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Saturday, February 27, 2010

GEP Investigates...Bieber Quizzes: Part 1

I gather all of the latest on what's hip and cool in American popular culture solely through the Trending Topics list on my Twitter page. It is my feeling that Twitterers are the only members of our society that truly have their fingers on the pulse of what really matters. I mean, that's why I joined the Twitter-verse, man. I don't want to get left in the dust, scoffed at for being an old man, and dragged deep into the snowy wilderness and left alone with nothing but a pack of matches and bundle of dry sticks on my 32nd birthday. I want to know what's hot, what's happening, and what's happening now!

Over the past month, I've seen only one entity hold steady in the ever shifting Trending Topics landscape. That entity is Mr. Justin Bieber. If you don't know who Bieber is, first, I'd say, get a clue, Oldie McOatmealfart! Where have you been the last six months? Probably marinating in your own filth, playing BINGO with your saggy-titted friends and whining about your bedsores to anyone in a nurses uniform. Then, I'd explain that Justin Bieber is a 15-year-old pop star from Canada who has been known to inadvertently cause shopping mall riots.

He has also, possibly inadvertently, amassed a zombie-like army of frothing-at-the-mouth teenage girls willing to perform any act, no matter how degrading, to further his cause, which, if I've done my research correctly, is to make sure that there is one less lonely girl in the world at any particular time. These Bieberites, as I call them, have conquered Twitter and plastered it with their psychotic, rambling messages of unquestioning adoration, demanding that like-minded disciples of The Bieber "re-tweet" their disturbing missives in able to recruit even more followers.

Plus, they love to take online Justin Bieber quizzes!

I decided to descend into this sick, sad world of Bieber worship, in an attempt to understand the tweenage minds that have embraced this floppy-haired moppet as the second coming of Christ, you know, if Christ had been a Canadian pop singer. Today, I will take you through two of the six online Justin Bieber quizzes I completed. I warn you, this is not a post for the weak of stomach. I assure you that all of the following is 100% true, and not in the sense that My Life as Liz is true, by which I mean, completely false.
Quiz #1

LilMissyAlri2k9 I just took "IF U AND justin bieber were boyfriend & girlfriend what NICKNAME WOULD HE GIVE U?" and got: Rose! Try it:

Question 1: do u like candy?
My choices: yeah...; OH YEAH!!!!!!!; taste ok...; YEAH...BUT IM A PICKY EATER; SORTA...; LOVE IT 4EVER
My process: Right off the bat I was thrown. How would my feelings on candy factor into Justin's nickname selection? And what about people who don't enjoy a nice piece of candy? Don't they get a choice? Apparently not. If you don't like candy in some capacity, Justin Bieber doesn't have time for you.
My choice: LOVE IT 4EVER

Question 2: I was given a list of emoticons to choose from, but given no further instructions.
My choice: =-)

Question 3: Do you love Justin?
My process: Unlike the candy question, those quiz-takers who could not in good conscience proclaim undying love for Justin Bieber were given a choice, although one that, I feel, because of the inclusion of an explanation point, was needlessly cruel. I was forced to choose this answer though, but I did so not out of spite but because me and Mr. Bieber have never met nor have I listened to even one of his songs to completion.
My choice: NO!

Question 4: Do u have Justin Bieber posters?
My process: Again, like the inquiry into one's level of candy enjoyment, the answer choices provided were insufficient for casual Bieber fans or those who seriously couldn't give less of a shit and are taking this ridiculous quiz to use as fodder for their blog. One of the choices was literally "over a MILLION BILLION!!!!!" My final answer was only half accurate, but I did the best I could do.
My answer: Not even 1! Parents don't allow.

My process: Ah, the first question of the feature that borders on the psychotic. I don't know which is worse: any of the answers that are basically "yes, of course I would give up a relationship with a friend to be with Justin Bieber, a 15-year-old young man who I will in reality never meet or lose interest in when the next pop douche rolls off the pop douche assembly line" OR the "I'm not going to give up my best friend, but I do want you to know that Justin Bieber is my absolute everything, ok?"
My choice: RU KIDDING? NO!

Results: he loves ur name just the way it is!

Wait, WHAT?! I answer all of your questions openly and honestly and Justin doesn't even give me a nickname? BULLSHIT! I've got a nickname for you, Justin Bieber! Little Mister Time Waster! How do you like that?
Quiz #2

VivianandGary I just took "ok u just broke up with JUSTIN BIEBER and u leave..." and got: wow u really care and love for him! Try it:

Quiz's Full, I'm-Totally-Not-Making-This-Up Name: ok u just broke up with JUSTIN BIEBER and u leave him in the middle of the road and a HUGE TRUCK HITS HIM! WHAT DO U DO?

Question 1: u saw what was seen what do u do
My choices: leave him there; run up to him and scream "OMG JUSTIN!"; IDK; IDK
My process: I understand that watching someone be flattened by a truck while you look on may shock you into a catatonic state in which you honestly do not know what to do, but really, random quiz-creating middle school girl with braces, two IDKs? Also, "leave him there" is much too cruel of an option. Sure, we just broke up, but that doesn't mean I want the young man to be run over by a truck.
My choice: run up to him and scream "OMG JUSTIN!"

Question 2: when u try to help him up (cuz the truck hurt his leg really bad) u start fallin what goes on
My choices: shove him off ewwwwwww; IDK; well im on top of him.....MAKE OUT FEST; IDK
My process: OK. I don't know where to start with this one. First of all, you are helping him up, right, because his leg was badly injured? You've got to be happy that he's only suffered a leg injury. The boy was hit by a damn truck, for Pete's sake! This is nothing short of a miracle. That being said, should you really move him? Maybe he has suffered some internal injuries of which you are not aware. Secondly, if you are helping him up, how is he simultaneously falling on you while you're falling on him? That's a poorly thought out question, sister. Thirdly, why, after you've just broken up with Justin Bieber and then witnessed him being hit by a truck, would you suddenly feel it appropriate to start making out with him? Also, what if for the previous question you'd taken the heartless route of leaving Justin to suffer and die, alone, in the middle of a busy highway? Would you make out with him then? If so, how? You can't leave someone and dry hump them at the same time. Perhaps I'm giving this too much thought.
My answer: IDK

Question 3: the doctor says that they need to take JUSTINS leg off what do u do
My choices: scream ISNT THERE ANYTHING BETTER! then run and go hug justin; go YES!; IDK; IDK
My process: Attention: If your daughter created this quiz and posted it to the internets, please get her professional help as soon as possible. She is spending way too much time alone inventing Justin Bieber death fantasies.
My choice: go YES! (I mean, c'mon, it's probably for the best. That being said, wouldn't Justin's family or Justin himself be more likely to make the final call on this one? Why would a doctor listen to the opinions of some strange 31-year-old man hovering over a 15-year-old boy whose leg just got shattered in a hit-and-run accident? Like I know anything.)

Question #4: YAY JUSTIN IS BETTER! what goes on (and he keeps his leg)
My choices: IDK; go DAMN!; be so happy for him; IDK
My process: Ridiculous.
My choice: be so happy for him

Question 5: u 2 make out and ur mom and his mom walk in on it what do u do
My choices: keep frenchin him; IDK; kissing we werent kissing; slap him
My process: There's really only one answer I can choose here and it's "IDK." I mean, I really don't know what I would do if my mother and Mrs. Bieber walked in on me and Justin Bieber locked in a loving embrace. What could I do? It'd be a really weird situation, I think. I don't know. I don't want to talk about this question anymore. I feel icky.
My choice: IDK

Results: wow u really care and love for him (damn what next u get pregnant with his kid or what?)

What the hell? How do my answers in any way reflect a desire to carry Justin Bieber's love child? I merely acted how any concerned citizen who has just witnessed a horrible pop star accident would act. Let's forget the fact that this unfortunate chain of events started with Justin and I breaking up and look at this sensibly: Bieber was hit by a car, I showed some damned concern, and he healed up nice. Let's not take things to an unseemly place, all right.

NEXT TIME: Something about Justin Bieber and I on roller-skates AND I nurse Justin back to health...AGAIN!

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Things I've Learned From the Internet


Justin Bieber is a permanent fixture on Twitter's Trending Topics list and I had to find out why. Here are just a few of my favorite Bieber-tweets. Enjoy.

-taytayxo107 I just took "justin bieber stares into ur eyes ....what do..." and got: he loves u!....he thinks ur soo pretty!

-Cassidy23991 I just took "Justin Bieber is day dreaming in class and he sits behind u..." and got: He is day breaming of u!!

-@bieberjackson15: RT if before you sleep you kissed Justin Bieber poster

-ffonna Justin Bieber Justin Biber Justin Bieber Justin Bieber

-@JBFeverPandemic: "Give Up Justin Bieber For Lent" *Oh, Did you want me to commit suicide first?*

-@BiebsBestChicks: Justin Bieber makes anything look HOT...hotter than the sun

-_kaitlynnx I didn't get to give Allison her pep talk before she meets Justin Bieber. Damnit. If you're reading this by some slim chance illlyy kiddo.

-@JBSupporterss: RT if Justin Bieber is Happy Then U are Happy To :)

-@BieberDweebs: Dear Justin Bieber why do you have to be so damn sexy?? Hahahhaha

-@bieberiloveyou: I was talking to my Aunt on the phone earlier. Aunt: What do you want me to send you, you want Justin Bieber? Me: YES, PLEASE!!!!!

-krishiiee016 Dear Justin Bieber , when will you get online?? i miss you.. haha! i know, everyone does.. =)

-@justinbieber i just watched the new justin bieber music video for baby about 30 times. brb, im gonna go watch it another 100 times (:

-lovinladygaga I just took "Justin Bieber is day dreaming in class and he sits be..." and got: He isn't day dreaming about u?!

-TeamJBandJV Can't wait till my I heart Justin Bieber jumper comes :D

-shellym1202 Justin Bieber = Cooler than ice. Hotter than the sun. End of story

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

5 Film Adaptations of Classic Video Games That I Want to See Now

I think we can all agree that Uwe Boll has made a mockery of the delicate art of video-game-to-film adaptation. But is it really Mr. Boll's fault or is it Hollywood's? Simply put, it's both.

Why can't a film based on a video game be good? Many games present just as rich and complete a world as the young adult novels and British mini-series that serve as the inspiration for the bulk of movies choking our nation's multiplexes at any given time. I mean, hell, Avatar is the most successful movie of all time, and it started out as a video game, at least, I assume it did.

I think the problem is twofold. First, Hollywood is choosing the wrong games to turn into movies. Doom? Really, H-wood? I play Doom when I'm bored or pissed off after a particularly grueling day at the office. I don't want to watch someone else run around hellish labyrinths blasting demons into piles of digitized gore or chainsawing monsters into two neat halves--I want to do it myself. Excuse me if watching Wrestling's The Rock act out my darkest Doom fantasies isn't my idea of a "fun night out."

Second, the studios making these awful films are changing what made the games so awesome in the first place. For example, Super Mario Brothers: The Movie. Have you seen this thing? Where's the whimsy? The bright colors? The toe-tapping music? SMB:The Movie is a boring slog through a dark, dirty underground world ruled by Dennis Hopper--who plays Bowser as a growly lizard man with blond cornrows and not a spiky-shelled snapping turtle with a fire-red pompadour and a fondness for airships--and his De-Evolution Ray. WHAT??? This isn't the Super Mario Brothers I played obsessively after school. Where are the castles? Where's Toad? You gave us Yoshi, but look at him! He looks horrible! How the hell is that supposed to cart around Mario's fat ass?

Hollywood, I'm here to help. I'm not a gamer, per se, but I do have a passion for old school titles, and this morning I have for you 5 video games I think deserve serious consideration for movie adaptation. If you like what you see, contact me at my e-mail address ( and we'll talk finder's fees. Enjoy.
1. Kid Icarus: Angels are the new sparkly Mormon vampires! You think girls went nuts for Edward Cullen? Wait until they get a load of Pit. Black clothing, dour expressions, and body glitter will be a thing of the past. It'll be togas and Jesus-sandals once Pit makes his triumphant--and, frankly, long overdue--appearance on the big screen. And guess what, Hollywood, I've made it easy for you to get this project green lit and under way. A fews year back, when I was both underemployed and without a female companion, I wrote a seven page treatment of my vision for Kid Icarus feature film. I think it's pretty great. I'd be willing to meet with you and go over specifics, but I'm gonna need you to fly me out to LA on a private jet. It's not that I think I'm better than your average air-commuter, it's just been on my bucket list for a while now.

Why Kid Icarus needs to be a movie NOW: Two words: Eggplant Wizard.
2. Blaster Master: We haven't had a really good "boy drives a futuristic tank through a creepy underground world on a mission to save his runaway mutant pet frog" in so long it makes me physically sick. This was a standard issue storyline in the Golden Age of Hollywood, practically its own genre (Wikipedia it!). Blaster Master has everything that makes movies great: tank-driving children, underground peril, and enough killer mutant animals to choke a goat. Hell, a whole herd of goats!

Why Blaster Master needs to be a movie NOW: This kid drives a tank. AN EFFING TANK! Also, the antagonist of the story is named Plutonium Boss. How messed up is that?! Wow!
3. Dig Dug: Wouldn't it neat if someone could take the most rudimentary of classic video game concepts (dig tunnels; pump baddies full of air until they literally burst) and turn it into a real thought-provoking piece of cinema art? I doubt one could do much with, say, Pac-Man, but I have no doubt that someone out there (Takashi Miike, maybe, or that guy who made The Host) could do something both challenging and grotesque with this source material. Maybe Taizo Hori, the little dude doing the pumping in Dig Dug, is hired to dispose of some creepy crawlies who are freed after a drilling company upsets their ecosystem and the movie is about how he kills some of them, but than discovers they're not so bad or maybe the drilling company is all corrupt or something. I don't know.

Why Dig Dug needs to be a movie NOW: Because even if it sucks, wouldn't it be hilarious if there was a Dig Dug movie? I think so.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Legend of Zelda was probably the one game I played just as much as Super Mario Brothers growing up (that is, until SMB 3 debuted, than I was all about some Raccoon Mario). It is criminal--CRIMINAL, I say--that Zelda has not yet been turned into a feature film franchise. All the elements are there for an epic, Lord of the Rings-style success. I mean, c'mon, it's been a horrible cartoon ("Well, excuuuuuuuuu-se me, Princess!") and a sugary breakfast cereal, but it can't get the Peter Jackson treatment? For shame!

Why The Legend of Zelda needs to be a movie NOW: I want to see the Weta Workshop's take on an Octorock. Can you imagine? I think it would give me a nerd boner. For real.
5. BurgerTime: I want a There Will Be Blood-style adaptation of BurgerTime directed by PT Anderson and starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Peter Pepper. The only scenes resembling actual BurgerTime gameplay will occur during a PCP-fueled hallucination.

Why BurgerTime needs to be a movie NOW: The world needs a gritty, behind-the-scenes look at one man's meteoric rise, and subsequent tragic fall, set in the fast food industry.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

100 Songs I Love: 21-24

21. "That's Entertainment" (The Jam)

Without Vh1 Classics I may have never discovered what has quickly become one of my all time favorite songs. I couldn't name another The Jam song if I was being held at gunpoint, but if this song is a clear indication of what they're about, I'm all in. I dare you not to instantly fall in love with this song. I double dare you!

Favorite Lyrics: a smash of glass and the rumble of boots/ an electric train and a ripped up phone booth/paint splattered walls and the cry of a tom cat/lights going out and a kick in the balls...that's entertainment...

But also: waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes/cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume/a hot summers day and sticky black tarmac/feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were far away...that's entertainment...

22. "She Wolf" (Shakira)

"She Wolf" has everything I love about Shakira songs: heavy breathing, ridiculous lyrics ("I'm starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office"), and sex noises. When "She Wolf" shows up in my iPod rotation, look out everyone, because I'm popping a boner. I can't help it. Shakira's voice is laced with Viagra. Her music is saturated with Colombian pheromones that possess the ability to infect the brain through the aural cavities and render one hopelessly enamored within milliseconds.

And have you seen her ass? My God, it's one of the most beautiful things in the whole of Creation. Her ass should be declared a national landmark. Tourists from all over the world could visit the ass, snap pictures with the ass, dine in a fancy restaurant overlooking the ass.

A lot of people falsely claim that they would drink the bath water of a particularly appealing young lady, but in Shakira's case, I would actually fucking do it!

"She Wolf" also has the distinction of being a music video I would totally have sex with. Seriously. No matter your sexual proclivity, watch this video. NOW.

Other MVILF*: "
Dirrty" (Christina Aguilera); "Criminal" (Fiona Apple) "I'm A Slave 4 U" (Britney Spears); "When I Hated Him (Don't Tell Me)" (Bijou Phillips)

23. "Satan Gave Me A Taco" (Beck)

An adorable animated interpretation can be viewed right

24. "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" (The Smiths)

Being that it is the day after Valentine's Day, I thought I'd make mention of one of my favorite love songs at this point. Yes, you read that correctly: "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" is one of my favorite love songs of all time. Why? Because I can think of nothing more beautiful than informing that special someone in your life that it would be both a pleasure and privilege do die alongside of them in a horrendous automobile accident. Isn't that what we're all ultimately looking for? Someone to suffer and die painfully with us in the twisted, burning hunk of metal that used to be our car? It's beautiful in a way that only The Smiths can be beautiful. C'mon! Nobody wants to die alone, right?

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Special Valentine's Special: Ask the Love Gerontologist

This Valentine's Day we asked love expert Dr. Graham Poco to answer your questions about love. He did, and we're contractually obligated to publish his answers here.

Dear Love Gerontologist,

I know you probably get this question a lot: my girlfriend and I have been together a long time, and I'm starting to get hints that she wants to take the next step and get married. Now, I have nothing against marriage, but I like things the way they are. I see no reason to change anything. Should I pop the question? Should I wait for her to bring it up? Am I being a jerk by even asking this?

-Just Asking in Kalamazoo

You're right, JAK. I get this a lot. I find that a lot of female senior citizens are more reluctant to dispense with traditional values than men are, so she may very well be in the “marrying mood,” as I've labeled this curious disorder in my most recent paper, “Lovemaking Mores in Female Humans Aged 70-90 in Austin, Texas.” What should you do? Find a physician who specializes in this disorder right away. There's medication available that helps control the symptoms, but only if you catch the disorder in the beginning stages. Best of luck to you.

Dear Love Gerontologist,

My partner and I consider ourselves to be very conscientious individuals. We try to do little things to save the planet from trash, greed, corruption, and bad taste. The problem is, I've only been in this relationship for about 3 months, and we've never once talked about our Valentines Day expectations! I mean, it's a holiday created by greeting card companies, so I assume my partner will want to ignore the holiday as much as I do, but I can't help but worry that I'm playing with fire. I'd ask her what she thinks, but I don't want to seem shallow. What should I do?

-Hydroponic in Chicago

Well, HIC, you've an interesting conundrum. You're right that Valentines Day was created by an evil cabal of greeting card companies, hack poets, and unemployed cherubim, but you ignore it at your own peril. Solution: why not forgo the greeting cards and chocolates, but still celebrate the occasion with a spirited lovemaking session. Just be sure to check with your doctor first to make sure you're healthy enough for sex. Of course, sometimes women do like tangible presents, so might I suggest purchasing my latest book, 17 (More!) Places to Insert Your Penis: More Reminders for the Elderly? It's up to 1,567 on Amazon's Love/Sex/Gerontology/Self-Published bestseller charts. Seven people can't be wrong.

Dear Love Gerontologist,

Whut iz Vagina 4? Can maek baaby with pp? How this wrok?


Well, Anonymous, for the elderly, the vagina can be a mysterious object indeed. I suggest asking an adult child or retirement home employee to have “the talk” with you. They'll know what that means, and they'll remind you of all the things you used to do.

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-from your friends at Giant Electric Penguin
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

6 Lamest Winter Olympics Mascots Ever

6. Schneemann (1976 Winter Olympics, Innsbruck)
Hey, Austria, I don't know how ya'll build snowmen over there in the Old Country, but in America our snowmen got torsos and rumps. I don't know about this freaky goblin snowman ya'll tried to pass off as an Olympic mascot way back in '76. There's nothing right about a snowman head with arms and legs growing out of it. I don't care how damn big its smile is.

Before I forget: Upon discovering the existence of the '76 Winter Olympics' terrifying mascot, I penned the following joke...

Q. Where does an Austrian snowman go to purchase overpriced polo shirts?

A. Schneemann Marcus!

Feel free to use that at your next '76 Winter Olympics-themed party.

5. The Snowlets-Sukki, Nooki, Lekki, and Tsukki (1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano)
These four misshapen lumps of fail represent the four major islands of Japan. Though I conducted several lengthy searches of the internet, I was unable to find the person (or persons) responsible for the monstrosities displayed before you, so I will go with my original assumption that they were created by an armless Japanese orphan raised in a dimly lit basement forced at gunpoint to draw four owls, an animal he had absolutely no knowledge of as he had never once been allowed to leave his basement prison, nor been given access to either books or a television on which to view nature documentaries.

Someone really should put the Snowlets out of their misery. Nobody wants to look at that.

4. Roni (1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid)
Look, it's not that I don't like the idea of a raccoon in ice skates, I do. It's just...well...Roni looks kinda like a pussy. That's all.

3. Magique (1992 Winter Olympics, Albertville)
Magique? Really? MAGIQUE???

Wikipedia describes Magique as a "man-star/snow imp." What the hell is a man-star? Whatever, France.

2. Hidy and Howdy (1988 Winter Olympics, Calgary)
Believe it or not, Hidy and Howdy are NOT a product of Texas. I was as surprised as you are. Let's forget the fact that holding the Winter Olympics in Texas is probably impossible. Don't you just get a whole "Texas vibe" off these two? I do.

I thought Canada was better than this, quite honestly. Teddy bears in Western wear? I've never been anywhere near Texas in my life, but that's exactly what I think of when I think of the Lone Star State. Go ahead. Next time you run into me ask, "Hey, Matt, I'm thinking about vacationing in Texas next summer. What do you think I should expect?" and just see if I don't answer, "Human-sized teddy bears in Western wear prolly." I guarantee I will.

Hidy and Howdy are supposed to represent Canadian hospitality, but I've never wanted to run away screaming from something more in my entire life.

1. Hakon and Kristin (1994 Winter Olympics, Lillehammer)
Here they are--the worst Winter Olympics' mascots of all time, Hakon and Kristin.

Now, I don't hate children, in fact, they have a lot of qualities I admire, but choosing two children dressed in traditional Norwegian garb to represent the Olympic Games to the world at large is super boring. I mean, Hildy, Howdy, and Roni are pretty lazy choices, but they're still anthropomorphic animals, and that trumps children every time. You gotta have pretty big balls to unleash something as anti-whimsical as Magique on the world, but Norwegian kids, well, that's just pathetic. I'll take any of these mascots (even, regrettably, Schneemann) over these two brats any day. For shame, Lillehammer.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

100 Songs I Love: 17-20

17. "How's It Going to Be" (Third Eye Blind)

Third Eye Blind is agruably one of the most forgettable bands of the late-90s, however, I will never be able to utter the phrase, "I despise everything Third Eye Blind has ever recorded." To say this would be hypocritical since 1997's "How's It Going to Be" is one of the greatest songs ever written EVER. What can I say, man. It got me through some rough shit, i.e. one of the many, many break-ups I experienced with my high school girlfriend the summer before our college experiences. I distinctly remember listening to "How's It Going to Be" on repeat, singing along with Stephan Jenkins--the only person who understood my pain--and weeping. OK, maybe I wasn't weeping, but I was misty-eyed.

"How's It Going to Be" is a song I wish I wrote because, quite frankly, for years I've wanted nothing more than to show up at some coffee shop on Open Mic night and perform it in front of a sparse crowd of slightly-annoyed college students trying to study for an exam. Alas, this will never be, because Third Eye Blind is lame. I live too far away from any hip coffee shops anyway.

"How's It Going to Be" Fun Fact: In May of last year, I performed Third Eye Blind's "How's It Going to Be" at the Karaoke All-Stars show on a cruise ship that shall remain nameless. My father said it was "one of the best three performances of the night."

18. "Nothing Better" (The Postal Service)

We all know that High School Matt dealt with heartbreak by shouting along with Stephan Jenkins in his bedroom when his family was out, but how did Post-College Under-Employed Matt deal with the end of a relationship? If you guess "cried like a toddler" you're only half right. He (or I) turned once again to Sweet Lady Music for comfort. I used to lay on the moldy old mattress in the spare room and listen to Morrissey albums for hours on end. Surprisingly, this made it possible for me to leave my house and interact with human beings on a semi-daily basis. At least there was one person on this planet more miserable than me.

Sometimes though I wanted nothing more than to wallow in my sadness and cry myself stupid. For that I simply fired up
Give Up and flipped to track #4, "Nothing Better." The first time this happened it was an accident. I didn't know what was happening. I was listening to Ben Gibbard beg his girlfriend not to leave, going as far as blocking the exits ("I will block the door like a goalie tending the net in the third quarter of a time game rivalary") and promising to make the appropriate changes to his personality ("I swear I'll do my best to comply"). Somewhere around the middle of the song, I realized I was crying. But not just crying. Sobbing. It was disconcerting, but cathartic as hell.

Today I can listen to "Nothing Better," my favorite on an album filled with favorites, and keep my composure. In fact, when listened to out of the context of a faulty relationship on it's last legs, "Nothing Better" is kind of sappy and overly emotional, but I still total buy it.

My favorite lyrics (Boy): "Will someone please call a surgeon who can crack my ribs and repair this broken heart that you're deserting for better company"

My favorite lyrics (Girl): "Don't you feed me lines about some idealistic future. Your heart won't heal right if you keep tearing out the sutures."

19. "Meantime" (The Futureheads)

Let's keep this bitter train rolling, shall we? Somewhere between getting dumped before a Pixies concert and meeting my wife in person for the first time, I proclaimed this anti-social anthem my personal mission statement. "Why do we say hello?" I asked myself. "It truly is a fashion that we follow that we should be forgetting, but here I am doing it again." "Meantime" is three minutes of sneering, foot-stomping snark. Plus, it's got a beat you can dance to (i.e. insanely thrash about to in the confines of your cramped, musty bedroom when you're feeling particularly low).

Favorite lyrics #1: "It's not interesting to have false conversations. You've stolen all your stories, and I don't have the patience."

Futureheads Fun Fact: GEP's own Jonathan and I celebrated our first night in our new apartment by taking in a Futurehead's show at the Lincoln Theater. It was pretty great from what I remember.

Favorite lyrics #2: "It's's easy...anytime...we can talk...if you like..but let's forget it for the meantime."

20. "This Friendly World" (Andy Kaufman)

I'm sick of moping. Let's brighten things up a bit.

I am obsessed with Andy Kaufman. I have read and re-read Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman by Bill Zehme and Andy Kaufman Revealed! by Bob Zmuda several times; I own a supremely shitty VHS copy of Kaufman's '77 television special for ABC which I have viewed into deeper shittiness; and I even enjoyed the ho-hum biopic based on a version of his life starring Jim Carrey. Kaufman was a true genius and he remains one of my personal heroes.

I love this song! It just makes me smile.

"This Friendly World" Fun Fact: At their first, and only, New Year's Eve show, Charlotte's own Moe Need's Glasses performed "This Friendly World" for a gym full of disinterested teenagers. They also performed a Kaufman-inspired song entitled "No Kittens Were Hurt in the Civl War" written by singer/rhythm guitarist Matthew Lawson.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

4 Coolest Winter Olympics Mascots Ever

Dude, the mascots for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver are sweet! You've got Quatchi, a sasquatch who longs to be a hockey goalie; Miga, the half bear, half killer whale sea beast that I can only imagine possesses an insatiable lust for blood under its adorable exterior; and Sumi, the winged bear-fox-orca creature thingy. There's even an unofficial sidekick: Mukmuk, the Vancouver Island marmot (not pictured). I assume Mukmuk is around to keep these other vicious combo-beasts in check, I mean, mixing a bear and a killer whale together is just asking for trouble.

But Vancouver hasn't cornered the market on super sweet Olympic mascots. No, there have been tons--well, at least four--totally awesome mascots who came before. And here they are in order of awesomeness.

4. Powder (2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City)
Powder was just one member of an Olympic power trio which also featured Copper, a coyote who apparently represented the concept "higher," and Coal, a bear representing "stronger." Powder, as you may have already guessed, represented "faster." Put them together and you get higher, faster, and stronger or how one feels when he or she is baptized into the Mormon church.

3. Neve & Gliz (2006 Winter Olympics, Turin)
You know why I love Neve and Gliz so much? Because they are walking nightmares. Imagine being a child in Turin in 2006. You're in the Olympic Village with your parents shopping for commemorative pins or something, and suddenly Neve and Gliz come bursting out of nowhere, eerie grins plastered across their blank white faces, cavorting and waving. You'd freak the hell out! "Mommy, what are they?" you might cry into your mother's perfumed bosom. "What do they want?" It's a safe bet your mother, nor your father, nor anyone else in the immediate vicinity could accurately describe to you what exactly Neve and Gliz are and realizing this, well, I wouldn't be surprised if an all out riot of sheer blind panic broke out in the streets of Turin.

Neve and Gliz are, in fact, an anthropomorphic snowball and ice cube respectively, and while they are horrifying, they seem friendly. Like, I don't honestly think Neve and Gliz would actually ever hurt anybody on purpose.

Also, the 2006 Winter Olympics were held in Turin? How did I not know this at all?

2. Schuss (1968 Winter Olympics, Grenoble)
I like Schuss for the same reason I like Neve and Gliz: he defies all explanation. The very existence of Schuss makes the idea of humanoid ice cubes okay somehow. Schuss is obviously a skier of some kind. He's wearing skis presumably, plus his name is a skiing term, so, you know, duh.

It's Schuss's giant globe head, bright red face, and googly fish eyes that intrigues/horrifies me. Who is this Schuss and where did he come from? Is he from some distant star sent to France in the late 1960's to impart some kind of ski-centric message to the world? Is he crazy, because, let's face it, that smile doesn't exactly scream "I'm perfectly sane. Promise."

Whatever Schuss is he is the second coolest Olympic mascot of all time. And I'm not even holding the fact that he was creating by some French chick against him.

1. Vučko (1984 Winter Olympics, Sarajevo)
It took me a while, but I eventually figured out why Vucko here appeals to me so much. See, he kind of resembles one Mr. Chester Cheetah, which triggered the pleasure centers in my brain because I am a diehard fan of every Cheetos variation currently available to the public. Also, his muzzle sport of looks like a dick and balls, and as a man with both of these appendages in my boxer briefs, this appeals to the manly stud who resides inside of me, makes a rare appearance every Sunday during football season, and magically disappears once again.

You might be interested to know that Vucko beat out a mountain goat, a chipmunk, a lamb, a porcupine, and a snowball to become Sarajevo's official Olympic ambassador to the world. I think the right choice was made, but wouldn't it have been kind of awesome if the porcupine was chosen? I think so.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Morning Music - Joy Electric "When You Were Young" (Killers Cover)

Question: Who can take a gritty, yearning rock song about the loss of innocence from the Killers' "Springsteen" phase and turn it into a fey inspirational ditty for Christian teens, improving the tune in the process?

Answer: Twee for Christ electronic music pioneers Joy Electric.

For argument's sake, the original:

Which is better?

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Monday, February 1, 2010

100 Songs I Love: 13-16

13. "Bizarre Love Triangle" (New Order)

There are few bands better--by my count there are only five--than Manchester's New Order, and though they have produced enough amazing music over the years to dominate this list o' mine, I've decided to showcase perhaps their most commercial hit, "Bizarre Love Triangle." Not their strongest lyrically--though New Order's strength has never been in their lyrics--"BLT," as I like to confusingly refer to it, is a kinetic cavalcade of synth-pop amazingness that never fails to put me in a dancing mood which, surprisingly enough, is quite rare for me.

14. "Bizarre Love Triangle" (Frente!)

The best cover of a New Order song ever! Frente!'s version of this New Order classic is sweet, quiet, and beautifully sung by Angie Hart.

By the way: what the fuck happened to Frente!? I loved these guys! I totally wore out my Marvin the Album cassette tape in 1994.

Other Frente! songs I love but regrettably cannot purchase on iTunes: "Most Beautiful"; "No Time"; "Labour of Love"; "Accidentally Kelly Street"

Frente! song I love that can be purchased on iTunes since it appears on the Melrose Place soundtrack: "Ordinary Angels"

15. "Walkin' After Midnight" (Patsy Cline)

Hi. My name is Matt and I am a song flipper.

When I am alone in my car it isn't an issue, but when my iPod is providing the tunes for, let's say, a road trip with the wife, my incessant flipping can become quite tiresome. Sometimes I'll flip before a song even has a chance to state its case. This is not such a big deal. More often I will flip halfway through a song. This, I've been told, is extremely irritating. Why do I do this? Easy. When I get "the point" of a particular song, I'm ready to move on. When I figure out what a song's getting at, what kind of wisdom it's trying to impart or mood it is trying to create, I move on. No sense in settling in and wasting time. There are millions of songs out there that I need to get to in my lifetime. I can't devote hours upon hours to every one.

There are, however, a few songs on my infinite playlist that I cannot flip away from. I've tried, but to no avail. For instance, once Rihanna's "Umbrella" starts, I'm hooked. Couldn't break away even if I wanted to.

"Walkin' After Midnight" is another song I can't bear to leave behind once it starts. It's haunting, borderline disturbing even. I mean, why the hell is a weeping willow crying on its pillow anyway? Who gave that tree a pillow in the first place? That's insane! The image of a desperately lonely, deeply depressed Patsy Cline roaming along the side of the highway after midnight hallucinating tree-sized pillows is too sad to comprehend. And yet I listen dutifully every time it comes up in the rotation.

"Walkin' After Midnight" is country music at its very saddest and, therefore, its very best.

16. "Bury Me Closer" (Palomar)
Brooklyn-based Palomar's "Bury Me Closer" is a song about the hopelessness of life and the inevitably of death, only it's so full of gorgeous harmonies that I can't help but smile whenever I hear it. Being reminded that we all die alone and probably do nothing more than rot in the ground afterwards has never been so enjoyable to listen to. (You can check out the song on the band's Myspace page--I recommend "Our Haunt" as well)

Favorite lyrics: "We won't be saved. We won't meet up again. We won't be found. We'll be lost underground."

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