Friday, April 24, 2015

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Two female college students discussing movies they have to watch for a class:
Female #1:  "I have to watch something with Harrison Ford.  Blade something.  I guess it's a famous sci-fi movie.  I don't know."
Female #2:  "Blades of Glory?"
Female #1:  "Yeah, maybe."
--Chicago
Eavesdropper:  Pea Head

Listen to Hair Band Friday - 4/24/15

Hair Band Friday - 04/24/15 by GMYH on Grooveshark

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Buffalo Stance" by Neneh Cherry

As a bit of an homage to yesterday's post -- and, more specifically, the animal I could have had as a pet -- this week's Retro Video of the Week will be Nenah Cherry's 1988 hit "Buffalo Stance."  I remember when this song came out because I don't think I'd ever heard the word "gigolo" used so prominently in a song, other than in David Lee Roth's 1985 cover of "Just a Gigolo."  It turns out the "gigolo" was actually Cherry's boyfriend at the time, and the "crocodile feet" were just a reference to his Lacoste shoes.  I still prefer to think of the song as a tribute to working men everywhere -- guys just trying to get make ends meet by bangin' chicks.

"Buffalo Stance" was a legit international success, hitting #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart, as well as #1 in The Netherlands and Sweden, #2 in Germany and Switzerland, #3 in Canada, Norway, and the UK, #7 in Austria and Ireland, and #14 and #21, respectively, in New Zealand and Australia.  

Of course, you may also remember Cherry's half-brother Eagle-Eye, who himself had some major chart success in 1997 with "Save Tonight."  I assume Neneh and Eagle-Eye are one of the few, if not the only, brother-sister pairs whose last name is not Osmond who have both had Top 5 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  If anyone out there feels like doing the research to back up this theory, please do so and report back to me.

Tuesday Top Ten: Animals I Have Cared For, Owned, or Could Have Owned

Over the course of my life, I have owned several animals -- pets, I guess normal people would call them.  I have also cared for other people's pets while they were spending a week at Hedonism.  There were also opportunities to obtain animals that I passed up on for one reason or another.  Here are the top ten animals I owned, cared for, or could have owned.

10 (tie).  Wild mice (owned)
Not long after my parents separated, my dad began to notice evidence of mice in his new house.  For reasons that are still unclear to me, he decided to go with those humane mouse traps that keep the little buggers alive.  For reasons that are even more unclear to me, he decided to put the first two he caught into a terrarium.  As it turned out, one was a dude and the other was a lady,  Soon, two became about fifteen.  The problem was that it was nearly impossible to clean the cage because they would jump out, so the cage tended to get stanky pretty quickly.  And they would crawl on the metal mesh roof of the cage, making a grating noise that was not conducive to sleep.  Eventually, my dad got wise and took them out to a forest preserve, where he released them before hunting them down one by one with a Bowie knife.

10 (tie).  Goldfish (owned)
When I was a kid, like most idiots, I had a few goldfish.  I won mine by throwing a ping pong ball into a goldfish bowl at my grade school's Fun Fair.  I named them Psycho and Pyro.  They died like a week later, despite my steadfast care and compliance with reasonable feeding guidelines.  Aside from my sister-in-law, who managed to keep the same goldfish alive for something like nine years, goldfish don't seem to last much longer than a month.

9.  Betta fish (owned)
Jester and I had a betta named Todd nearly ten years ago, and last year, we got another betta, which the kids named Thomas.  Bettas pretty much suck as pets because you can't put them in an aquarium with other bettas, unless you are running some sort of betta fighting ring, in which case, please email me.  I want in.

8.  Rabbit (cared for)
At some point, Jester and I did some rabbitsitting.  The thing pissed on me.  I was not amused.

7.  Dwarf frogs (cared for)
You might think frogs are pretty cool, but these little guys were relatively worthless.  They just swim, and they don't even look at you when you ask them questions.

6.  Box turtle (cared for)
Daughter's classroom has a turtle, and we watched it over winter break.  It was much more interesting than I thought it would be.  Did you know that turtles eat lettuce?  I didn't either.  Unfortunately, we had to keep it in its cage more than we would have liked because Lollipop is a lot like Lenny from Of Mice and Men.  She absolutely cannot be trusted around free-range animals that she can pick up.  That turtle got picked up and immediately dropped the first time we let it crawl around on the floor.  Thankfully, turtles have hard shells to protect them from careless three-year-olds.

5.  Scorpion (owned)
For a period of about two years in law school, I owned a scorpion, which I named Bea Arthur because I wasn't sure if it was a male or female.  As a Scorpio, this was more than just a pet.  Bea provided hours of entertainment, as my roommates and I stared at it and prodded it with several pencils taped together, hoping to see it sting a cricket.  We never did.  Then, one foggy April Saturday morning, Bea wasn't responsive.  She had succumbed to consumption, a victim of her own cold blood.  We had a short funeral, complete with "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes blaring from the stereo.  I wrapped Bea in cellophane and buried her several inches under the ground next to our rental property.  Then "How Do U Want It?" by 2Pac came on, and we started dancing and then went inside and cracked some Natty Lights.  That's what she would have wanted.

4.  Garter snake (cared for)
In junior high, my science teacher had a garter snake in his classroom named Action Jackson.  I watched it both winter breaks, and it was pretty awesome.  Action Jackson ate live goldfish.  For a seventh or eighth-grade boy, this was nothing short of spectacular.  Hell, I would still find watching a snake eat a goldfish to be pretty cool.  One day, I would like to own a snake.  I'd probably name it Jake Roberts.

3.  Dog (owned and cared for)
Harley, my possibly autistic mutt who is approximately 80 years old now, is the first dog I've ever owned, so maybe my view is skewed.  Sure, she's a little skittish and hates nearly every man in the world, but in general, she's been a really good dog.  She was easy to housebreak, and she has always been a late sleeper.  We have dogsat many canines over the years, and I can't say that all dogs are as willing to sleep until 10 without bitching (pun intended).  In general, dogs are cool, though.

2.  Piranhas (owned)
Sophomore year in college, my roommates and I bought two piranhas, Double Down and Two-Tone Slim.  If we could have afforded more than two, presumably we would have bought more than two.  They ate goldfish, and it was really fun to watch them stalk and kill their prey.  They were a definite conversation piece.  Chicks would always stop by our room in the fraternity and be like "Nice piranhas.  Where's the bathroom?"  And we'd be all "next door on your right."

1.  Buffalo (could have owned)
Back in the summer of aught three, I was getting ready to move out of Bloomington for good.  My roommates and I had a problem, though:  we had a ton of booze, but not a reasonable amount of time to drink it all.  Our solution was to throw a hairy buffalo party, which we dubbed The Muthafuckalo.  In case you're not familiar with a hairy buffalo, there are a few variations, but it general goes like this:  you take all the booze you have, pour it into a receptacle of some sort (a brand new trash can, in our case), and you make a very strong punch.  We cut up a bunch of fruit and let it soak for a while in the booze, which was very whiskey heavy.  The party ended up being a total sausage fest, but it was a good time nonetheless.  It could have been legendary.

You see, a few days before the party, my roommate and I ran into Dave, an affable stoner who lived across the street from us for the previous two years.  We told him about the hairy buffalo party and invited him.  "Do you guys want a buffalo?" he asked.  We laughed, assuming he was kidding.  "I know a guy who can get you a buffalo," he continued, clearly misconstruing what a hairy buffalo party was.  Rather than dismiss him outright or question the circumstances under which he became acquainted with a "buffalo guy," we asked, "So you mean, we would rent the buffalo for the party?"  "No," Dave replied, "You would have to buy a baby buffalo and keep it."  Setting aside the fact that our landlord had an airtight "no pets" clause in the lease, we incredulously looked at this guy and explained politely that we did not have the knowledge, desire, finances, or acreage necessary to raise a baby buffalo.  "Okay," Dave said, "Well, let me know if you guys change your mind."  

Not buying that buffalo is one of the biggest regrets of my life.  Every time I eat a bison burger, I think that could have been our little Dorothy Zbornak.  We would have named it Dorothy Zbornak.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Sussudio" by Phil Collins

Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of the release of one of my favorite movies, American Psycho, based on one of my favorite books (although admittedly, I didn't read the book until after I saw the movie).  Thanks to my friend and murder confidante Adam for sending me a link to a Mental Floss article entitled "19 Things You Might Not Know About American Psycho."  I actually didn't know most of these, including that Leo and Johnny Depp were both tapped (even if unofficially) to play Patrick Bateman.  I can't imagine anyone other than Christian Bale as Bateman, so I'm glad he ended up with the role, which is still my favorite performance of his.  He is nothing short of brilliant as Patrick Bateman.  His delivery, cadence, accent, facial expressions, and mannerisms are perfect.  As far as dark humor/satire goes, I can't think of a better film than American Psycho.  I quote it unconsciously at this point.

There are so many great lines and scenes in the movie, one of which is the scene where Bateman is videotaping his sexual escapades -- which I would call "sexcapades," by the way, but then again, I love word combinations -- with two prostitutes, Christy and Sabrina ("more of a dirty blonde").  The scene gives us the line "don't just stare at it; eat it!" and the image of Bateman flexing for himself in the mirror and pointing to the camera whilst engaged in lovemaking in the style of dogs.  Before that, he goes on one of his patented soliloquies, this time about Genesis and Phil Collins, ending with the line, "This is 'Sussudio,' a great, great song, a personal favorite."  Then he plays "Sussudio" during the aforementioned sexcapades.  If you're ever seen this scene, it is highly likely that you think of it whenever you hear "Sussudio."

"Sussudio" is one of four Billboard Top 10 songs off of Collins's third solo album, No Jacket Required, and one of two songs off the album to reach #1, which it did in July 1985.  I was 7 at the time, and this was my favorite song when it came out.  I remember being absolutely flabbergasted when I first heard Collins speak and he had a British accent.  I couldn't reconcile that British singers and American singers could pronounce words similarly while singing, but then speak with different accents.  As for the title, it is a gibberish word that Collins made up when he was trying to find a word that fit the rhythm of a drum track.  He couldn't find anything else that fit better, so he just kept "sussudio" as the lyric and song title.  The rest, they say, is history.  And flexing while banging.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Things a Man Should Never Do In Order To Not Be Emasculated by Kazda

Every now and then, we here at GMYH get a request to do a guest post.  About a month ago, I got an email from longtime reader, occasional confidante, and funny guy, Kazda.  After making a pointed barb at GMYH's lack of content and humor, he offered to do a Tuesday Top Ten about "things a man should never do in order to not be emasculated."  Despite the double negative, I decided to go ahead with it.  Of course, March is the month of college basketball and my related Tuesday Top Tens, and Kazda's list appears to be timeless, so I waited until now to post this.  The views expressed below are not necessarily those of GMYH's, so if you're offended, that's on you and/or Kazda, not me.  Also, I just copied and pasted his list without any edits, so any phrasing, punctuation, typos, or grammatical errors are entirely Kazda's fault.  So, without further ado, here is Kazda's list of the Top 10 Things a Man Should Never Do in Order to Not be Emasculated.

1.  Carry the basket at the grocery store (conjures up images of skipping through a flower patch).  Just go with a cart even if you're picking up a limited number of items or just carry said items in your hands.

2.  Run with a sparkler

3.  Hand another man a gift in public

4.  Never look a male hair stylist in the eye while receiving a haircut

5.  Never compliment another man on his belt buckle

6.  Never publicly admit how excited you are for your new mini Cooper to be delivered

7.  Never wear open toed shoes at work

8.  Don't ever use exclamation points in emails or emoticons

9.  Don't let another man use your new grill before you or take over grilling responsibilities

10.  Don't let your buddy hand your sporting event ticket to the gate worker

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Rejecting Rejection and Having Your Rejected Rejection Rejected

I will be spending most of next week returning videotapes in America's wang, so I will not be posting anything during that time.  To tide you over, in addition to tomorrow's Hair Band Friday playlist, I figured I would give you one additional nugget.

First, I'd like to take a trip down memory lane.  In college in my fraternity, some guys started the tradition of posting and annotating their ding letters.  For those of you who may not be familiar with the term "ding letter," it is a rejection letter from a company to which you have applied for a job.  It is, without fail, a form letter that explains how impressed the letter's author was with your resume and experience, but then, despite how awesome you are, nonetheless tells you that you will not be offered a job.  Often, these letters are folded so quickly that the ink is not yet dry, and often these letters contain typos, inaccuracies, or, in the case of one of my former roommates with a mildly androgynous name, the occasional "Ms." instead of "Mr."

When I was in law school, I applied to dozens of law firms in the Midwest and elsewhere around the country, foolishly believing that one of them might offer me a job, or even a callback interview.  Needless to say, I received a lot of ding letters.  During my second year of law school alone, I think I was up in the 70s.  I might have even gotten to 100.  

There's only so much one guy can take, so when I received my 25th ding letter that year, I decided to take some action.  It was from a very large law firm headquartered in Chicago, and it was a typical form letter written by a faceless hiring partner's secretary, undoubtedly signed hastily by the partner as he laughed diabolically before sexually harassing a young female associate.  I decided to write back -- a reverse ding letter, if you will.  Using a similar tone and format as a standard ding letter, I thanked him for his ding letter and explained that our address received a lot of ding letters, but his was the 25th, so I was rejecting it.  I sent it via post, and hoped perhaps this asshole would have a sense of humor and at least give me a call.  No such luck.  Instead, I assume that got me blackballed from the Chicago legal community for several years.

Fast forward fourteen years.  Today, I read an article about a high school student in North Carolina who applied to Duke, but didn't get in.  Upon receiving her ding letter from Duke, she wrote an e-mail (kids these days and their lack of formality) back rejecting Duke's rejection.  It read:
Dear Duke University Admissions,
Thank you for the rejection letter of March 26, 2015. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me admission into the Fall 2015 freshman class at Duke.  
This year I have been fortunate enough to receive rejection letters from the best and brightest universities in the country. With a pool of letters so diverse and accomplished I was unable to accept reject letters I would have been able to only several years ago. 
Despite Duke's outstanding success in rejecting previous applicants, you simply do not meet my qualifications.  Therefore I will be attending Duke University's 2015 freshmen class.  
I look forward to seeing you then. 
Brilliant!  However, this poor girl suffered the same fate as I did with my reverse ding letter.  Duke e-mailed her back and reiterated that she would not be admitted to Duke.  Nonetheless, it was a bold move on her part, and as a reverse dinger myself, I applauded her moxie.

The article doesn't mention what other colleges rejected her (which she alludes to in her e-mail to Duke), but does mention that she was accepted to South Carolina.  Much like my arrogance in thinking that, with a middling first-year GPA, I would have had a shot at landing a job at one of the top firms in the world, perhaps this young woman was trying to outkick her coverage, so to speak, since Duke is ranked #8 in the venerable U.S. News & World Report rankings of national universities -- tied with Penn and ranked higher than three other Ivy League schools -- and has a 12.3% acceptance rate.  On the other hand, South Carolina is ranked #113 -- in the bottom half of the academically challenged SEC and ahead of only 14 of the 65 "Power Five" conference schools -- and has an acceptance rate of 64.4%.  

So, maybe the lesson to be learned by all of this is that you shouldn't be upset or surprised when you fail to do something you are wholly unqualified to do.  Aim low, people, and you'll never be disappointed.  Most importantly, humor is the best medicine for rejection.