I discovered the Drops very soon after Vic. I heard that Vic's brother, Chris was in a band as well, and that they were more of a straight up rock 'n roll, power-poppy outfit. I immediately loved them. Even though I, personally, love Vic's music I can understand if they've been fighting an uphill battle as far as breaking through big-time. That kind of music is much harder to market to the masses. But, the Knockout Drops are so radio-ready it just boggles my mind that they haven't found a larger audience yet. And radio-ready doesn't mean the crap-pop that's being spewed out these days. These guys can write really great, thought-provoking lyrics but pair them with incredibly hooky, well-crafted pop melodies. Think of them as equal parts The Replacements, Soul Asylum, Guided by Voices and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I think they're on the brink of a breakthrough right now though. One of the best parts of my new job is that I get to work with this band...and get paid! I'm helping to promote their new theater piece, "Escape from Bellevue and Other Stories", which will run at The Paradise Factory Theater from December 2 - January 14. If you're from NYC or will be in the area around that time, you should really check it out! (Tickets are only $20!) Basically, it's Chris's story set to the soundtrack of the new Drops record. He wrote some monologues that follow his life from the formation of the band up until the NYC blackout of 2003. It is, at it's core, a rock 'n roll show but in between songs, Chris tells the stories behind them and also throws in some weird video segments. He's a really interesting guy (another genuinely kind soul) who can tell a story like no one else. If you'd like to see the trailer for the show or hear more Knockout Drops music, you can hit up their MySpace page as well. Yep, I run that one too. I had the trailer in this post originally, but it's a fairly big file and it was making my page load really slowly. So instead, I've just included their video for "Wrong Side of Love".

**Edit: Again, just the link is provided.


So, whattya think?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Becks and The City


To all my loyal readers....I have just landed a job with a wonderful little PR firm in Manhattan, so I will be moving to the Big Apple very shortly. I'm not sure how much time I will have to blog, but I will certainly try my best to update with some frequency.

In honor of the new job and in lieu of "What's in BeckEye's Ear", here is a list of my favorite NYC-related songs (in no particular order):

New York, New York - Ryan Adams
New York City - They Might Be Giants
No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn - Beastie Boys
You Said Something - PJ Harvey
Leaving New York - REM
New York State of Mind - Billy Joel
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters - Elton John
I Love NYC - Andrew WK
Nights on Broadway - Bee Gees
New York Groove - Ace Frehley
The Williamsburg Strangler - Vic Thrill + The Saturn Missile
City of Love - Knockout Drops
Midnight in Chelsea - Jon Bon Jovi
Coney Island Girls - Fun Lovin' Criminals
A Fairytale of New York - The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
Positively 4th Street - Bob Dylan
Rockaway Beach - The Ramones
Sixth Avenue Heartache - The Wallflowers
New York, New York - Leonard Bernstein
Jungleland - Bruce Springsteen....now this may actually be about Jersey. But, he mentions the NY Rangers and Harlem, so it fits. Besides, this is one of my favorite songs ever.

I was never a big fan of the Frank Sinatra "New York, New York". I guess it's just played out. Still, if I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Guy Smiley

For anyone who isn't from Pittsburgh or doesn't follow football, this is Hines Ward. This is his usual expression. The man is always smiling. When the going gets tough, and when the game gets rough, Hines' grin just keeps on going. Well, except for that time after we lost in the playoffs last year and he cried while talking to the reporters. And believe me, everyone in Pittsburgh remembers that. If we weren't quite as emotional as he about simply losing the game, seeing him cry certainly got us all going.

I'm so happy that Hines has finally gotten the attention that he deserves from the rest of the country. In last night's game against our arch-rivals, The Cleveland Browns, Ward broke the all-time team record for most receptions previously held by John Stallworth. As usual, Hines handled the moment with quiet dignity and class. The press was all over it though, and rightfully so. Now everyone wants to talk to Hines. Now everyone considers him what I knew he always was - one of the best players in the NFL and a true Steelers great.

Hines Ward has long been my favorite Steeler and I've always been baffled that he's not more famous than he is. He doesn't get the same attention that other receivers like Terrell Owens and Keyshawn Johnson do. Part of that is probably because he doesn't have a big mouth. He plays the game, does it well and doesn't criticize his teammates. He might do a little jig in the end zone post-TD once in a while, but it never becomes a full-on production. He might do a little fun trash-talking on the field to the opposing defense, but it's always with a wink and a smile. Always a smile. This is a man who loves to play football, and it shows. And in a league that has more than its share of extraordinarily greedy, not-quite gentlemen, Ward's attitude is refreshing. He doesn't need to brag about his skills. He goes out on the field every Sunday and shows us what he's got. Actions speak louder than words. And the smile speaks volumes.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

"Other Guy" of the Month

Every month I pay homage to or catch up with some poor guy who had his chance to be a star but was overshadowed by someone else's fame instead.

Mr. November - Charlie Schlatter
This month's other guy happens to be one of my more random celebrity crushes. I say random because I've somehow managed to develop a crush on him without ever having seen one of his movies or watched an entire episode of any television show he's starred in. He's not even really famous, so it's not like I could see his adorable face in the celeb rags or on Entertainment Tonight with much frequency. Still, I think he is just the cutest thing. I find Diagnosis Murder to be a rather boring TV show, yet when I come across it while flipping through the channels I always wait about ten minutes to see if he shows up. You can imagine my frustration when it turns out to be one of the earlier episodes with Scott Baio. (Unlike Joanie, I do not love Chachi.)

Most people recognize Charlie as the young Diagnosis Murder doc or from the movie, 18 Again, if they recognize him at all. Now, when I started this recurring topic I was thinking of actors who could've had their big break in one particular role, only to have their dreams of fame dashed by a better known, better looking or just plain luckier co-star. Poor Charlie here was upstaged twice. And by senior citizens, no less!

In 18 Again, Charlie was basically supposed to pretend that he was George Burns. The premise of the film was a modified version of Freaky Friday, where Burns' and Schlatter's characters switched bodies. I never could bring myself to watch it. I have no desire to see a cute, young guy puffing on a cigar and telling jokes from the '40s. From what I understand though, Charlie had the bigger part so I'm not quite sure why everyone considered the movie more of a George Burns vehicle.

After that role, Charlie landed the part of Ferris Bueller in the TV version of the popular film. Bad, bad move. Those movie spin-offs rarely work, and to try to recapture the humor and magic of a (now-classic) movie like Ferris Bueller's Day Off is just a horrible failure waiting to happen. Compounding the problem was the fact that it came out in 1990 - the same year as Parker Lewis Can't Lose, another high-school comedy about a charming kid who skated through life and had lots of fun doing it. And while Parker and Ferris may have had a lot in common, most viewers were more interested in getting to know Parker because they already knew Ferris Bueller...as Matthew Broderick played him. Matthew is, was and always will be Ferris. The producers should have just called the show Charlie Schlatter Can't Win. I don't know that any actor would've stood a chance in that role. It would've been like making a TV version of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and casting anyone but Sean Penn as Spicoli. Oh wait a minute....that did happen. It's not surprising that I didn't immediately remember it. I think the series lasted for about five seconds.

While Parker Lewis hung around high school for three years, the Ferris spin-off was bagged after one season. From there, Charlie starred in a few movies I've never heard of and then he joined the cast of Diagnosis Murder in 1995. He was on the show for about five years, but it seemed like he just played second banana to Dick Van Dyke. Do people actually tune into that show to watch Dick Van Dyke as a crime-solving doctor? Or do people watch in the off-chance they might catch his son, Barry actually do some acting? Do people watch it at all?? I know the show went off the air a few years ago, but it's alive and well in reruns over on PAX. I would think if the show has any appeal to the under-60 crowd, it would be cutie-pie Charlie. Yet, he was never able to parlay that role into a bigger career.

After Diagnosis Murder, Charlie didn't get too many great parts. He was in the monkey/Matt LeBlanc "comedy", Ed and now it appears that he is doing less acting and quite a bit of voice-over work for animated films and video games.

I keep thinking that Schlatter is like a much cuter, less frenetic version of Matthew Perry. It's too bad that he wasn't cast as Chandler Bing on Friends instead. Not that I don't like Perry, but if I had my pick between the two I'd take Charlie any day of the week. And I just read that he used to date Jennifer Aniston, so he should've had the inside track on that Chandler role! Jeez Jen, you could've hooked the guy up.

I suppose after crushing on the guy all these years, I should head on over to the video store and pick up something that he's been in. My God, I just found out on the Internet Movie Database that he was in Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow. SEVEN?? I had no idea that franchise was stretched out quite that long. That movie must be worth watching just for the purpose of fine-tuning my sarcasm. But I wouldn't even enjoy making fun of it if this doll face is in it. Can someone please recommend me a movie of Charlie's that I might like?


C'mon BeckEye, I've got the whole Police Academy series on DVD. You can make all the sarcastic comments you want. Just bring the popcorn.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

NYC Non Sequitir

Hello folks! I know I haven't posted in a while, but I've been away for a few days. I just got home today and can't really think of anything interesting to write, so instead I'll take on a celebrity attitude and make this post all about me.

My friend, Angela, and I were in New York City last night (the East Village, to be exact) waiting to cross the street. Some dude walked past us and when he got to the end of the block, he turned around and yelled one of the following:

"You look like the doctor from The Sopranos!"
"You look like the daughter from The Sopranos!"

Now, I thought he said the first line in reference to her, and she thought he said the second in reference to me. It boggled us for a while. We're not sure who he was talking to or that either of us looks remotely like anyone famous, let alone these two Soprano babes. So, I will leave it up to you my dear readers. What do you think?


Do either of us look like either of them??
(Not my favorite picture of all time, but please keep in mind that we don't have make-up artists and hairstylists at our beck and call.)


I don't think so, but as long as he didn't say we looked like James Gandolfini and Steve Van Zandt, I'll take a celebrity comparison.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hangman, Hangman Hold it a Little While (Gallo's Pole)

Vincent Gallo has done what many of us had previously thought was impossible. He has surpassed Crispin Glover as the biggest freak in Hollywood.

A lot of people thought Gallo went over the edge with his movie, Brown Bunny, which was, from what I heard, porn with a dumber plot. However, if his website is to be believed, the guy has just hopped the night train to Crazy Town.

Among the many other items he has listed for sale on the site, he is offering up his sperm for $1 million a pop to prospective mothers wishing to be impregnated via in vitro fertilization. The ad also mentions that if the buyer would like Gallo to deposit the sperm the old-fashioned way, he will do so for an extra $500,000 unless he finds the subject to be hot enough to warrant a, um, free ride.

The post goes on to describe Gallo's "size", and the other physical and mental characteristics that he feels are desirable traits to pass on to a child. He doesn't bother to mention that he looks like a wild-eyed, hitchhiking serial killer and that he is, essentially, an egotistical nutbag. But I assume that anyone enamored enough of this dude to make such a purchase already knows what he's all about, and is looking forward to bringing another weirdo into this already overfilled, freakish world of ours.

I'm guessing that Gallo's latest stunt is just a ploy to get himself back in the spotlight again. But, with this wacko you never know. Even if he started it as a joke, he doesn't seem the type to turn down a million bucks should some poor, misguided woman send him a check in exchange for his "essence".

You may wonder what I would think of all this if John Travolta came up with such an offer. Well, I would completely lose respect for him. At least until I could come up with the money.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Great T-Shirt Scandal of 2005

The last time Abercrombie and Fitch was the subject of controversy, it was regarding their sexually suggestive Christmas catalogs chock-full of scantily-clad models. This time, they're in trouble over the shirts they're putting on many teen girls' backs.

A whole line of tee-shirts that perfectly conveys the self-absorbtion and Britney Spearsian attitudes of many young girls today is the subject of a recent "girlcott". The group known as The Allegheny County Girls, all from my neck of the woods, believe that the messages emblazoned on the tops are demeaning to women and demanded that the offensive items be pulled from stores. After these little gals from Southwestern PA started getting national media attention, A&F caved to the pressure and has now agreed to stop selling the tees.

I can't really seem to pick a side here. In a way, I agree with the protestors. Mostly because Abercrombie and Fitch's target market is teenagers, and I don't feel that underage girls need to be walking around with shirts that advertise their breasts or how hot they think they are or how much they enjoy parties and sex. But then again, it's really up to parents whether or not they will allow their children to wear those types of clothes. But as we've all seen on countless talk shows, and even in our own local grocery stores, too many parents today give their kids whatever they want, rather than teaching them to be responsible young adults.

On the other hand, I get so sick of all the political correctness in this country that I feel like telling these girls to just not look at the shirts if they don't like them. Or why don't they put all their energy into something creative and possibly profitable by creating their own line of tees? There's always something out there that is going to offend someone. It's easy to be offended. But I'll tell you what, it's just as easy to ignore things that are annoying. You have to pick your battles. Don't sweat the small stuff. I'm sure someone will be offended that I just used two cliches in a row there. Hey, it even bothers me. Rather than dwell on it, I'll just move on to the next paragraph.

Even though I don't have a clear position on this issue, I'm glad that the girlcotters won and I'm glad that A&F had to pull some merchandise. I imagine I'd always side against Abercrombie. Any company who has the audacity to sell a tee-shirt for $25 needs to be knocked down a peg or two.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Eye Boogers

Like the goop that's always accumulating in the corners of our eyes, the following news items are curiously fascinating:

Janet Jackson Bakes her Muffins in the Sun, Denies Ever Cooking a Bun in the Oven - A new vouyeristic video has started making the rounds on the internet, which appears to show Janet Jackson sunbathing nude. According to the news story, "the video appears to have been shot surreptitiously through an opening in a fence surrounding an outdoor enclosure where the subject was lying on a chaise lounge". My God, what has the world come to when women start tanning in private areas? Who cares. Everyone is more interested in whether or not Jackson has a secret 18-year old child with ex husband, James DeBarge. Brother Tito defended Janet on Extra, saying that he would know if had a niece or nephew. But would the niece or nephew know who Tito is? Most people don't.

Wal-Mart Recruits Celebs for Holiday Ads - Yes, because when I'm shopping at Wal-Mart, it makes me feel better thinking that someone like Beyonce is using the same brand of $2 hairspray that I just bought. So much for truth in advertising. And Wal-Mart really needs to promote themselves more because, apparently it's just not aggravating enough in their stores during the Christmas season. Sure, cram more people in! That will give us all a good dose of holiday cheer.

VH1 Asks, 'But Can They Sing?' No? Really? No. - I can't believe the man, Joey Pants is taking part in this crap-fest. I thought that this show might be funny in a William Hung sort of way, but it's not. It's just an hour of celebrities who aren't even really that famous for whatever it is they do, trying to do something else that they're even worse at. And this is supposed to entertain people? In a related story, scientists just discovered that male mice can sing. Now that's interesting. I would rather pay $50 to see the new "rat pack" in concert than watch this ridiculous show on VH1 for free.

Tyra Banks Goes Undercover as an Obese Woman - Tyra had no idea how blatantly mean "normal" people were to fat people until she performed this little cultural experiment. Ok. I have seen the judges on America's Next Top Model rip girls to shreds who weren't a size 2. Every season they talk about how the world isn't ready for a "plus-size" model. But she just wasn't aware that there is such a problem with weight discrimination in this country. Congratulations Tyra, you're still in the running towards becoming America's Top Clueless Moron. (I'm still in contention too because I can't seem to shake my irrational addiction to that show.)

Jessica Simpson Sees a Shrink - Poor Jess. She had to walk her boots to a psychiatrist due to stress caused by rumors that her marriage to Nick Lachey is crumbling. Honey, you're in show biz. You're going to go through, like, five more marriages in your lifetime. You really need to grow a much thicker skin.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Seriously Good-Looking

Let me ask you all a question. What are the odds that an attractive actress or female singer would try to look unattractive in order to gain more credibility? I'm not talking about already established actresses that "go ugly" for meaty roles. For example, when Nicole Kidman wore the fake nose in The Hours, she was already extremely popular due to the overwhelming success of Moulin Rouge and The Others. Similarly, Charlize Theron only took on the role of an aesthetically-challenged murderess in Monster after she had made a name for herself in movies like The Cider House Rules. It is also important to note that anytime a beautiful actress dares to act without makeup or with some type of facial prosthesis, she usually becomes an Oscar contender. It's as if the state of being plain or non-glamorous is the biggest acting challenge of all. And when they go back to their normal, gorgeous selves, the media and general public all breathe a sigh of relief.

I'll rephrase my original question this way - How many female celebrities would play down their looks on a regular basis in an attempt to be taken seriously? If you answered anything but "zero", please tell me where you're getting your crazy ideas from.

The ladies don't do it because it would never work in our society. Women are expected to look as good as possible. As ironic as it may sound, Charlize Theron would have never gotten the chance to play an ugly character if she weren't extremely beautiful. If she actually looked like Aileen Wuornos, she wouldn't even be an actress, unless she made a career out of playing drug addicts and hookers in bit-parts on shows like Law & Order: The Revolving Door Unit. And yes, there are well-known actresses who don't fit the Hollywood definition of beauty, like Meryl Streep. But the difference is that she is what she is. She hasn't tried to enhance or detract from her looks in any way.

The reason I'm pointing this out about women is because I've noticed a trend with male celebrities that bothers me. They do what I just described; they try to downplay their natural good looks so that they'll be noticed purely for their talent.

The best example of this is Johnny Depp, one of the most ridiculously good looking people on the planet. I can understand why he may have balked at using his looks near the beginning of his career. He started out as a dreamboat on 21 Jump Street, a show that I watched religiously. He's never made a secret of the fact that he was unhappy there after the first couple of seasons and that he was miserable being marketed as a "teen idol". He took some quirky movie roles, managed to escape becoming the next Shaun Cassidy and made quite a career for himself. At this point, he has proven that he's one of our generation's best actors time and again. Now, it's one thing if the characters he plays are a bit off-kilter or require a few gold teeth. But why does he still show up at public appearances looking like some weathered, old homeless person? If the guy doesn't want to wear a tuxedo, that's fine. But how about a shirt that looks like it's been washed at least once? And how about picking up a comb, or at least running his fingers through his hair a few times? He knows he's good looking, we know he's good looking, why fight it? It's been 16 years since he put Officer Tommy Hanson behind him. I think we all know he's a good actor by now. We take you seriously Johnny. Honest. We don't hate you because you're beautiful.


I noticed this phenomenon again at a recent show I went to. I went to see Brian Vander Ark, who is the lead singer of The Verve Pipe. Apparently they're still together, but he's doing some solo stuff. I've always been a fan of TVP, but never had the chance to see them live so I figured seeing him would be the next best thing. He's got one hell of a voice. I won't go into great detail about the show because it's really not important to the topic at hand and it was a little disappointing. He still has an amazing voice, but I'm not sure many of the old Verve Pipe songs fit the acoustic setting. Anyway, here was a really attractive man who has a lot of talent, and he schlepped up onstage looking like Johnny Depp's next-box neighbor. All he was missing was a stick with a bandana on the end to carry his harmonica and a change of underwear in. I just kept looking at him thinking, "what the hell happened?" I've heard him speak of the music industry in a few interviews, as well as within the lyrics of some of his songs, with the contempt that you might imagine any artist would feel who had been embraced and then erased by the biz. I can understand if he's frustrated as far as how to position himself, and I can understand if he's tired of trying to appeal to the public's eyes rather than their ears. But to get tired of looking like someone who bathes or shaves once in a while? Does he suddenly think that looking like a hobo will propel him into superstardom? Or is he pretending that he doesn't care about all that anymore? I almost feel like that whole "I'm not trying" look is more phony than all the mousse and leather pants. I didn't go there to look at him, I went there to hear him sing. But his rumpled appearance actually distracted me more than if he had looked as good as he naturally does.

In the end, these efforts to look unattractive don't really work anyway. These men can look dirty, slovenly or just plain weird, but their faces are essentially the same. If they're truly hot, no matter what they do to themselves to try to cover it up, we still all know what's underneath. And if we're all still buying tickets to their movies or paying for their CDs, it obviously makes no difference. So why do they hide what God gave them? In a time when Extreme Makeover is touted as an answer to everyone's problems, this kind of thing seems like spitting in the face of anyone who's ever been held back by their looks. If it's for real, then fine. But I get the feeling that the whole "no image" thing is the image, and I think that's silly.

 

Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

My photo
I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

"You're like an idiot savant of terrible garbage entertainment." - Falwless

"You're my hero." - Candy

"Get yourself a life. Better yet.....eff off." - Ann Onymous

"There's no one like you." - Klaus Meine