Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello gang! I know that Thanksgiving is coming to a close, but I just wanted to pop in and wish you all a good one. I hope you all have dried gravy around the corners of your mouths, and are slumped over in your chairs, pants unbuttoned, unable to move. If this doesn't describe you, you really might want to put more effort into this wonderful holiday.

If you have some time, check out my post today at Starpulse. It's a list of 10 pop cultural things I'm thankful for this year. Leave a comment if you can. There are a lot of teenyboppers who frequent that site and I don't really think they get me.

And, of course, no Pop Eye Thanksgiving would be complete without a look back at my favorite post ever, Tom Cruise's 2005 PSA on the dangers of tryptophan. Mmmmm, nothing like bloggy leftovers.

Later, turkeys. Stay jive.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Forgotten Classic Video of the Week and A Thanksgiving Miracle

When you're sitting down at the dinner table tomorrow, remember to bow your head in thanks for this - Ann Coulter's mouth is wired shut. So, instead of promoting her forthcoming book and cawing like a horrible prehistoric bird-beast, she'll be sucking liquefied turkey through a straw. If that doesn't fill you with holiday cheer, nothing will.

And now, here is a forgotten classic video just for Ann.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh?

I know you've all been breathlessly awaiting my review of Chinese Democracy, as well you should. Well, unlike Axl, I won't make you wait it out. I'm all about giving the people what they want. So here we go.

I should preface by saying that I tried to listen to this record as objectively as I could, without thinking about how long it's been in the works and how it's essentially an Axl Rose solo album. And when the songs are good, it's no problem, but when they're bad, I can't help but think of the rock that could've been...if only Slash had wailed on that solo, or how much more relevant those lyrics or that riff would've been, like, 10 years ago. Anyone who says they can approach this record without some sort of expectations or preconceptions is just double talkin' jive.

Track 1 - "Chinese Democracy"
This starts out sounding a little like a horror movie soundtrack, with some weird echoing noises, people talking in hushed tones, and a "Dream Warriors" drum beat. Then, out of the silence, with the wind effects going, comes a fuzzy guitar riff and then...there it is...the Axl wail. Welcome to the jungle, baby! Well, almost. The lead-off track would certainly feel at home on the 2nd side of Use Your Illusion II, or even - yes, even - Appetite For Destruction. Quite simply, this song rocks. It's got raunchy riffs, a great hook, and that classic vocal layering that allows growling Axl to duet with shrieking Axl. The production is great, and it's evident that Mr. Rose spent a long time tweaking and twiddling to get the sound just right. It shouldn't have taken 14 years to get there, but I'm not going to waste that argument on this song. It's the best one. A

Track 2 - "Shackler's Revenge"
This tune starts out with a dark, demonic feel that grinds into Nine Inch Nails' industrial dance territory. The similarity to NIN is a little off-putting (Guns N' Roses ain't for dancing, man!) but the heavily layered chorus is pretty damn catchy. And, hey, NIN isn't pansy music, so I guess it's all good. The leather jackets out there can just bang their heads to this one while everyone else is wildly gyrating with their glow sticks in hand. Not bad. B-

Track 3 - "Better"
The computerized, Timberlakesque beginning might make you wonder if you're still listening to G N'R, but give it a second. This is one of the "better" and more modern-sounding tracks on the record. It mixes down 'n' dirty rock swagger with a radio-friendly melody, and features one of Axl's "better" vocal performances. However, there's a section starting around the 2:34 mark that seems cut and pasted from a Rage Against the Machine song, and the transition back to the basic melody feels a little awkward. B

Track 4 - "Street Of Dreams"
No, this isn't a cover of the classic (and awesome) Rainbow song. It's a good one though, and gives us our first glimpse into what kind of record Axl has really made here. Basically, he's attempting to pick up where the Use Your Illusion records left off, specifically with theatrical, piano-heavy tunes like "Estranged" and "November Rain." The latter, although one of G N'R's most popular songs, is one that I've never really loved, and hearing "Street of Dreams" makes it all the more insufferable for me. Basically, they're both about the struggles of relationships and how "nothing lasts forever." But, "Street of Dreams" manages to get its point across in a much less pretentious manner and, certainly, a lot quicker. (About 4 minutes quicker.) In fact, Axl packs more meaning into the one simple line, "What I thought was beautiful/Don't live inside of you anymore," than he gets across in 9 minutes of walking around in the rain. That said, the song is rather "rock musical," but I do like a touch of the dramatic, as long as it's done well. The only misstep here is the vocal at the very beginning, where Axl sounds like he's auditioning for both the Rocky and Eddie roles in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. B+

Track 5 - "If The World"
If the world what? If the world ever hears this song, they'll laugh their asses off? Well, maybe. This was so abysmal that I couldn't even laugh. After 4 solid songs, I was wondering when my luck would run out, and then this clunker landed in my ears with a tremendous thud. It seriously sounds like an Enrique Iglesias song. I couldn't even get through the whole thing. Egregious. F

Track 6 - "There Was A Time"
We transition from that hell to an angelic chorus that is soon joined by a drum loop and something that sounds like a kid's piano. There are a million things going on in this song - synths, choirs, strings, drum machines, and I think about 4 or 5 guitarists trade leads. Somehow it all works. Axl was obviously going for another "Estranged" here, and although he doesn't quite match it, he at least manages to keep things from going too far over the top. The chorus is a little weak, but the verses keep things rolling along. The arrangement's gradual build makes for a pretty blazing final minute or two, during which there is some cool Axl whining and a really good guitar solo that's probably either Buckethead or his successor, Bumblefoot. I will admit, though, that during all the other guitar parts I kept thinking, "What would Slash do?" C+

Track 7 - "Catcher In The Rye"
Apparently, this track originally featured a solo from Queen's Brian May that was subsequently removed. Maybe Axl should've kept it. It might have saved this track from being just a watered-down, stripped-down version of the previous song. It's C-

Track 8 - "Scraped"
I have no idea what is up with the Bee Gees-meets-Rihanna intro. I don't really want to know. The beat during the chorus is kind of cool, but overall this sounds like anything that any number of metal bands could come up with. D

Track 9 - "Sorry"
Wow. What a piece of shit grunge/death ballad. It reminds me of Staind. I HATE Staind. Supposedly, Sebastian Bach was to sing backup on this, but I don't hear it. I guess that's good for him. F

Track 10 - "Riad N' The Bedouins"
Clearly, this album derailed around track 8. This song isn't as bad as the last two, but it sounds pretty dated. It's like G N'R-meets-Led Zeppelin-meets-Rage Against the Machine. But they forgot to bring all of their good songs to the meeting. D+

Track 11 - "I.R.S."
Ehhhhhhhhhhh. With the first few bars, I thought this was gonna be a good one, but it's just an average rock song. Not horrible, but nothing special. C

Track 12 - "Madagascar"
Yep, Axl's still looking for that next big epic. More strings. Some movie sound clips thrown in the middle...Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech, some stuff I don't recognize, and the same line from Cool Hand Luke that G N'R used in the vastly superior "Civil War." This is starting to bum me out now. I might need to go back and listen to the first 4 songs again. C-

Track 13 - "This I Love"
Okay, okay. I can't resist! This I don't love! Ahhh, I'm so clever. What in the eff happened? Doesn't Axl remember how to write a great ballad? What about "Don't Cry?" (Oh yeah, Izzy helped with that one.) What about "Patience?" (Oh yeah, Izzy wrote the whole thing.) D-

Track 14 - "Prostitute"
Based on the name alone, I was completely prepared for this to be an awesome, nasty song in the vein of "Pretty Tied Up" or "Rocket Queen." Nope. It's not even about a lady of the evening. It's another of Axl's attempts to be the hard-ass version of Elton John. However, it is not a bad song at all. It's not as good as any of the first 4 songs, but it has that theatrical quality that I tend to go for, without going too far. I'm not sure if I would have liked it as much had it been the first or second song on the record. I love it as an album closer though, because it pulled me out of the funk caused by the last 20-30 minutes of horribleness. C

Well, there you have it, folks. It started out promising, but a pretty underwhelming 2nd half results in a C average for Chinese Democracy. I guess an average album score isn't too bad, unless the album in question took 14 years to see the light of day. Seriously. After this long, Chinese Democracy should have the power to end war and poverty and align the planets, bringing them into universal harmony, just like Wyld Stallyns' music did. It doesn't do that, but it does make me wish that someone would've gone back in time and told Guns N' Roses how crucial it was for them to stay together.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Axl's Doing Triple Axels in Hell

Hell has frozen over and it has nothing to do with Don Henley. No, the album that was thought to be just an urban legend, Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy was released yesterday.

The record has been streaming on G N' R's MySpace page, and my plan was to have a review all ready for you folks today. But I had a bit of a rough weekend. (I wasn't dancing with Mr. Brownstone or anything like that. Just had a bit too much to drink at my friend's swingin' Mad Men-themed birthday party.)

So anyway, the review is forthcoming. What I've heard of the record so far has either been close but no Slash (at best) or way too close to falling headfirst into the generic Puddle of Hoobastaind (at worst). After 14 years of waiting, my once-high expectations for this record are gone, so hopefully that will allow me to listen to and review it pretty objectively.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Name That Funky Baby, White Kids

Ashlee Simpson pushed out a little puppy last night, and she and husband Pete Wentz decided to make his life hell by naming him Bronx Mowgli.

I can't figure out why the Simpson-Wentzes settled on the name "Bronx." I doubt it has any personal significance. I imagine that the closest these two have ever been to the Bronx is when they saw it on that one episode of Flavor of Love, when Flav went to church with his mom. But, it's not that bad of a name. It might suck for a girl, but I suppose it's a pretty masculine, tough name for a boy.

But "Mowgli" for a middle name?? Holy Good Lord, this kid is going to hate them.

As most of you know, Mowgli was the kid in The Jungle Book. What you may not know is that Rudyard Kipling made the name up and, according to the "language of the forest," it means "frog." That's nice. Maybe they can name their next kid Tad Pole? Furthermore, "Mowgli" sounds an awful lot like "Mogwai." Ashlee and Pete better make sure they never feed that kid after midnight. Although, once he hits 16, he'll probably sport a white mohawk and try to kill them anyway, after suffering endless ridicule from his schoolmates.

The funniest thing about all of this is this entry under "Mowgli" on Wikipedia: Many experts have concluded that Mowgli is a terrible name for a dog. This has been confirmed in several studies throughout the world, particularly in Great Britain. "Singer"-songwriter Ashlee Simpson recently named her first child "Mowgli." These same studies also confirm that Mowgli is a terrible name for a child.

First of all, why is just "singer" in quotes? True, Ashlee's not much of one, but she's certainly a better singer than a writer.

Secondly, and most importantly, who funded a project to study dog names?* Are British people really that bored? And how many people really name their dogs Mowgli? Enough that several experts had to be brought in to determine its suitability? Let's all get something straight here. I love dogs, and believe that they are much more intuitive than people give them credit for. But a dog does not care what its name is. All the name is to them is a sound slightly different than the usual blah blah blah it hears coming from you. Go ahead and name your dog Ball Licker; he won't care. And I think most studies would show that it's very appropriate.

Now, it stands to reason that if most "experts" wouldn't even name their dogs Mowgli, it probably wouldn't be a good name for a child. But more studies needed to be done to prove this? Immediately? Ashlee just had her kid last night. I guess as soon as the naming experts heard the news, they all ran down to the think tank and confirmed that Mowgli was a bad choice.

Thank God we have studies like this. Cancer gets way too much attention.

*Of course I know this is probably bullshit. You think I take Wikipedia too seriously?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Benji, The Punted

Let's all bow our heads in a moment of silence for Paris Hilton and Benji Madden.

I know it hurts. Their love grew inside of us for 9 months, and now we have to give it up. It's not what we wanted, but it's for the best. And maybe we'll learn from this. Maybe we'll all be a little more responsible the next time a celebutard couple comes along and promises us forever. Maybe we'll learn to protect ourselves and use a little restraint before giving up our hearts, bodies, and souls to these smooth-talkers, so that we won't have to experience this kind of pain again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

He's Bringing Sexy Jack, Man

People magazine occasionally does a good thing. Proof of this is its naming of Hugh Jackman as this year's Sexiest Man Alive. Mmm. Yes.

What's odd is that Yahoo! announced the story like this:

By calling the pick a "surprise choice," I was expecting it to be Carrot Top or Miss Jay Alexander. I realize that beauty and zee sexy are in the eye of the beholder, but come on. Is anyone shocked to find out that Hugh Jackman is damn sexy?

Just in case there are a few shocked, uninformed souls out there, here is an educational visual aid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Forgotten Classic Video(s) of the Week

Since I forgot to post a forgotten video last week (oh, the irony), here's something of a two-fer for you all.

The Monkees, "Mary, Mary" (1967)

Run-D.M.C., "Mary, Mary" (1988)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Statisticians, Start Your Boners

Yesterday, not only did my beloved Steelers beat the Chargers, but they ensured their spot on at least one more Trivial Pursuit card. The final score of 11-10 was the first 11-10 final in the history of the NFL. Does this matter to anyone? Apparently, it does. Otherwise, the final score would have been 18-10.

In the last seconds of the game, San Diego's last-ditch attempt to move down the field resulted in a baubled lateral that Troy Polamalu snagged and returned for a touchdown. After review, the TD was overturned when the officials claimed there was an illegal forward pass - a call that would've made anyone watching question their vision or the meaning of the word "forward."

Now, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter because it didn't affect the ultimate outcome - the Steelers won. However, you'd have to be an idiot to not realize that someone from the Nerdery flipped out and frantically called up to the booth, begging them to call back that TD to preserve the historic score...especially since the announcers couldn't stop blathering about how there had never been an 11-10 game before. So, congrats sports stat-lovers. Your brains are almost full.

This made me wonder, just how much trivia does one person really want or need to know? I mean, I know way too much useless pop culture info, but at some point my memory banks get flooded. If you want to know how many brothers and sisters John Travolta has, I can tell you. (Five.) Want their names? Fine. (Ellen, Ann, Margaret, Sam, and Joey.) But if you want to know what color underwear he was wearing when he attended the premiere of Urban Cowboy, I can't help you. Believe me, I wish I could.

Sports trivia hounds are a whole different kind of breed. That stuff is so much harder to remember than movie or music trivia. There are teams, players, positions, numbers, trades, monthly stats, yearly stats, lifetime stats, off-season crimes and misdemeanors, etc, etc. But are there guys who could tell you what Carlester Crumpler's* college major was? You betcha. My brother, J-Fred, is one of these guys. If I'm ever in a situation where my life depends on knowing which mustachioed running back holds the record for most rushing yards in a Thursday night game under a full moon, he's the guy I'd want there with me.

*For non-sports fans, I'm not making that name up. He plays for the Vikings. Is that not the greatest football player name ever? When your last name is Crumpler, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a kick-ass name, unless your parents name you Ira. Hell, even then, you'd probably grow up to be the most feared accountant on your block. Carlester's brother, Alge, might seem a little less fortunate, but "Alge Crumpler" is still pretty cool. It's like some sort of highly toxic, extra-strength aquarium cleaner.

UPDATE: People, the name Dick is hilarious, no matter what. That doesn't make Dick (insert last name here) a great FOOTBALL name. Yes, Dick Butkus is fun to say, but it has nothing to do with football. It would be a truly great name for a porn star or a proctologist. See what I mean? Of course you do. Therefore, I stand by my assertion that Carlester Crumpler is a much better footballer's name because he crumples people.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Am I 8 or 80?

So, the little girl in me is transfixed by this Shiba Inu puppy cam. Oh Lord, it's adorable. As I type this, two of the puppies are play-fighting over some type of pink plush toy. I am in love. These dogs are actually one of my favorite breeds. No matter that it took me until this year to finally keep the name in my brain. I used to just always say, "you know, those dogs that look like foxes."

Also, I saw the trailer for Marley and Me yesterday and actually felt myself welling up with tears of sugar-overloaded joy. I couldn't even stop myself from squealing out loud to no one, "Oh my GOD that's so cuuuuuuute! I am totally going to seeeee thaaaaat!" (I was only briefly interrupted by real tears of fear when Kathleen Turner appeared.)

I tried watching both the puppy cam and the trailer again without smiling, and it's physically impossible. Farting, burping, and sneezing simultaneously with my eyes open would be an easier feat. I want to breed Marley with all of the girl Shiba Inus so they have dozens upon dozens of pups, and then we will all go live together on Big Rock Candy Mountain in a castle next to a chocolate waterfall. Wait, no no no. I'm being ridiculous. The dogs might go swimming in the waterfall and accidentally swallow some chocolate. Dogs can't have chocolate! How silly of me. No, the waterfall will have to be vanilla. I like vanilla better anyway, so I really don't know why that wasn't my first choice. I need to stop being so impulsive and really take the time to plan these things out.

Balancing out all this girliciousness is my post today over at Fire That Agency, in which you will find me complaining like an old lady about these damn kids today, their crazy button-fly jeans, and their sexual irresponsibility. I do like their rock 'n' roll music though.

UPDATE: Omigod omigod omigod. The puppies are all napping together now. I am about to pass out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Bigger Issue

As a follow-up to yesterday's "colorful" post, I would like to ask everyone who's been jumping all over little Ms. Lindsay why they aren't pointing fingers at the real ignoramus in this story - Access Hollywood's Maria Menounos. She actually opened her LiLo interview with, "Before I ask you about leggings, I wanted to ask you about the election." Um...why??

Maria, Maria. Yes, the girl sitting across from you had a husky voice, severe case of bed-head and seemed like she'd been slamming Jager bombs the night before, but I promise you...that wasn't Ann Coulter. When you're talking to Lindsay Lohan, and your key topic is leggings, you stick to leggings. Leggings are good. Leggings are great. Talking about colored leggings won't get you into trouble. If you want to go off the board, try something easy. Like, "Before I ask you about leggings, I wanted to ask you about hats." Or, "Before I ask you about leggings, I wanted to ask you - was it still raining when you got here today?" Like Cher said in Clueless, keep her conscious by asking her stuff she knows. No math. And certainly no politics.

You know, now I'm curious how that same interview would've gone down had Maria's subject really been Ann Coulter. (They couldn't have talked about leggings, because that screech owl keeps her legs bare under that never-ending supply of mini cocktail dresses.) I tell you this, if Ann Coulter had called Barack "colored," she would've seemed downright gracious. One thing's for sure - she certainly would've used the time to peddle her disgusting new book, which hits stores right after Christmas and is apparently too-hot-for-a-title right now. I'm guessing that it will be along the same lines of her 2004 book, How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter, but tailored more to the Obama era. Something like, How to Talk to Darkies (If You Must): Holy Shit, They're Everywhere.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Ready For Your Fat, Racist Whore Comments

Okay, so I am going to do something I've never done. I'm going to stick up for Lindsay Lohan. And, after reading three words, some random asshole will probably call me a racist for doing so, but whatever. I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Am I insensitive or is everyone else too sensitive?

Seems our favorite little freckled freak recently told Access Hollywood that she's very excited that Barack Obama is our first "colored president." The blogs are having a field day, painting Lindsay as an ignorant racist who blatantly disrespected a man whom she vocally supported throughout his campaign.

Lindsay Lohan - ignorant? Well, yeah. Kinda. Disrespectful? A touch. Whorish? Yup. On something? Uh huh. Racist? I doubt it.

Maybe the girl didn't choose her words as wisely as she should've - and that should surprise no one - but I really think that too big of an issue is being made of this. Have we really all become this easily offended?

This reminds me of older men's use of the word "girl." I've worked a lot of administrative and support jobs in my life, and I can't tell you how many times a boss has referred to me as "his girl" or, in an office of several support people, one of "the girls." Then there was the dreaded "sweetheart," or "dear." This kind of talk is all very Mad Men and seems sexist and condescending, but 9 times out of 10, I could tell that those guys weren't trying to insult or belittle me. That doesn't mean that it didn't annoy me, because sometimes it did. But I didn't let it bother me too much because I knew that that was just they way they talked. (And I don't know how many of you have ever pulled your boss aside to tell him that he's wrong, but those of you who have are probably pretty familiar with the unemployment line.)

By the same token, I completely understand that the word "colored" carries a negative connotation with it. It takes us back to the racial oppression and segregation of the '50s and '60s. So, YES, I absolutely understand why many people find it offensive. But I think anyone can watch LiLo's interview and see that she isn't trying to offend. She isn't trying to be disrespectful. She's just trying to remain upright and form words.

Further complicating this issue is that the phrase "people of color" is still in widespread use, which, to me, is really no different than "colored." Maybe I look at it like a writer and think: Well, now, that's just good editing. Get rid of that preposition! Then there is that pesky NAACP - the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Sure, it was founded just about 100 years ago, but as the leading civil rights organization in the country, one might expect it to look into a name change if there are major negatives associated with the current one.

Also, even though there has been something of a push to replace "black" with "African American," "black" is still used and generally not thought of as demeaning. It's a descriptor, just like white. Now, if you want to say that it's wrong to use "colored" to describe "black" people because black is actually the absence of all color, then that's the kind of anal thinking that I can get behind.

I'm not saying that people don't have a legitimate reason for bristling when they hear the word "colored," but sometimes words are just words. When white people (except Eminem, I guess) use the N-word, there is obvious malice behind it. No guesswork needed there. But with a word like "colored," or even "black," the context in which it's used is important.

If a sweet, little 70-year-old Christian woman calls someone "a colored," it could just be because that was the word used in her day. She could also be a raging racist because she grew up in a time when everyone else was. Wow, okay. So that's a bad example.

Well, since I started out talking about Lindsay Lohan, she's the perfect example. She's talking about her happiness over a man she voted for, and even wanted to work for, being elected president. For some reason, she chose to say "colored president" instead of "black president" or "African American president." No one knows why. Not even Samantha Ronson. Did she mean to insult this man whom she is so proud of? I don't think so.

Seeing as how Lindsay is so young and has probably never been a big American history buff, I'm surprised she even had such an archaic word in her vocabulary in the first place. But if it wasn't used to harm, why is everyone jumping on this and voicing their "outrage" over her "derogatory comment?"

What bothers me is the immediate backlash from people in the media and in the blogging world, using all of their righteous anger to paint all of these labels on the girl for a small lapse in judgment or, more likely, a complete lack of knowledge. If her problem really is ignorance, then why not simply try to educate her? Why vilify her? This wasn't like Michael Richards' racial rampage or Mel Gibson's anti-semetic tirade. She said a word that isn't used in polite society anymore, and she obviously knows that now, so let's all move on. And you, idiots at Access Hollywood, you're making things worse by trying to cover it up and issuing a statement that "the word was unintelligible." Give me a break.

And give Linz a break. She will do something truly worthy of outrage soon enough. I have faith in her. After all, she still has her driver's license.

Monday, November 10, 2008

They Make This Shit Look Good

So, you may have heard that two crusty old musical veterans have new records coming out soon - one with her 6th studio album and the other with a long-awaited greatest hits compilation.

Since they're not spring chickens any more, their labels are hoping that by using a little bit of digital magic to give them fresh, youthful appearances, the records would appeal to a whole new generation of music lovers. I think the plan might actually work because, boy, my Photoshop skills are nothing compared to these works of art. They look great! Especially Christina there on the right. Man, it's a good thing I'm not illiterate or I'd have never guessed who that was.

Caption Crotch-test Contest #16 (Election Edition)

Spencer: "Where's Heidi? She's living on a farm, where she can chase squirrels and play outside all day. She's much happier now. Honest."

Returning after the recommended two-month crotchal cooling period to take the crown is Deadspot! He's closing in on threepeater, Pistols at Dawn, as we approach the real Decision '08. Who will be Firecrotch of the Year?

As promised, not only does Deadspot get the coveted Firecrotch badge this month, but he's also been appointed president of my fan club! Of course, if he fails to live up to the expectations of the position, it will be up for grabs.

Now, let's get to this month's runners up...

"Sssssshhhhhhh! Be very, very quiet, I'm hunting democrats." - John Donald Carlucci
This might have won, as I'm a huge Looney Tunes fan, but I was disappointed that JDC didn't fully commit. It should have been "Be vewwy vewwy quiet, I'm hunting Democwats." Plus, like most serial killers, he has three names, so even though he seems like a nice guy, I'm not sure I can trust him yet. Ted Bundy was a nice guy. Although, he only had two names. Okay, I really don't know what my point is. Look, JDC, you just didn't win this time around. Sowwy.

"Little Jimmy Johnson's letter to the Make-a-Wish foundation was granted, despite that fact that he doesn't have a terminal illness. 'We were willing to bend the rules this once,' said a spokesman, 'given that so many people want to see Spencer and Heidi in a murder/suicide pact.'Imaginary Reviewer
Oh, come on. Be realistic. Like the Make-a-Wish foundation could ever convince someone to enter into a murder/suicide pact. Hmm...I suppose if they promised to televise it, these two would jump at the opportunity. I guess this makes sense after all! Oh well, sorry. I already named the winner.

"Natural selection, poor judgment, 6 beer, and a box full of shotgun shells has a way of taking care of society's genetic malfunctions."Poobomber
After entering his usual 5,341 times, I had to throw Poo a bone. He could have won, but all of those things he mentioned have a way of taking care of society's genetic malfunctions. And 6 of those things are beers. In bottle form, the beer becomes separate entities. Sorry to be a grammar Nazi.

"Minutes after hearing the results of the Presidential election, Heidi and Spencer packed their most treasured belongings and left the country."Cindie U
I don't usually have a fourth runner-up, but I thought I'd mention this one. It's simple and to-the-point, which I like. Not all jokes have to be complicated. However, Cindie made one giant mistake. She forgot that Heidi is holding a book. To even suggest that Heidi has ever read a book, let alone considered one a "treasured belonging" is sheer madness.

Sorry, everyone who didn't win. Maybe if you're really nice to Deadspot, he'll let you warm your hands near his firecrotch.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's Always Sunny on Seinfeld

As you all probably know by now, I have a very obsessive personality. I tend to fixate on certain things for medium-length bursts of time, finally neglecting my worn-out toys when shiny new ones come along and take their place. (Don't hate me, Michael Johns.)

If you've been paying attention, you probably already know that my newest obsession is the TV show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - oddly enough, a show that I practically had to be forced to watch because I had some crazy preconceived notion that it was just another crappy Seinfeld and/or Friends ripoff. It only took about 3 minutes in to the very first episode for me to realize how terribly wrong I was. And now I'm making it up to the show by watching it constantly (on FX, Hulu, DVDs, etc.) and blathering on about it to anyone who will listen.

Recently, I made the bold decision that it is the funniest sitcom ever. Yes, even funnier than Seinfeld. However, as soon as I made that decision, I felt uncomfortable about it because Seinfeld is probably much more clever. Sunny really does rely on R-rated crude humor and absurdity, whereas Seinfeld was all about funny PG-13 observations. For instance, I imagine that if Sunny had an episode like Seinfeld's "The Contest," there would be no "master of your domain" euphemisms. After all, they showed a bum jerking off in an alley in a recent episode. Of course, they didn't show "it," but the scene was so lacking in subtlety that they may as well have. So, on one hand, I have to give it to a show like Seinfeld for being able to hilariously tiptoe around such a raunchy topic. But, on the other hand, the characters on Sunny are more like real people in the way they speak and react, and their total lack of couth or a PC-filter makes them instantly relatable. Does that make them funnier? Uhhhh...I think so. But I'm not sure.

Since I'm still debating with myself over this subject, I figured I would talk to you, dear readers, about it, rather than just hashing it out with the voices in my head. All opinions are welcome.

Like any good obsession, this may be needlessly drawn out and complicated. I had been planning to pit the two shows against each other in a season-by-season smackdown, hoping that it would help me figure out which is the more consistently funny. However, like most of the grandiose blogging ideas I've conjured up when I should be working, that detailed comparison may never actually materialize. Either way, I thought I'd start small, by taking a look at how the respective casts measure up.

According to a recent episode of Sunny, every great gang is made up of three distinct types - the looks, the brains, and the wild card. Then, there is usually a useless chick, a nutjob, and some whipping boys and/or girls. I'll use those categories to start comparing.

The Looks
Jerry Seinfeld
(Jerry Seinfeld)
Now, Jerry isn't exactly a stud, but since he is the "leading man" of the show, this is really the only category in which he fits. (Plus, the guy did get laid a lot.) Like most guys who fall into this category, Jerry's very self-centered, extremely picky about women, and fairly insensitive. But with that standard-issue, high-pitched, stand-up comedian delivery, he manages to make even the rudest things sound funny.
Dennis Reynolds
(Glenn Howerton)
Dennis is a total dick. There's really no other way to say it. He's incredibly lazy, but his vanity has him convinced that he can cruise through life on the strength of his "Kennedy hair" and a body that was "sculpted to the proportions of Michelangelo's David." He's known to pop his shirt off at the most inopportune times.
While Dennis is the better-looking one, and I love him because he's such a dick, he gets edged out here for, well, being such a dick. He's hilarious, but sometimes he just reminds me too much of guys I've known, and then the laughter just turns to bitterness. Jerry may have ended up in jail for being a bad man, but he's Gandhi compared to Dennis. Not that "nicer" equals "funnier," but Jerry Seinfeld is the King of observational humor. I'm certainly not about to dethrone him.

The Brains
George Costanza
(Jason Alexander)
Again, calling George "the brains" might seem like a stretch, but what he lacks in common sense and book smarts is more than made up for with a brain full of inane ideas that never stop, and a penchant for ill-conceived schemes. Of course, we all know by now that George has a brilliant mind, but his obsession with sex has dumbed him down over the years. The smartest thing he ever did was to "do the opposite" of every impulse he ever had. Not sure why he never stuck with that.
(Rob McElhenny)
Mac might be even dumber than George. At least George was smart enough to know that he was always wrong. Mac would never "do the opposite," because he thinks he's totally "bad-ass." Pretty much everyone else knows he's an idiot though. His role as "the brains" came via self-appointment.
As much as I love Mac, George is one of the greatest characters in sitcom history. No one has ever portrayed a better mix of self-loathing and self-absorption quite like Jason Alexander in this role.

The Wild Card
Cosmo Kramer
(Michael Richards)
Everyone loves the K-man. He should be the most annoying person on Earth, but his eccentricity is so fascinating that you wish you had a friend like him. When you bust out a Kramerism on someone, rarely do they not know what you're talking about. Try it. Just walk up to a stranger and say, "These pretzels are making me thirsty." Or "Smell my arm." Or just "Giddyup." They'll know. And then they'll probably start a half-hour conversation with you about their favorite Seinfeld episode.
Charlie Kelly
(Charlie Day)
Charlie is a grungier version of Kramer. Charlie has a job, but lives in complete squalor, while that unemployed schlub, Kramer, is resting comfortably in his Upper East Side apartment. Charlie shares a fold-out couch with Frank (Danny DeVito), eats cat food, and pisses in a bucket so as to avoid the junkies who litter the hallway leading to his shared bathroom. He's also abortion survivor, and quite possibly an idiot savant. Despite all of this, he manages to remain amazingly upbeat. And while he's just as selfish as the other two guys, Charlie's got a sweet, lovable loser appeal.
As much as I enjoy Kramer's antics, this one goes to Charlie, hands down. You know how I mentioned before that George Costanza is one of the greatest sitcom characters ever? Well, Charlie Kelly is on that list too. I don't know where in the hell Charlie Day has been all my life, but I'm glad he's here now. This guy is so funny, I have actually laughed myself near the point of vomiting during some of his scenes. And the fact that he's just about the most adorable thing on two feet is the cherry on top. "Wild card, bitches!!"

The Useless Chick
Elaine Benes
(Julia Louis-Dreyfus)
Elaine is probably best known for her short temper, a habit of pushing people, a fondness for long skirts, and a wall of gorgeous hair. She is definitely a much more realistic "New York woman" than any of those pampered, slutty chicks from Sex and the City. Not to say that Elaine doesn't get around, but she'd probably tell you that most of her trips around the block weren't worth the effort. And her David Puddy is a better representation of the pickings out there than the fabulous Mr. Big or the ridiculously perfect Aidan Shaw.
Sweet Dee Reynolds
(Kaitlin Olson)
Poor Sweet Dee. She might be the voice of reason or the "conscience" of the group, which is scary considering that she's a horrible person too. But she seems like the one who could most be if she didn't spend all day drinking at the bar and hanging out with her dick brother, Dennis, she might actually have a decent life. Or maybe I just feel bad for her because the guys are always telling her that she looks like a giant bird.
Dee's great, but I've always felt a kinship with Elaine. There is one scene from an old episode where she gets stuck on a really crowded subway train that breaks down and then the power goes out. Her boiling anger as she just stands there gritting her teeth and screaming thoughts inside her head is one of my favorite scenes from any show. Aside from the power outage, I'm pretty sure I've lived that moment more than once.


The Loud, Fat Guy
(Wayne Knight)
Jerry's nemesis (for reasons unknown) who is always showing up to make life difficult.
Frank Reynolds
(Danny DeVito)
Dennis and Dee's dad, who found out he really isn't their dad, but probably really is Charlie's dad. He always carries a gun (for reasons unknown).
Newman's little outbursts get old after a while. I have to go with Frank here. It's Danny DeVito for cripes' sake! And he's got a gun!

The Other Useless Chick
Susan Ross
(Heidi Swedberg)
George's long-suffering fiancée who paid the ultimate price for George's penny-pinching ways.
The Waitress
(Mary Elizabeth Ellis)
A coffee shop waitress Charlie is obsessed with, who obsesses over Dennis and sleeps with just about every other guy in Philly but Charlie. No one seems to know her name except Charlie, although he's never actually said it.
Susan was never a very interesting character, so this one easily goes to The Waitress. I should probably be mad at Mary Elizabeth Ellis for having Charlie Day any time she wants (they're married off-screen), but she's too damn funny to hate.

So, that's 3 checks for the Seinfeld column and 3 checks for the Sunny column, which means...OH, come on! Dammit! I'm so glad I spent 40 hours writing up this summary (those HTML tables are NOT as easy as they look) to still not find a definitive answer. Great job, me.

Well, whatever. Maybe you fine TV-watching folks can break the tie. But I'm still leaning towards Sunny as my favorite sitcom in the history of history. Maybe it has something to do with scenes like the one below. Thank God for Hulu, because I have watched this episode (The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis) and, specifically, this scene an unhealthy number of times. To set up for anyone who hasn't seen the episode, Dennis, Mac, and Charlie decide to buy a bunch of gasoline so that they can sell it for profit when the prices inevitably rise. This is their attempt to get a bank loan, using their looks, brains, and, uh, wild cardedness.

Of course, Sunny's bar was set with the very first scene from the very first episode, The Gang Gets Racist. This clip shouldn't need much set-up.

And, finally, from Seinfeld, Elaine's aforementioned subway ordeal:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Eye Boogers

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

Britney and Justin Help Out the Elderly - The two ex-luvahs are scheduled to perform alongside Madonna tonight on her L.A. tour stop. In future news, Britney is pregnant with Justin's baby and Justin has contracted chlamydia, herpes, the crazies, and a fake British accent.

Beyoncé Wants to Be Known as "Sasha Fierce" - Yeah, how's that going for you, Beyoncé? Maybe Jay-Z, Tyra Banks, and Christian Siriano won't mind calling you that, but everyone else is sticking with Beyoncé.

Simon Cowell is a Free Agent - Simon's shrill, talking-head girlfriend dumped him recently, apparently because he didn't want to get married. It could also have something to do with the fantastic parting gifts - £3 million cash and a £2.3 million mansion. I guess that beats what she got during the relationship - an inferiority complex due to more public interest in his nipples than hers, his constant complaints that she didn't separate his black tee-shirts from his off-black ones in the wash, and the constant drunken 2:00 a.m. calls from Paula Abdul. Come to think of it, after six years of that, £5.3 million in cash and prizes might not be enough. (I'm totally kidding, Simon. Call me!)

Carrie's Neuroses Are Back! - Kim Cattrall recently confirmed that she and the other Sex and the City gals will film a sequel to the movie this summer. (Can I get a little Aidan this time around?? Sheesh.) I would tell all you ladies out there to start planning your wardrobe for the premiere now, but of course your outfits would be out of style by then, and it would be so gauche to sit in a dark theater for three ass-numbing hours in anything less than your designer best.

Denise Richards Gets Renewed - The loathsome "actress" and her loathsome "reality" show just got picked up by E! for a second season. This begs the question, "Why???" I mean, I love a lot of garbage TV, but this isn't even good enough for the garbage. It's like the show that fell out of the dumpster and is now just used as a urinal by street urchins. Is there any show worse than this?

Larry Birkhead Attempts to Answer the Above Question - Yes, Anna Nicole's ex is finally getting around to making a reality show. Who knows what took so long. I mean, Dannielynn is already a year old! Evidently, it took some prodding from everyone's favorite advice guru, Tori Spelling, before he could agree to exploit his daughter on TV. I imagine the conversation went something like this:
Tori: "Hey, Larry. Why don't you..."
Larry: "Do a reality show!?!?? That's a GREAT idea! Of course, it must be done tastefully. Like that Denise Richards show."


Spencer Pratt Kills Heidi Montag - Ha ha, jackass! Made you click! It's just my caption contest. But since you're already there, you might as well enter.

Forgotten Classic Video of the Week

As visual accompaniment to one song from my Green Monkey Mix, please enjoy Roy Orbison's performance of "The Comedians." This clip comes from Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night, a program that everyone who even has the slightest interest in music should have seen by now. C'est magnifique.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Six Degrees of the GMMP: The Great Love Sandwich

Many of you probably remember the joy that was Splotchy's Green Monkey Music Project, and the sorrow of its demise. Well, folks, add this to your Obama high. The GMMP is back!! (You non-high McCain supporters can think of this as a little pick-me-up toke.)

If you are a stranger to the GMMP, basically it's an interactive "mix tape" project for the blogging community. Lucky participants get to throw their song selections into different mixes, the themes of which are determined by "Green Monkey Masters." (Players are named Masters after participating in three mixes.) Splotchy used to do all the heavy lifting of compiling the tunes, but he's recently gotten a lot of help from that other music maven, Beth.

Speaking of Beth, she finally got to use her status as a Green Monkey Master to helm this latest mix, called Six Degrees of Music. Much like the Kevin Bacon game, the idea here was to pick six different songs that could be connected in any number of ways (e.g., band members, cover tunes, etc).

I immediately wondered if it would be possible to connect my #1 man, John Travolta, to my #2 man, Eddie Vedder. As you might imagine, it didn't take me too long to make the links in that chain.

Click here to download the mix (or just the pieces you want). But first, let me clue you in on the ingredients that went into my Great Love Sandwich, and how they all fit together.

"Sandy," John Travolta - I'm not sure that I really need to explain this, but...I think I might have mentioned once or twice that Grease is my favorite movie and Travolta is my favorite person in the world. Well, this song is my favorite from the Grease soundtrack. Simple.

"Domino," Squeeze - I always get a thrill hearing another great love of mine, Glenn Tilbrook, singing the line, "Surprised to find my two left feet in John Travolta's shoes." No matter that the line was written by Chris Difford.

"From a Whisper to a Scream," Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Elvis produced and provided background vocals for Squeeze's '81 classic, East Side Story, and this song from his own '81 album, Trust, features a guest vocal by my darling Mr. Tilbrook. (You all know I met him, RIGHT???)

"The Comedians," Roy Orbison
- This is an Elvis Costello song from his 1984 album, Goodbye Cruel World. Roy covered it for Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night, a live special that aired on HBO in 1988. I remember watching this on HBO back then, and on PBS dozens of times over the last 20 years. Backed by "friends" like Costello, Bruce Springsteen, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, and Tom Waits, Roy put on an amazing show. His version of "The Comedians" actually prompted me to look up the Costello original, which, actually, isn't nearly as good.

"Thunder Road," Bruce Springsteen - Again, I probably don't really need to explain this, but..."Roy Orbison singing for the lonely, hey that's me and I want you only."

"One Step Up," Eddie Vedder - This is a cover of the Springsteen tune, recorded for a demo way back in 1988, pre-Pearl Jam. It's a pretty faithful version, although I miss the female backing vocal, and the drum machine at the end borders on cheesy. But what the hell, it's pretty damn polished for a demo!

So there it is - the path that leads from Travolta to Vedder. That was easy, wasn't it? Now if only it were as easy to connect myself to them.

Requisite Election Post

Yes, I voted for Obama and I'm glad he's our new prez, but I still don't like cluttering up my fluffball of a blog with serious political matters. Still, I feel the eyes of the blogosphere on me, ready to judge if I don't acknowledge this election in some way. So here goes.

Question of the Day
What will happen first: Obama's inauguration or one of these inbred dingleberries trying to take a shot at him?

This recent plot doesn't really count because, well, those dudes were morons. I mean, seriously, their plan was to "drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama, shooting at him from the windows." Yeah, that would work. I'm sure they could've found Obama just leisurely strolling through the parking lot at Piggly Wiggly some Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

Damn you, motivated marathoners outside my window! Especially you one-legged runners and wheelchair racers. It's Sunday. I just wanted to relax today. I really didn't need to be reminded of how much I suck.


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