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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowed In? Watch this.

Even the tiniest smidge of snow brings North Carolina to its knees, which means, I guess, we're officially snowed in this weekend. That's all right by me. Gives me time to update my various blogs, test my podcasting equipment--I'll have an announcement about the NEW podcast in the next couple of weeks--continuing re-reading Douglas Adams (I'm on Life, the Universe and Everything), watch a couple of films, throw snowballs at the cat, put together a windmill puzzle with my wife, urinate several times, stare at the wall, etc.

Whether you're snowed in or not this weekend, here's a 5-Second Movie that our old friend Jordan Beall brought to my attention via Twitter that I think you might enjoy. I will warn you that it is NSFW or people offended by swears. I'm not at work and I swear constantly, so I'm going to watch it a whole damn bunch of times. Happy Snow Day.



Check out more 5-Second Films here. I've been doing it for so long, I forgot to eat lunch!


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Crumbling Institution?

Nothing really great happens in January. It's cold. It's dark. It's depressing. Sure, on the twenty-eighth day of every January I inch ever closer to my grave, but on the whole it's kind of a blah month. Nobody looks forward to January beyond the 1st, which for a government employee like myself, means paid vacation. Actually, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a paid holiday too, so, OK, maybe there are two days that make January worthwhile.

For the past eight years I, and I've been told millions of others, have turned to the American Idol audition shows to yank me out of my January funk and restore the warm spark that only laughing at ridiculously delusional and untalented morons make complete fools of themselves on national television can provide. Yes, each January FOX treats America to a cavalcade of the lonely, damaged, and confused, and I for one salute them. It's not that I'm a mean-spirited old crank, though some may describe me as such, I just enjoy a good idiot. C'mon! Who among us doesn't love watching an idiot do something goofy and unintelligent sometimes? If you say you don't, you're a filthy liar. The Germans have a word for the phenomenon: schadenfreude, or pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

So it was with great joy when earlier this month I snuggled under the covers with my wife, who pretends to not want to watch it with me, and waited for American Idol to shower me with goofy idiots being stupid. Only as the first hour of the two hour premiere came to a close, I found myself in a state of bewilderment. "What's going on?" I thought. I hadn't guffawed. I hadn't tittered into my upturned palm. I hadn't cracked a smile. Not once. Had there not been as many dimwits, dorkwads, and dum-dums this year? Had I perhaps matured beyond the point of finding bad singers who wholly believe themselves to not only be the next American Idol, but the second coming of pop music itself, not that funny? That couldn't be it. Next thing you know, I'd stop laughing at YouTube videos of fat people falling down.

I wasn't even charmed by Pants on the Ground Guy a few nights later:
I feel like we get a character like this one every year. How is Pants on the Ground Guy any different from whatever retired military officer/probably homeless guy who wandered into last season's auditions and screeched some made up song that Randy Jackson mocked for about ten minutes too long? Pants on the Ground Guy had a point-of-view, I guess, but who gives a shit? What elderly, possibly inebriated, black man hasn't at some point or other complained about the fact that many of today's youth wearing their pants in a less than dignified fashion? Pants on the Ground Guy wasn't breaking any new ground, he was just repeating the same hacky shit you'd expect from any weird old person American Idol producers have dragged in front of Simon, Randy, Paula, and Kara in the past.

And another thing! The addition of a different guest judge for each night of auditions after Paula Abdul's exit seemed like a fun idea, but it has been just the opposite. Sort of. I mean, seriously, what did Mary J. Blige or Shania Twain add to the proceedings? If you said nothing, give yourself a gold star. Mary J. Blige wasn't cruel enough--and don't get it twisted, folks, cruelty is a necessity when being an American Idol judge--and Shania Twain was boring. The wife and I were excited for the Orlando auditions, us being huge Kristin Chenoweth fans and all, but were crestfallen when she left at the end of Day 1 and never returned.

Ironically, the two guest judges I was least jazzed about--Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry--have ended up being the most interesting to watch: Lavigne because she is, as I've always suspected, pure evil, and Perry because, frankly, she's easy on the eyes. And she is also mean. Tonight, of course, NPH joins the panel, but I'm afraid it may be too little too late.

What gives, American Idol auditions? You are typically the only part of the show I watch and I usually have such a great time. This year though, I don't know. You've been heavy on sob stories and light on psychopaths, though the guy last night with the giant face and the Twilight-vampire singing "Cult of Personality" made up for a weak start. I'm hoping you've compiled a Best of the Worst special worthy of my exacting tastes and plan to run it sometime in the near future. Until then, consider me deeply disappointed.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

100 Songs I Love: 9-12

9. "Frank Mills" (from Hair)

If there are two things I hate more than anything else, it's hippies and audience participation. Oddly enough though, I am completely in love with this tune from the Broadway musical Hair, which I've heard includes large sections of uncomfortable interactions between performers dressed as hippies and audience members. For this reason, I have little to no interest in sitting through a performance of Hair ever ever ever. Ever.

I heard this song for the first time on a Showtime mini-series called Out of Order. I don't remember what the show was about, but I think it had something to do with Eric Stoltz engaging in dirty sex with Justine Bateman. Actress Kim Dickens sang "Frank Mills" in one episode of the program, but I don't remember why. I guess the only good thing that came out of Out of Order was that I discovered a new song. This song:


Favorite lyrics: "I love him, but it embarrasses me to walk down the street with him/He lives in Brooklyn somewhere and wears this white crash helmet."

10. "Goodnight and Go" (Imogen Heap)

I think it's adorable when couples have "a song." "That's our song," they'll tell friends when it plays at a bar or over the PA system at Wal-mart. Then they'll exchange a quick kiss and everyone surrounding them while sigh "Awwww." When I see something like that I can't help myself: cheeks are gonna get pinched.

So for the longest time I was bothered by the fact that me and my then-girlfriend/now-wife did not have a song to call our own. We had a movie (The Squid and the Whale--the first film I took her to see) and we had a "joke our song" ("You're Beautiful" by James Blunt), but we didn't have a for realz, honest-to-goodness "our song." I was bummed. So, without consulting Jen, I chose Imogen Heap's "Goodnight and Go" as "our official song" and alerted her via mix CD, hoping she would hear the lyrics--which, at the time, described our situation quite accurately--and come to the conclusion that this was a perfect song for us on her own.

Of course, at our wedding we christened a new song "our song" when we shared our first dance to Belle and Sebastian's "We Rule the School"--I had also suggested They Might be Giants "Another First Kiss" and Nelly McKay's "I Want to Get Married," the latter because of it's sarcastically cynical view of the institution of marriage, which Jen said wouldn't make sense since we would be dancing to it "after" sealing the deal and the song was about someone wanting to get married someday in the future--but "Goodnight and Go" remains the song that takes me back to those first few months of our courtship.


Favorite lyrics: "Why'd you have to be so cute? It's impossible to ignore you. Why must you make me laugh so much? It's bad enough we get along so well."

Other favorite lyrics: "One of these days, you'll miss your train and come stay with me. We'll have drinks and talk about things and--any excuse to stay awake with you."

11. "Gumby Theme Song"

With one simple line--"If you've gotta heart then Gumby's a part of you"--Art Clokey united the world. That's kind of beautiful if you think about it.

Damn that show was weird though. Right?


Other great kids show theme songs: Gummi Bears Theme (Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears); Finnish DuckTales Theme (DuckTales in Finland); The Snorks Theme (The Snorks); Fraggle Rock Theme (Fraggle Rock); Jem Theme (Jem)

12. "Let's Stay Together" (Al Green)

Who can resist the dulcet tones of Al Green? I sure can't. For my money there is no song sexier than "Let's Stay Together," which makes it my go to tune when the mood in the bedroom shifts from "farting contest" to "lovemakin' time." Awwww, yeah! You can have "Sexual Healing," awkward teenagers making love for the first time. Keep your James Brown Baby Making Music Mixtape to yourself, weirdos who compiled your own James Brown baby making mixtape. Drop the needle on "Let's Stay Together" and it's on!

Also a great song for road trips, a night in, gym workouts, mountain hikes, driving to friends house for an evening of Super Mario Bros. Wii, etc.
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Morning News Bits: hamster death, man saves opossum, Scientology, Susan Boyle, Kenickie's funeral, and ice dancing

1. HAMSTER MEET HAMMER

From time to time I've verbally blasted Dina Lohan, Lindsay Lohan's fame-whore troll of a mom, on the pages of this blog, calling her an "unfit mother" and a "concubine of the Devil himself." Sure, she's obnoxious, attention-seeking, and wholly reprehensible, but her awfulness pales in comparison to this piece of human shit:

A Georgia mother is accused of forcing her 12-year-old son to kill his pet hamster because of a bad report card.

It happened last Thursday at the family’s home, said Meriwether County Sheriff Steve Witlock. Investigators said Lynn Geter made her son use a hammer to kill the hamster.

Geter was arrested Friday following an interview with investigators. She is charged with battery, cruelty to children and cruelty to animals.

HOLY CRAP, right? This is definitely one of the top 1,000 horrible things I've ever read about a mother doing to her child in the news. "Hmmmm, I don't like these grades, Tommy. I don't like these grades at all. I'm thinking you need to be punished. I think you're gonna have to hammer Mr. Fluff-Fluff to death. That'll learn ya."

You know, this story is terrible, but what a motivation tool. I mean, if I'd known that slacking off in high school would result in my parents forcing me to murder the family dog with a hacksaw or a belt sander or something, I probably would have studied harder. I'm just saying.
2. MANKIND VS. ANIMALKIND: AN UPDATE

The GEP News Department has been keeping track of the secret war currently being raged between animals and humans, a war we like to think we had a big part in sparking. You're welcome.

Well, finally there's some good news. It seems that in some places humans and animals are finally coming together as one to forge a new trail of peace. This story out of Wisconsin filled this old newsman with hope this week. You might want to have a few tissues ready.

When Dean Hall ventured into a West Allis back alley on Wednesday night, he saw two youngsters standing over a tiny marsupial. The boys were mercilessly beating the helpless creature.

"They're just sitting there kicking the crap out of the possum," Hall said as he stood in the alley where the assault occurred. "I hollered at 'em."

One of the youngsters took off immediately. But the other stood his ground and resumed kicking the furry animal. Without thinking, Hall hurled a container of ice tea at the kid.

Sniff-sniff. There's more, people. OH GOD...

When the second boy took off, Hall moved in to help the injured opossum. He took off his sweater and then removed the sleeveless t-shirt he was wearing underneath. Gingerly, he wrapped the animal in the cotton shirt and set out for The Wisconsin Humane Society.

"We're really delighted he took the chance of advocating for little Ellie," said Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Manager Scott Deihl after staffers named the opossum. "She really needed somebody to step in."


GEP salutes you, Dean Hall, for your great strides in making peace between humans and animals. Everyone take note of Hall's admirable accomplishment and make sure you're ready to act when you see hoodlums beating up on a defenseless animal. Maybe start carrying a jug of iced tea around with you. Couldn't hurt.
3. SEND IN THE CLOWNS

The current situation in Haiti is awful, but people all over the world, both regulars and celebrities, have joined together to do what they can to help the Haitian people rebuild their earthquake-ravaged country. It has all been quite beautiful to see, with the exception of that performance by a caterwauling Wyclef Jean on George Clooney's Friday night telethon. Ick.

Scientology is getting involved now as well, in fact, famous Scientologist and Bobby Brown cover artist, John Travolta, has personally sent in over 100 ministers, medics, and those trained in the delicate fake art of "touch assist." What is "touch assist" you ask? Well, it basically consists of "touching sufferers with one finger near their injury, and partial re-enactment of the trauma."

Go, Scientology! If there's anything a Haitian needs right now it's some dude poking him and having him re-enact that time the roof collapsed crushing his legs to pulp and killing his wife and infant child.

Go make another awful movie, Travolta, and leave the earthquake relief to Fantastic Mr. Fox.
4. A BOIL ON THE BRITISH RECORD INDUSTRY'S ASS

Remember last year when all those fringe Facebook friends of yours were slapping Susan Boyle videos up on their wall and weeping about how well she could belt out a showtune even though she kinda looked like a Middle Earth orc squeezed into human clothing? Remember how you watched the video and thought, "Meh?" Well, apparently the entire British recording industry agrees with your assessment. And this is surprising to anybody with even a smidgeon of musical taste?

...Susan Boyle's act is apparently not music to the ears of the British record industry, which failed to honor her with a single nomination for the 2010 Brit Awards.

Some in the British press speculate that the Scottish singer, 48, whose album "I Dreamed a Dream" topped the U.S. and UK charts, simply isn't trendy or stylish enough.

"The problem for the Brits is they're supposed to be a celebration of British music -- and cool," one source told the Daily Mail. "And whatever anyone thinks of Susan Boyle, she certainly isn't cool."

And there's your honest answer: Susan Boyle is not cool. She isn't. And it isn't "neat" that she is musically talented while being dowdy, plain, and fat. I've seen plenty of fat, unattractive singers in my day. I'm never like, "Holy shit, that ugly fat guy can sing! I never thought someone so morbidly obese and grotesque could do anything other than eat, fart, and get uglier." I've never thought that because it is insulting. Yes, insulting! Everyone who posted videos of Susan Boyle on their Facebook page last year should be ashamed of themselves. You were essentially saying, "OMG! Can you believe this fat uggo can actually sing??? WTF???" and that is just wrong.
5. JEFF CONAWAY IS A VIKING NOW

Jeff Conaway, seen here having his tongue sucked by misguided fame-whore girlfriend Vikki Lizzi, apparently wants to die, and, dammit, who are we to say he shouldn't. He's lived a rough life since those glory days on Taxi. We all saw him on that Rehab House show, right, walking around with a cane and shouting nonsense like a doped up Grandpa Simpson? He was a mess, a train wreck, a fucking Kenickie-shaped shell of a former C-level celebrity you halfway recognized from somewhere.

He fell down the stairs this week (don't laugh...don't laugh...) and now Vikki Lizzi is telling E! News that Conaway has started planning his funeral.

"He's talking about being burned on a boat and sent out to sea like a Viking funeral. It sends chills up my spine," Vikki Lizzi told E! News. "We're all trying to save his life, and he's not listening."

Hey, as long as you televise the funeral, I'm fine with it. Can you imagine watching Jeff Conaway in the middle of, like, a lake or something, burning on a funeral pyre? It might restore some dignity back to his legacy.

When reached for comment about expressing his desire for a Viking-style funeral, Conaway said, "I DID NOT! TAKE IT BACK!"
6. ICE DANCE TRIBUTE DEEMED RACIST BY SOME; STUPID BY ALL

Ice dance tributes: they're lame. But sometimes an ice dance tribute transcends lameness and becomes something much more sinister, even racist.

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, the favorites for ice-dancing gold in Vancouver, wowed the crowds with their routine at the European Championships. They sit in the lead after their original dance, a tribute to Australian Aborigines.

Except, Aboriginal leaders don't see it as a tribute. As AFP reports, they don't really see how it has anything to do with their culture at all.

"They have got the whole thing wrong," said Stephen Page, artistic director of the respected indigenous group, the Bangarra Dance Company. Page said there were no traditional movements in the routine, the music sounded more like it came from India or Africa than Aboriginal Australia and the body paint looked like "a three-year-old child had drawn it on"... "Probably the elders in the bush would be laughing because they would be saying, 'Look how stupid these fellas are,' " he said.


Hey, pal, they were trying to honor your people through ice dance! Why don't you lighten the shit up?! GEEZ!

In all fairness to Mr. Page, ice dance tributes are stupid. I think everybody loses in this scenario.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

100 Songs I Love: 6-8

6. "America" (Simon & Garfunkel)

This list of 100 Songs I Love could easily be 75% Paul Simon. If I wanted to, I could list my favorites and moon over them like a lovestruck teenage girl over a sparkly Mormon vampire, describing in graphic detail where I was the first time I heard a particular song, who was with me, what we wearing doing, what I wish we had been doing, and how sore my testicles were after we finished doing what we were doing and not what I wished we were doing (My high school girlfriend and I listened to a lot of Simon & Garfunkel when we made out).

Like I said, I could do that--easily--but I won't. Instead I'll focus on one--for now--and attempt to put into words why I like it so much. So, here we go: "America."

Uh, hmmmmmmm. Well...no...hang on. I love the song "America" because...no, that's dumb. Um. Er. Dammit. Oh, I know...no, that's what I thought was dumb before. Shit. Think! Think!

You know what, I love "America" for the same reason I love most Paul Simon songs: the lyrics. And I don't mean all the lyrics, I mean one solitary line that when heard triggers my eyes to well up with what a doctor once told me were "tears." The music is genius, of course, as are the harmonies with Art Garfunkel, but it's those two lines toward the end of the song that make "America" one of most beautifully gut-wrenching songs in the Paul Simon canon:



"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping./"I'm empty and aching and I don't why..."


It's those little moments in Simon's songs that make him one of the greatest songwriters of all time.


Various Paul Simon lyrics that destroy me every time I hear them: She comes back to tell me she's gone/as if I didn't know that/as if I didn't know my own bed/as if I never noticed the way she brushed her hair from her forehead ("Graceland"); Don't talk of love/Well, I've heard the word before/It's sleeping in my memory ("I Am A Rock"); August, die she must/The autumn wind blows chilly and cold/September I'll remember/A love once new has now grown old ("April Come She Will")

7. "SOS" (ABBA)

Hey, man, what's your beef with ABBA, huh? Why are you always calling their music "lame" and "gay" and "not fit for dogs let alone human beings?" What's your problem? We're you among the 250 babies born each year without a soul (Check the medical journals before you call me a kook!), because that is literally the only reason I can think of that would explain your extreme hatred for the greatest Swedish pop group in the history of Swedish pop.

Perhaps you were in a horrible automobile accident and the part of you brain that enjoys goodness and decency was somehow damaged. If this is the case, allow me to express my heartfelt condolences, but also, fuck you! ABBA is great! You're just being a dick, you dick!

That high school girlfriend I mentioned earlier--the one who provided me a whole summer of "blue balls"--made me a lot of mix tapes and in two instances I hurt her feelings upon critique. The second time was when she included a cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Tori Amos on a otherwise enjoyable compilation of songs.

"What is this shit?" I asked, a douchy grin on my face.

"I thought you'd like!" she cried angrily before collapsing into a ball of tears and snot. Yes, that is the effect I had on women. Once.

The first time: my reaction to her inclusion of the ABBA hit "Dancing Queen."

"What is this shit?" I snorted like the snarky aging hipster some accuse of being today.

"It's "Dancing Queen" by ABBA," she explained, her eyes sparkly with fresh tears.

"It's gay is what is," I laughed, ejecting the cassette and tossing it out the driver's side window.

It wasn't until years later, when I gave them a fighting chance, that I discovered my unwavering love for ABBA, the Swedish Kings and Queens of Pop. I still hate "Dancing Queen" with a passion most people reserve for individuals who perpetrate vile crimes upon helpless children, and I was not impressed by Mama Mia when I saw it in Charlotte with my wife and parents, but all things considered, ABBA is OK in my book.

"SOS," a peppy number about the breakdown of a romantic relationship, is a beautifully crafted pop song and one of my favorite ABBA songs. I defy you not to fall in love with it after watching this performance on American Bandstand from 1975. I think the cat t-shirt dresses catapult the song to more incredible heights then a simple recording could ever hope to do.


8. "Pilot Can at the Queer of God" (The Flaming Lips)


It's strange: I grew up attending church and was a beloved member of the youth group, but I never really had anything in common with anybody else at all. There was Brent, of course, my best friend and fellow Bush fan, and Karen, but she listened to a bunch of shit from the '70's that I refused to give a chance until much later in life. All three of us enjoyed REM. I don't know what anyone else listened to because they never talked about music, like, ever. This was an unthinkable blasphemy as far as I was concerned--going a day without discussing the latest Smashing Pumpkins release or waxing poetic on how ska was the best form of music in the history of mankind (I was still very young, very susceptible to horn sections) was a day ill spent. These people--these "friends"-- seemed to be content listening to their youth choir practice cassettes followed by a basket of fried cheese at the local Applebee's. Make no mistake, I enjoyed the company of my fellow youth groupers, I just couldn't figure out how or why they enjoyed mine.

For those of you who are not aware, Protestant youth groups regularly organize extremely chaste after-church parties known as "afterglows." These afterglows are often held at the home of a youth group member and involve light hors d'oeuvres and various organized games and activities. I remember one afterglow in which I was the only person permitted to spend time with the host-teenager's pet ferrets. I don't know why I was given this honor, as I basically hate ferrets, but I was locked in a room with two of them nonetheless. It made me feel kind of special, I guess.

My family had a ping-pong table (and an in-ground swimming pool, but I'm no show-off) and at one particular afterglow an impromptu tournament broke out. "This ping-pong tourney needs some tunes," I thought, so I pressed "#3" on my 5-Disc CD Changer and filled the room with The Flaming Lips' Transmissions from the Satellite Heart, a recent acquisition that I had been deriving a great deal of pleasure from. "Turn It On" played through without a peep from anyone. "They're probably too glued to the sweet table tennis action to react," I thought. "I should, as the Lips say, 'turn it on and all the way up.'" I turned up the volume for song #2, one of my very favorites on an album full of instant classics, "Pilot Can at the Queer of God."


A girl I had a crush on at the time, screwed up her face as if she had just watched me drive a nail into a kitten's skull in front of her and remarked, "Oh, Matty (she called me Matty a lot, but that's a different story), this is NOT music."

I was crushed. I think I may have said something sarcastic, as was my style at the time, and turned the volume down, but I could have just as easily switched off the stereo and stomped out of the room pouting. I was always being accused of extreme moodiness when I was a teenager. And everyone in that youth group, without exception, at one time or another, thought I hated his or her guts. Was I really that much of a dick? Answer: Oh, yes.

I hate to break it do you, girl I had a crush on who shall not be named here, but "Pilot Can at the Queer of God" IS music, in fact, it's pretty kick-ass. Crunchy, melodic, and insane, "Pilot" remains one of my very favorite Flaming Lips' tracks.

Note on the 'Matty Girl': You may be wondering why I had a crush on someone who clearly had no appreciation for great music. Well, I should also inform you that I took this girl on a date to see Fargo, which I had already skipped school to see one afternoon and loved. She hated it. Yes, I liked a girl who hated The Flaming Lips and Fargo and who I never once felt up or received even a peck on the cheek from. There's no excuse, but I'd like to present one anyway:

One afternoon, I invited her and two other female friends over to swim in that fancy backyard swimming pool I mentioned earlier. She was quite voluptuous and I remember enjoying very much how she looked in a bathing suit. So...there you go.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Morning News Bits: cat jury, snowball fight, chopsticks, elephants, idiots, crazy ladies, and kissing

1. I CAN HAZ GUILTY VERDICT?

Sal Esposito of East Boston was called up for jury duty this week. The only problem is...SAL ESPOSITO IS A CAT! BOING!

Sal’s owners, Guy and Anna Esposito, think they may know the source of the mix up: Sal really is a member of the family, so on the last Census form, Anna Esposito listed him under “pets”.

“I just wrote ‘Sal Esposito’, scratched out the ‘dog,’ and wrote, ‘cat,’” said Anna.


Wait. There is a space on the census form for pets, but then the only option is "dog?" As if a dog is the only species that could conceivably be considered an official "member of the family." I'm appalled, East Boston! As a certified "cat person," I am greatly offended by this revelation. Cats are every bit as important as dogs in the family hierarchy. Sure, they're more like a great uncle that you rarely ever see and when you do he's standoffish and batting around a ball of yarn, but he still gets a Christmas card laced with catnip. He's family. Technically.

My favorite part of this story is the fact that Sal's owners have attempted to explain the mix-up and have requested the cat's service disqualified and the request has been denied.
2. SNOW BALL PUNKS: YOU'VE BEEN WARNED

You don't mess with Sylvester Hill and some snowball-toting hoodlums learned that lesson the hard way this week.

According to a police report, Hill said he asked the teens to [stop throwing snowballs at cars], but he said they treated him disrespectfully and refused to do as he asked.

Police said Hill pointed a gun at the teenagers, but he said he did not point the gun at anyone and never cocked the weapon.

Hill's arrest resulted in the 70-year-old man having to turn over all of his handguns to authorities. Now how is he supposed to defend his neighbors' vehicles from snowballs?

If I'd had a gun pointed at me every time I was caught throwing snowballs at cars when I was growing up, well, I would've had a shit ton of guns pointed at me. So your car gets a few snowballs chucked at it. Who cares?

Stupider than this stupid story is this stupid comment left by WLWT.com reader "dreamer" who writes:

Society needs to wake up and put the blame where it belongs. now the local punks know he is not armed, and cannot protect his own life or the life of his family. O'h I'm sorry, all he has to do is call 911, then probally die at the hands of these punks.Its a shame he didnt go ahead and kill as many as he could. that would send a message that you dont act like animals,and damage other peoples property, and when your told to quit,you do so. now the other message has been sent that if you try to protect your own property the punks have more rights than you do.

Really, dreamer? The snowball-throwing teens are going to return to Mr. Hill's residence and murder him? Seriously? They were throwing snowballs at parked cars, asshole! They weren't burning down houses or raping babies. They were goofing around! But now that these "punks," as you call them repeatedly, are aware that Mr. Hill is unarmed they'll have no qualms at all with breaking into his house and slaughtering his family? You are an idiot!
3. THIS WOULDN'T HAPPEN IF YOU'D JUST USE FORKS!

14-month-old Li Jingchao had a chopstick removed from his brain this week. Li was apparently playing with the chopstick when he fell and the chopstick was driven into his brain by way of his nose. Sounds like the time I was "browsing" in a "sex novelty shop" and I "fell" on a "phallic" "sex novelty."

Li is gonna be OK, by the way. Doctors were afraid that removal of the chopstick would result in severe brain hemorrhaging, paralyzation or death, but Li suffered nothing worse than a bloody nose and an infection, which I can only assume was of the brain since it wasn't explained any further in the article. Our prayers are with you, Li Jingchao. Maybe next time find something more appropriate to play with than chopsticks. Surely China manufactures enough lead-based toys to keep some for their own children.
4. YOU GET RIGHT THE HELL OUT OF VERMONT, JUMBO

You're lucky you don't live in Vermont, 10-year-old Wylie Malek, because they hate elephants. Yes, in the eyes of the crooked politicians who run the state government, elephants are nothing more than walking tuberculosis farms who will not rest until every man, woman, and child is stricken with the deadly disease.

You think that's crazy? Wait until you see what else is going on in Vermont. You may want to put on an adult diaper because you are gonna totally shit your pants:

-Chain restaurants will be required to display nutritional information on the menu. WHAT? How do you expect me to clog my arteries in good conscience now that I know the fat content of the chili-cheese fries? Killing yourself slowing used to be so much more fun. And more delicious.

-Hunters will have to wear orange when walking around in the woods. RIDICULOUS! Accidental shooting stories make the local news worth during the hunting season. C'mon, Vermont!

-Asian women will no longer be forced to work in illegal massage parlors. I don't think I need to say anything more about that. You sicken me, Vermont.
5. SOUTH PROVES IT REALLY IS A PLACE FULL OF STUPID PEOPLE

I've lived in the South now for over 15 years. I love it, especially the area I live, work, and eat to excess in now. Growing up in the Midwest, I never gave it a second thought when I heard people ripping on the South. "Southerners are dumb inbred racists," they'd say and I'd smile and laugh. "All they do is say "y'all" and eat pork rinds and burn crosses and thump Bibles and hump their cousins."

The truth is, Southerners are some of the nicest people on the planet. There are pockets of racism and pork rind consumption here and there, but for the most part Southerners are warm and friendly. And the people here aren't stupid. Sure, many of them talk too slow for my taste, but I can count the number of dumb Southern stereotypes I've met on one hand. Maybe two.

Of course, I've never been to Desoto, Georgia. Something tells me I'd need a lot more hands:

Two members of the city council in a small Sumter County town weren't actually elected to those posts.

No one in the city realized they were supposed to hold an election last year.

The Secretary of State's office says they better fix it soon.

They face seven potential violations, including failing to publish public notice 30 days prior to the election, and failing to appoint an election superintendent.

"We just forgot it, that's the only thing that happened we just forgot it," said Addie Cutts, City of DeSoto Councilwoman.

She said no one in the city council ever raised the question of holding elections in 2009 during their regular scheduled meetings.

"We never mentioned it, not to my knowledge," said Cutts.

6. LADIES BE TRIPPIN'

Women: they're nuts! But you know that already. Chances are you're around members of the female sex every single day or are female yourself. They're crazy these females. Am I right, fellas? You know I'm right.

Take Alesha McMullen for instance. McMullen was dining at a local McDonalds restaurant this week when she discovered that her cheeseburger had been prepared in a fashion that did not meet her dietary needs. So she did this:
Craaaaa-zy!

Residents of Orlando may have seen our next nutty broad standing outside of the police department last Tuesday:
That's Alexandra Espinosa-Amaya from Colombia. In November 2008, Espinosa-Amaya assaulted a police officer outside of something called the "Dragon Room" which I assume is a facility in which Medieval dragons are birthed and bred, but is more likely some kind of sweaty dance club. Anyway, part of Espionosa-Amaya's punishment was to make this fruity sign and stand around the police department.

Two things: First, the sign is stupid. Flower stickers? Really? To me, this sign sort of mocks the seriousness of the situation.

Second: This conversation between Alexandra and a local reporter:

Local 6 News reporter Tony Pipitone asked Espinosa-Amaya what she had to say to police.

"Whiskey," she replied.

"Whiskey?" Pipitone answered.

"That's what we say in Colombia," she said.

Whatta loon!
7. KISSING KONTEST

Houston's Bridal Extravaganza Kissing Contest '10 is over and the winners are: Natalie Silvas and Likhi Orozco and LaShae Tates and Christopher Green. No, they didn't share a four-way kiss (that would've been so hot...), rather each couple kissed amongst themselves for 15 and a half hours. Each couple was awarded $5,000 (SWEET!) worth of wedding-related products (LAME.).

15 hours seems like a long-ass time to kiss, but keep in mind last year's winners went 22 hours. That sounds terrible.

Of course the biggest news story of the week is the terrible tragedy in Haiti. We've had a good time this morning joking around and laughing, but in Haiti people who are truly hurting need more than goofy jokes. Take some time to visit the following sites and if you have anything extra, why not donate it to these people in need. Thanks.






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Friday, January 15, 2010

Stop Already: Pat Robertson Edition




If you're like me, you're not exactly surprised by Pat Robertson's recent muddled comments about how the recent earthquake in Haiti is somehow a result of a "pact with the devil" the Haitians made to overthrow Napoleon III "or whatever." What is sort of surprising is just how many people are actually really outraged by this statement. Doesn't there come a point when you just stop listening to someone who constantly says stuff like this? Shouldn't we just stop listening?

Seriously, this guy is the same guy who:

1. Blamed the near destruction of a major coastal city by a hurricane on abortion.
2. Insinuated that a small town that rejected intelligent design might get struck with a tornado.
3. Warned a major coastal resort town to stop supporting homosexuals or face natural disasters.
4. Blamed the death of a popular Israeli leader on trying to split apart God's land.
5. Called for the assassination of a political leader in a foriegn country.
6. Insisted working on the Sabbath is an offense punishable by death.
7. Supported the massacre of every living thing in a city so the city could be taken over by God's chosen people.
8. Thought God told him to sacrifice his son, almost did, but then rejoiced when God took the whole thing back. (Gordon Robertson later went on to fill in for his father as host the 700 Club!)
9. Offered his virginal daughters up to be gang raped by a bunch of crazed homosexuals to protect the anuses of some visiting angels.
10. Blamed the fiery destruction of an entire city on the city's refusal to turn away from homosexual behavior.

Wait, isn't that last one an old Bible story? Aren't numbers 5-10 actually stories straight from the Old Testament?

Why, yes. Yes, they are. In fact, all ten of those (I think you have to agree) despicable statements and attitudes could come straight from the Old Testament. The writers of the Old Testament (at least some of them) and (several versions of) the God depicted in the Old Testament would totally agree with everything on that list.

So here's my real point: I've seen and heard a lot of Christians denouncing Pat Robertson as a sad old man who believes in a vengeful, spiteful, jealous, and unjust God, implying that their God is none of these things. But, unless these folks denounce (most of the depictions of) the Old Testament God, how can they possibly say their God is any better?

Many Christians will denounce this Old Testament God and, maybe not in so many words, claim these essentially are just stories and didn't really happen. Fine. Good. Many of the stories in the Old Testament are quite valuable, and I'll refrain from asking about the value of some of the other, more hateful, violent, and perverted stories (like the one where a drunk old man's horny daughters seduce him) here. (See what I did there?)

Other Christians will claim the Old Testament is an accurate portrayal of God, but that Jesus ushered in a "new covenant" that allows God to treat us more decently (you know, without so much, bloodshed, rape, and hatred of women). I find this completely unsatisfying. I find very little difference between a God who was once vengeful and violent but reformed and a God who is unrepentantly vengeful and violent. This isn't some teenager who accidentally killed a store clerk and found religion in the big house here. This is God. He's supposed to be perfect from the start, right? Right?

















I guess you could also say that we just don't understand the God of the Old Testament, which is undeniably true, but maybe we just don't understand Pat Robertson either. Maybe there's some mysterious truth behind his statements that make them OK. Maybe they make some cosmic sense. Or maybe they're just batshit crazy.

There are lots of Christians denouncing what Pat Robertson has said. Tons. All of them probably. But many of the most prominent ones would absolutely defend the truth found behind some of the similar acts found in the Old Testament.

Franklin Graham, very conservative son of the very conservative Billy Graham, for example, says he doesn't agree with Robertson, and he's admirably trying to help the people of Haiti, but would he feel the same about the people of Sodom and Gomorrah? Or Jericho? Was it right for God to destroy almost everybody in the whole world in one flood? I can't imagine Graham saying God made mistakes here or that these things didn't happen.

Pastor Robert Jeffress of the Fist Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas presents a typically puzzling view in the clip above: "It is absolute arrogance to try to interpret any of God's actions as a judgment against this person or that person. We can only go as far as the Bible goes, and the Bible is clear. God says, 'I am the God who creates calamity and causes well-being.'"

Sounds good, right? Wrong. Let's forget, for a moment, the fact that Jeffress is presumably referring to the earthquake as "God's actions," and take up this notion that we can only go as far as the Bible goes. If we can only go as far as the Bible goes, then we can, in fact, try to interpret God's actions as judgment against people. The Old Testament does it all the time. It's true that the Bible warns us against interpreting God's attitude, but it's contradicting itself when it does this (as you might expect a text written by hundreds of people over thousands of years to do).

But let's go back to that notion that God caused the earthquake. Jeffress doesn't just imply that God caused the earthquake (he only insists that we can't interpret his violently shaking the earth in a location uniquely unprepared for it as a sign of his anger), he straight up says that God is responsible! His God "creates calamity and causes well-being." How is this comforting? And how is it any better than what Robertson said? The notion that God is responsible for the deaths of all these people is disturbing. I don't care if he did it because he's angry or if he did it so Christians can show how "good" they are (as I've heard some suggest, perhaps without thinking). I don't care if this was one big unfortunate case of God not being able to control his farts or something. I don't think I'm being presumptuous when I say that God should be able to control his bodily functions. I don't care why God caused this calamity; if God's responsible, then God, the God of the universe, the one and only supreme being, is at very least responsible for manslaughter. It doesn't make it better to know that he didn't mean it or that he wasn't angry. It's a pretty shitty notion all around.

So you know what? Stop already. All of you. Pat Robertson, stop saying stupid crazy old man shit, and Christians, if you can't grow the balls to call your Old Testament God a fantasy, don't criticize someone who uses that same God...that God you believe in...to interpret the events around him. Just don't say anything. You don't have to. Help if you can. Stop trying to explain things you can't. I don't even need to hear you say you can't explain it. So stop.

Thanks in advance. Read the rest of this article.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stop Already: Avatar Makes Stupid People Suicidal

According to an article on CNN.com this week, James Cameron's Avatar is creating feelings of longing and depression in one particular cross-section of its audience: morons.

Yes, the profoundly moronic are leaving movie theaters in a big old funk. The reason? Life on Earth is shit compared to life on Pandora, the fictional planet inhabited by the Na'vi, a race of 10-foot tall humanoids with special ponytails. On Pandora you can ride a flying dragon, talk to a tree, and make sweet love to your giant, blue girlfriend just by plugging your ponytail into it or her. Not only that, but Pandora is a glowing, colorful world full of wondrous plant life, floating mountains, and amazing treetop villages. Earth, on the other hand, is covered with Super Wal-marts, McDonalds restaurants, and is teeming with stupid, stupid assholes, the kinds of assholes who contemplate suicide because they can't take a rocket ship to Pandora and run around the forest with the Na'vi. It's true. Just listen to this pathetic piece of crap's sad tale of woe:

"Ever since I went to see 'Avatar' I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na'vi made me want to be one of them. I can't stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it," [a douche named] Mike posted. "I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in 'Avatar.' "

Whoa, Mike! Hold on there, buddy. You want to experience Pandora and not have to blow your brains out? Here's what we'll do. I'll cover the walls of my basement with black light posters depicting, I don't know, giant mushrooms and marijuana leaves and Grateful Dead bears or whatever, replace all of my overhead bulbs with black light bulbs, turn on the Avatar soundtrack, and lock you downstairs for a couple of hours. Hell, for a small fee, I'll strip down to a loincloth, paint myself blue, and let you fondle my ponytail. Sound better than asphyxiating yourself in a Kia? Idiot.

I saw Avatar and, sure, Pandora looks like a pretty neat place. But it's a bit garish, don't you think? I mean, once the sun--or whatever they've got--sets, everything gets all glowy and strange. Plus, those weird shiny panther-things run around trying to eat you. It's a little much.

Not every Avatar super-fan is a bi-polar lunatic however. Take Ivar Hill for instance:

"When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed ... gray. It was like my whole life, everything I've done and worked for, lost its meaning," Hill wrote on the forum. "It just seems so ... meaningless. I still don't really see any reason to keep ... doing things at all. I live in a dying world."

Oops. My bad. This dimwit is just as bad as the last nimrod. I'm sorry, but these sound like the words of someone who is building up an arsenal of weapons in his bedroom and making plans to shoot up a daycare center real soon. Get this guy in custody or at least provide him with the tools he'll need to his stupid life before he can hurt any of the normals.

Listen, Avatards, I get it. I saw Jurassic Park and desperately wanted my own velociraptor. I was gonna call it Charles and sick it on that jerk who made fun of my Jurassic Park t-shirt in the cafeteria that one time. And who among us didn't immediately develop a full blown heroin addiction after seeing Trainspotting for the first time? Movies can affect us in ways we'd never expect, but c'mon! You really think you're gonna kill yourself and be "rebirthed" in a Pandora-like world of flying dragons and half-dressed blue bitches?

STOP ALREADY!

(And, yes, I do have that same Avenue Q t-shirt that the particularly dorky idiot in the front row of in the above picture is wearing. I may have to eliminate it from my wardrobe.)

(And is that fat idiot moron eating a pizza? What a fat dummy!)


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Monday, January 11, 2010

100 Songs I Love: 3-5

3. "Motorway to Roswell" (Pixies)

June 12, 2005 was a weird day. It was a Sunday if memory serves me correctly and I had just returned from a relaxing weekend in Charlotte with my closest friends. Though my time in the Queen City--for that is what "they" call Charlotte on account of all the drag performers--was a cavalcade of fun, I had a Pixies concert to attend. That's right, the Pixies were in town to rock Raleigh's balls off and I had two tickets: one for me and one for my girlfriend of the past six years or so who had recently suggested we take a break. I was fine with that--the break--and I had just a week earlier moved into a new apartment with friend/partner in bloggery, Jonathan. But we had two tickets, the soon-to-be-ex and I, and I was damned if we weren't gonna go and have a forced good time. So I pull up to the old house, blast the horn, and a sullen--we'll call her "The Dark One" to avoid any legal issues, plus that is how she is known in our household--shuffles out to the car and lays some heavy shit on your boy. "This isn't actually a break, but a break-up. There's someone else. I brought him his favorite coffee once while he was at work and I'm telling you this right now for some reason. Blah-Blah-Blah."

I stood there--I'd gotten out of the car at this point...I apologize for any confusion--looked at her and said, "OK. We got a Pixies show to get to, so, um, get in the car."

I ended up going with my friend Sara and we had a pretty kick-ass time. I smoked more cigarettes that night than I ever thought humanly possible, but it was good. There is nothing better catharsis-wise than a pack of Camels and the insane yelp of Mr. Frank Black.

Choosing a favorite Pixies song is like picking a favorite child: fairly easy, but you prentend that it's impossible so your kids don't develop some kind of complex later in life. Actually, that isn't what it's like at all, because choosing a favorite Pixies song is so hard that I suffered many sleepless nights and countless headaches putting this list together. In the end, I went with a recent discovery--for me anyway--the second-to-last song on the last official Pixies release, Trompe le Monde, "Motorway to Roswell." Not only is it a great effing rock song, but it was a stunning preview of what we could expect from Black's illustrious solo career.


Other Pixies songs I love: "Broken Face"; "Something Against You"; "Debaser"; "Nimrod's Son"; the one-two punch that is "Mr. Grieves" and "Crackity Jones"; "Oh My Golly"; "Where is My Mind?"; "Havalina" (They Might be Giants do a pretty great cover of this one); "Break My Body"; "Velouria"; "Gigantic"

Fun Fact #1: "Where is My Mind?" was a staple of the Moe Needs Glasses live show, meaning it was performed a total of three times.

Fun Fact #2: "Popular" underground alt rock pioneers, The Not Happys, planned to perform "Motorway to Roswell" at their first--and only--show to date, but never thought it "came together well enough" in practice and dropped it from the four song set.

4. "Melanie" ("Weird Al" Yankovic)

Before the three-prong attack on my musical sensibilties led by the unlikely alliance of REM, Nirvana, and TMBG, I listened to three things and three things only: classical music, Michael W. Smith, and "Weird Al" Yankovic. I supplemented this with heavy doses of Top 40 radio, which at the time was full of what I've always referred to as "party rap." What more could a young boy growing up in suburban Michigan need?

When I was a shy elementary schooler and an even shy-er middle schooler, there was nothing funnier to me than Weird's parody songs--I was also a big fan of the Monty Python Sings! album as well. "Eat It instead of Beat It?" I'd probably say to myself while listening to "Weird Al" tapes after school in my bedroom. "What's funnier than that? Seriously. What could possibly be funnier than Eat It? Or Fat? Or This Song is Just Six Words Long?" OK, there were probably plenty of things funnier than that last one, but you get the point.

As I got older, I started to appreciate Al's original compositions. They were funnier, darker. "Melanie," by far one of the darkest songs in the "Weird Al" ouevre, is a masterpiece of ickiness. It tells the story of a lonely creep who falls in crazy love with a neighbor named Melanie ("and to think I probably never would have found her if I hadn't bought that telescope"), tries in vain to get her attention ("are you still mad I gave a mohawk to your cat?"), and failing repeatedly, commits suicide by jumping from the 16th floor of her building ("now I may be dead but I still love you"). That's some dark shit for a album of parody songs and goofy polkas.


Favorite lyrics: "If you just say the words, I'm certain that our love would last forever and ever or are you too dumb to realize that?"

Even Darker on Even Worse: "Good Old Days," a James Taylor-esque song about a psychopath thinking back to his formative years:

"Do you remember sweet Michelle
She was my high school romance
She was fun to talk to and nice to smell
So I took her to the homecoming dance

Then I tied her to a chair and I shaved off all her hair
And I left her in the desert all alone
Well sometimes in my dreams
I can still hear the screams
Oh I wonder if she ever made it home"


My parents used to let me listen to this in the car! WTF?!

Another "Weird Al" original that could've made this list but doesn't have the "darkness" factor: "Frank's 2,000 Inch TV" ("now I can watch The Simpsons from 30 blocks away")

5. "More Than Words" (Extreme)

I hate the phrase "guilty pleasure." I don't derive any guilt from the things that give me pleasure. If I like something, I like it, and I always like it unironically. Hence, my lack of embarrassment when discussing my admiration for Miley Cyrus.

(A quick note on Miley: That admiration I discussed in the above paragraph has been waning since seeing that "I-don't-listen-to-pop-music-so-I-don't-know-the-name-of-even-one-Jay-Z-song-and-thanks-for-not-asking-why-I'm-dressed-like-a-Native-American" video I posted on this very blog last year. Miley is slowly approaching a level of insufferability that I'm finding harder and harder to ignore successfully. Anyway...)

"More Than Words" was a radio staple in early-90's and, as I mentioned before, I was a disciple of the FM radio in those days. I was the kid who listened intently to whatever Top 40 station was popular in Detroit at the time with a cassette tape at the ready to record his favorite songs. I was a huge fan of MARRS' "Pump Up the Volume" and was convinced that it was being broadcast from a secret location only for me.

I was also a legitimate fan of #5 on my list--obvs, I mean, it's on the list--"More Than Words." Extreme's pussy-rock classic was played every hour on the hour in 1990. I think it may have been a law. I'd never heard of Extreme before "More Than Words," in fact, I've still never heard of them to this day. According to Wikipedia, they played something called "funk metal" which sounds horrible. "More Than Words" is pretty far from "funk" or "metal" or "not gay," and I loved it--and love it--nonetheless.

I remember what killed "More Than Words" for me however. One Sunday on the way to church, the song came on to the delight of me and my sister. "Turn it up, Dad," we begged like a couple of addicts hungry for our power ballad fix. My father complied, listened thoughtfully, and at the song's conclusion announced, "What a great song. I really like that." Instantly uncool.

"More Than Words" reaches the very heights of ridiculousness when experienced in video form. Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt strum and sing while the drummer and bass player take a break. At one point I think they are shown reading magazines.


So, what's the song about?: Blowjobs. Or handjobs. Maybe.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

What the WTF?: No, Seriously, WHAT THE WTF???

Funny story: last night while watching the following video for the first time, I felt the ground tremble beneath my feet and heard a terrible rending sound in my backyard. Leaving the computer, I peered cautiously out of my window and found that a massive fissure had formed in my backyard from which an eerie orange light had begun to pour. I watched in horrified awe as what can only be describe as an army of vile demons from the very depths of Hell pulled themselves from the stygian pit to survey the supple surface world which unknowingly awaited their unholy judgement. They were hideous creatures with razor-sharped fangs dripping with acid and twisted bodies covered in gelatinous boils and poison-tipped spines. I gaped unbelievably at the battalion of the damned that stood poised and ready to destroy every facet of humankind in my backyard.

I became suddenly aware that the room had grown deathly silent and looking back at my computer found that the video was over. Returning my attention to the demonic horde, I witnessed a confusing sight. Every demon now displayed a perplexed look on its ugly, zit-coated face. They looked at each other shrugging, the look of conviction they had once shared now a frown of confusion. Slowly, and in an orderly fashion, the demon army crept back into the depths of the Earth, the last one courteously sealing the fissure, hopefully forever.

What had I just witnessed? Seemingly the beginning of Armageddon, but then, in an instant, retreat. What had spurned forward this ultimately aborted attempt at bringing Hell to Earth?

Then it dawned on me: the song. It had to be the song. I say all that to say this: watch at your own risk.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

100 Songs I Love: 1-2

I've been wanting to arbitrarily list my favorite songs, complete with snippets of insight as to why they are so important to me, on this blog for awhile now. I wanted to limit myself and thought 100 might be a good number to shoot for. Than I started compiling. It dawned on me a couple of minutes in that keeping my list of favorite songs to a tight 100 was going to be an impossibility. "What to do?" I thought, pausing for a fine cigar and snifter of brandy, something I do regularly when I'm brainstorming new ideas, hatching sinister schemes, or compiling silly lists.

The answer came to me in a flash--or maybe that was the angel dust I had injected into my scrotum finally kicking in--and it was nothing short of a revelation: since cutting my list to 100 songs has proven to painful, I will simply list every single song I consider one of my favorites and only stop after I've either alienated every one of my readers or died, whichever comes first. Happy with this decision, I celebrated by locking the basement door, taking off of my clothes, and dancing to Lady Gaga's The Fame on repeat until dawn. Needless to say, neither my wife nor my immediate neighbors were happy with me the next morning. Luckily I was in a drug-induced Gaga Coma so I didn't really have to deal with their square bullshit. Dig?

Upon sobering up, I decided my second idea was even dumber than my first. So, welcome to the third, and I think best, choice: 100 Songs I Love. Do I love more than 100 songs? Probably, but the 100 songs that I'll be presenting in the coming weeks are especially special to me in ways I hope my explanatory snippets will illuminate. I did give myself a couple of rules or, rather, one. I tried very hard to only pick one song each from my favoritest artists. I mostly stuck to that rule, though in some situations it was simply impossible.

Anyway, here are the first two songs on a list I hope you sort of enjoy.*

1. "Space Oddity" (David Bowie)

Every year or so I make an official announcement to friends and family that I'm going to "get into" an artist I feel I've unfairly neglected. "I'm getting into Elton John this year, guys," I'll exclaim, for example, and my friends will suggest a good entry point or nod and return to the conversation I've just interrupted with my ridiculous nonsense. Usually, this decision is forgotten or discarded purposefully. I'll give you two examples.

Example #1: A couple of years ago I decided to get into the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Why? Well, I remembered liking most of their radio hits over the years and I really liked the song "Suck My Kiss" which I had randomly recorded off my cousin's copy of Blood Sugar Sex Magik one summer, probably because I thought it would be dirty. So, I made the announcement and then, failing to make a plan, I just forgot about it. It didn't help that shortly after my Red Hot Chili Peppers announcement, I discovered The Decemberists, which I think we can all agree is a much better band.

Example #2: Everyone likes U2, right? I'm told they are the best rock-n-roll band in the whole world. I mean, what reason does Bono have to lie to me? Anyway, like the Chili Peppers, I was a fan of most of U2's radio output (though I hate that "Vertigo" bullshit). So, I made the announcement, failed to make a plan, and, I don't know, ate a sandwich or something. Let's just say I decide to saunter down a different musical path.

One artist I announced an interest in and then (sort of) made strides to get into (i.e. I bought a "best of" album at a used CD store) is David Bowie. I've always been interested in checking Bowie out, but, I don't know, I guess I got an impression somehow that I was going to be sorely disappointed. But I saw this "best of" compilation at CD Alley and I thought, "No time like the present (because my inner monologue is almost exclusively cliches)," and I bought it. It took one song to make me a Bowie fan for life. I don't care if every other song he ever recorded sounded like Yoko Ono being liquified in a human-sized blender while recordings of car crashes and cows mooing played in the background (FYI: They do not), 1969's "Space Oddity" is musical genius. Not only did the song further spark my interest in Bowie, but I finally understood this scene in the terrible Adam Sandler movie Mr. Deeds:

(You can check out Bowie singing the song
here. I think you'll agree that it is much more enjoyable when performed in this manner)

My favorite lyrics:
Major Tom: "Tell my wife I love her very much."
Ground Control: "SHE KNO-O-O-OWS!"

Other Bowie songs I love: Changes; John, I'm Only Dancing; Rebel Rebel; Young Americans; Golden Years; The Man Who Sold the World

2. "In Heaven" (from Eraserhead)

David Lynch is high on my list of the greatest American film directors of all time (look for that official list to make an appearance some time around the middle of '10...or not). Like most people my age, Twin Peaks was my first exposure to the master and my first listen to the trippy, hypnotic, weird-ass music that accompanies most of his work.

There is no better musical moment in any of Lynch's films then the diminutive, testicle-cheeked Lady in the Radiator's rendition of Peter Ivers "In Heaven" in Lynch's first feature, Eraserhead. Haunting and strange, "In Heaven" is a beautiful song that lodges itself in your brain like a nightmare and doesn't let go. I love it.

Other memorable musical moments in the work of David Lynch: Nicholas Cage serenades Laura Dern with "
Love Me Tender" on the hood of her car as the credits roll (Wild At Heart); prostitutes dance to "Sinnerman" as the credits roll (there's also a monkey and someone sawing wood) (Inland Empire); James, Donna, and Maddy record "Just You and I" in the Hayward's living room (Twin Peaks)

*More songs next time--my intro went a little long. Sorry
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