Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shit Talkin'

I don't have time for a Tuesday Top Ten this week because I have been fervently working on my Lollapalooza schedule for most of the last 48 hours.  But that's neither here nor there.  As you may know, over the course of my career, I have a history of strange occurrences in the lavatories of my employers, from fecal phantoms to grown men grunting like Tim "The Toolman" Taylor to shit streaks on the top of the toilet seat.  

Today, I had a new bathroom experience that I felt compelled to share with all of you.  This afternoon, I walked into the bathroom at work, as I tend to do when I need to expel waste from my body at exactly 2:12 p.m. every day.  When I walked in, I heard someone talking, which isn't entirely unusual, given that humans often use speech as a form of communication.  I quickly deduced that the person talking was in a bathroom stall, which I found somewhat strange because it meant one of two things:  (1) he was talking to someone else in the bathroom, which would break the unwritten rule against engaging in a conversation while one party is shitting; or (2) he was talking on his phone, which is just weird.  I noticed that there was no one else in the bathroom, so it was obviously Number 2.  See what I did there?  My presence in the room and purposely loud closing of my stall door did nothing to deter his conversation.  Neither did the massive and clearly audible shit this guy was taking.  If I could hear it from ten feet away, the person on the other end of the phone had to have heard it.  And this guy just kept on talking casually like he was sitting on a park bench and not a toilet in a room with at least one other person who, in retrospect, should have flushed his toilet so that the guy two stalls over would have to explain to the person on the other end of the line exactly where he was.  "Uh, no, I just walked by a geyser. . . . Yeah, there's one in Chicago. . . . No, I won't tell you where it is. . . . Oh, would you look at that.  It just disappeared.  Now it's gone forever and no one will ever have any recollection of it.  You know how people in Chicago are with local geysers. . . . What local geysers, you say?  Exactly my point.  Well, I better get going.  I'm supposed to be hooking up with Don Cornelius. . . . Yeah, we're playing tennis, man. . . . We're playin' on the moon, bitch.  Peace."

We share a bathroom with several other companies on the floor, and I didn't recognize the guy's voice.  I consider this a blessing because I would never be able to look at a co-worker the same knowing that he takes his phone into the shitter and has no problem with talking to friends during what should be the second-most private moment of any man's day.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Norm Macdonald's 1998 ESPYs Opening Monologue

I realize this is about a week late, given that this year's ESPYs were last Wednesday night, but it's never too late to enjoy the sardonic stylings of Norm Macdonald.  He hosted the ESPYs in 1998, back when it was still acceptable to make jokes about Anthony Mason's love of underage women and OJ Simpson's love of murder.  Deadspin posted his monologue, and it's pretty hilarious.  Thanks to Trashton for the link.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Back in Black" by AC/DC

Tomorrow marks the 33rd anniversary since AC/DC released the Back in Black album.  It was their first with new lead singer Brian Johnson after the untimely death of Bon Scott earlier that year.  If there was any worry of a letdown, those worries were quickly put to rest and have been continuously put to rest for 33 years.  Back in Black has gone on to sell 50 million albums worldwide, making it tied for the second highest-selling album of all-time, the sixth highest-selling album in the U.S. (certified 22x Platinum), tied with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon as the highest-selling album by a band, and, of course, the highest-selling album by a hard rock band and highest-selling album by an Australian band.  And all of this is without having a song reach higher than #35 on the Billboard charts ("You Shook Me All Night Long").

From head to toe -- or, I should say, from "Hells Bells" to "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution -- Back in Black is a fantastic album.  For this week's video, I decided to go with the title track, which kicks off the second side of the album.  The song was written as a tribute to Scott, and it is without a doubt one of the best hard rock songs ever.  I've always loved those six crunchy guitar strums at the beginning of the song because they're so subdued, but they let you know that the thunder is about to rain down.  Interesting tidbit:  after the song was released on iTunes in 2012 -- over 30 years after it was originally released -- it reached #27 on the UK charts.  Now that is staying power.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Potential Names for the Prince of Cambridge

In case you've been living under a rock, or possibly in Iraq, yesterday, the future King of England was born to Prince William and Duchess Catherine.  His official title until his great-grandmother, grandfather, and father die will be the Prince of Cambridge.  His given name has not yet been, well, given to him.  Prince William's name wasn't announced for about a week after he was born, and Prince Charles was nameless for a month after he was born, so we may be waiting awhile. 

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has the odds as follows (top 5 only -– Boris is a longshot at 100:1):
George 2:1
James 5:2
Alexander 8:1
Richard 9:1
Louis 11:1

These are all well and good, except maybe for Louis, given the historic tensions between the British and the French, but I have eleven suggestions of my own for the name of the new Prince (in alphabetical order):

1.  Akeem.  That way, he will always be able to maintain diplomatic relations with Zamunda.
2.  Albert
3.  Boris.  I think the 100:1 odds on this are probably too generous, but it's a shame because an English Prince or King named Boris would be hilarious.  Of course, he would have to be dimwitted and always getting himself into hijinx.  That way, he can perfect his "who? me?" shrug as he looks straight into the camera after his mom says "What are we gonna do with you, Prince Boris?" after Boris sullied his royal suit tripping in a puddle while trying to chase a goose that had just made off with his crumpet with jam.  And on St. George's Day, no less!
4.  Dennis Farina.  I'm pretty sure it was no coincidence that Farina died the same day the Prince was born.  This just makes sense.  English royalty is old school; Dennis Farina is Old Style.  (Thanks to DBH for the link.)
5.  Give Me Your Handrew
6.  Jayden, Kayden, Braeden, Zayden, Ryker, Dax, Grayson, Jaxon, or any other terrible trendy name the uneducated masses have glommed onto in recent years.  That way, when he's King in 60 years, he can proclaim that no one shall ever be named that again.  And so it shall be.
7.  Leon.  If I can't have a Leon, the United Kingdom should be able to have one.
8.  Prince.  Like Boutros Boutros Ghali, Prince Prince exudes an air of respect.  And this will let him give commoners a good ribbing when they call him Prince, and he can be all, "How dare you call me by my first name!  Off with your head!"  And then the commoner, who would be shitting him- or herself, would be all, "No, I was calling you by your royal title."  And then Prince Prince would grin and be all, "Gotcha, bitch!" in his best Dave Chappelle voice before doing The Worm across the room.  And then they would laugh and take another hit from the royal bong.
9.  Ralph.  For when he becomes King.
10.  Rogers Nelson

11.  S

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Poison" by Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is fucking awesome.  He pioneered "shock rock" and brought theater and macabre to rock and roll shows, he was elected (far too late) to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, and he's a scratch golfer.  If you ever get the chance to see him in concert, do it.  You won't be disappointed.  He also has a pretty good ear for rock and roll, and I say that based, not only on the music he has made, but also on many interviews I've seen with him over the past 5-10 years in which he discusses other musicians.

In a recent interview on Fuse, Cooper expressed his opinion The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons.  It's fantastic.  Here is a snippet:
"I just feel that this whole generation needs to all eat a steak. Maybe they just need to quit eating vegetarian food and get out there and get some blood pumping in their system. You know, I mean rock 'n' roll is not about 'Happy happy happy, everything's okay. We're The Lumineers, let's clog dance.' Hey, there's a place for that. If I wanted to see a great clog dancing band, I'd go see The Lumineers." 
"Mumford & Sons are great at what they do. But it's not rock 'n' roll. Don't call it rock 'n' roll. That's an offense to rock 'n' roll."
He's absolutely right -- and that's not a knock on The Lumineers or Mumford & Sons.  I like both of those bands, but they play folk rock, not rock and roll.

So, in honor of Alice, this week's Retro Video of the Week will be his 1989 #7 hit, "Poison" -- which tied "School's Out" for his highest-charting song.  One of my favorite lines in rock history is from this song:  "I wanna hurt you just to hear you screaming my name."  You're sure as shit not going to hear that in a Lumineers or Mumford & Sons song.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Things I Have Not Done In The Past Two Days

Jester's sister Lizzie is a teacher, and she has made the wise choice to take the summer off instead of getting a summer job.  However, rather than choosing to do things that allow her to sleep in and keep her house clean, a few months ago, Lizzie offered to watch our kids for a few days at her abode in rural Indiana, by herself.  Jester and I happily obliged.  It's not that we don't love Daughter and Lollipop more than anything else in the world; it's just that sometimes it's nice not to have two kids under the age of four in your house.

So, we headed to the 'Noke Saturday, stayed over Saturday night, ate an unhealthy amount of fried food, and then left our kids at Lizzie's while they were napping Sunday afternoon.  Jester is going to pick them up tomorrow night via motorcar.

The last two days have been a revelation.  It's amazing what a couple days without kids can do for your routine.  Freedom is only half of it, while the other half is just not being busy every waking moment from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  For instance, here are 30 things I have not done in the past two days:

1.  Eaten dinner in my house

2.  Said "son of a biscuit," "I mean shoot," or "mothertrucker"

3.  The dishes six times

4.  Relegated anyone to the Naughty Stair

5.  Seen or smelled another human's feces

6.  Cleaned up spilled orange juice or milk five times during one meal

7.  Bargained

8.  Been asked by someone to make a specific meal, made that meal for that person, and then witnessed that person throw said meal on the floor and ask for yogurt instead

9.  Seen a shoe on the wrong foot

10.  Woken up in the middle of the night to find a toddler -- who started the night in her own bed -- mouth breathing in my face and/or kicking me in her sleep

11.  Witnessed someone demand a band-aid for slight bruise emitting no blood whatsoever

12.  Shushed someone

13.  Been shushed

14.  Tickled someone

15.  Been tickled

16.  Violently wiped anyone's face or hands

17.  Had anyone suggest to me that we go to the zoo and aquarium tomorrow

18.  Turned the corner into my living room only to see that whiny little son of a bitch Caillou on the TV screen, approximately 138 yogurt-covered raisins scattered on the floor, and a one-year-old standing on the coffee table

19.  Read a book out loud, other than literotica

20.  Had to ask a three-year-old to explain to me what a one-year-old just said

21.  Closed or locked my bedroom door for any reason

22.  Raised my voice

23.  Threatened to call Santa Claus "if you don't cut that out right now"
24.  Pretended to talk to Santa Claus because a three-year-old did not cut that out right now
25.  Been told by a three-year-old in tears that she will be nice and will never do that again
26.  Witnessed a three-year-old do that again

27.  Repeated someone's name seventeen times in a row before he or she looked in my direction

28.  Seen so much as a single naked princess lying face down in the middle of my kitchen

29.  Witnessed a fight over possession of one baby doll, despite the presence of multiple other baby dolls within a five foot radius
30.  Heard anyone cry due to: the failure of a guardian to provide a dinner consisting only of popsicles and Cheeto's Puffs; the mere suggestion of teeth brushing; or the removal of an iPad or phone that did not belong to them in the first place

Needless to say, I miss those little shitheads -- I mean shootheads.

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Book: Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick

A few weeks ago, I finished reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  As I mentioned when I started reading it, I may or may not have read it when it was assigned in high school.  After reading it now, I am pretty sure there's no way I read it in high school because I would have remembered the weird shit that went on in the book.  I think the book holds up relatively well.  Who can't relate to getting shitfaced during the summer, hating philanderers, and creating a fake persona and buying a mansion on Long Island Sound so that you can stalk some chick you knew five years ago?  Of course, the book takes a dark turn at the end, with a Meet Joe Black-esque car accident (although not nearly as hilarious) and a resulting murder-suicide.  No wonder Nick Carraway, a smart and humble Midwestern boy, becomes so disillusioned with the East Coast.  I would too, old sport.

I have since started reading Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick.  In my opinion, Sam Cooke has one of the greatest voices in the history of recorded music, and his influence can be heard from Otis Redding to Steve Perry to Cee-Lo Green.  He also had a pretty interesting life, growing up as the son of a minister on Chicago's South Side, becoming a gospel music star, making the switch to -– gasp -– secular music, and becoming a pop superstar and civil rights advocate, before being shot and killed in 1964 under mysterious circumstances by a motel manager.  I am definitely interested to see what the book says about his death.

Books read in 2013:
The Beatles by Bob Spitz
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Hotel Yorba" by The White Stripes

Following up on yesterday's Jack White love fest, it seemed like an appropriate time for a White Stripes video to make an appearance as a Retro Video of the Week.  Technically, since they released no videos before 2000 (which is my self-imposed ending date for Retro Video of the Week videos), this isn't "retro," but I like to break the rules.  That's what the chicks dig about be me.  That, and my Fiero.  Anyway, "Hotel Yorba" was the first single the White Stripes ever commercially released, and it was their first video as well.  The song, which is one of my favorites of theirs, was recorded in the Hotel Yorba in Detroit. (which is now government-subsidized housing).  If I remember correctly, according to legend, Jack and Meg checked into the hotel and had to hastily record the song before being kicked out for, well, making rock and roll music.  Apparently, the by-the-hour set must have complained.  The video is not shot inside the hotel (although there are some exterior shots of the hotel) because they were denied permission to film inside the hotel, but I think that's something I can live with. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

An Ode to Jack White by Spencer Blohm

I was recently approached by entertainment blogger Spencer Blohm, who asked to write a guest post in honor of Jack White's 38th birthday, which is today.  I happily obliged, and below is Spencer's guest post, with a short bio at the end.  Enjoy.

Detroit native Jack White is best known as the frontman of The White Stripes, but these days White is also a record producer, occasional actor, singer-songwriter, and a musician in multiple other bands. In addition to his work with The White Stripes, White is well known for working with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. White formed The White Stripes in 1997 with his then-wife Meg White under the original name The Red and White Stripes. Sadly, on February 2, 2011 The White Stripes disbanded, but that hasn’t slowed White down.

White started producing with the The White Stripes’ self-titled debut album in 1999. Since then White has had the opportunity to collaborate and work with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys, Electric Six, and Insane Clown Posse. In 2004, White produced and performed on Loretta Lynn’s award winning album, Van Lear Rose. At the time Lynn was 72 and White was 28. The blending of the two vastly different musicians proved to be a success when the album won best country album at the 2005 Grammys. The song “Portland, Oregon”, a duet between Lynn and White also won a Grammy for best country collaboration with vocals.

White founded Third Man Records in 2001 in Detroit, Michigan. Eight years later the first physical location was established in Nashville, Tennessee as a combination record store, performance venue, and a headquarters for the label. On March 9, 2011, Third Man Records announced its newest addition, the Third Man Rolling Record Store. The rolling record store is a yellow step van outfitted with a sound system and Third Man Records inventory. It made its first appearance in Austin, Texas at SXSW 2011 and since then has been at concerts, festivals, and other events.

The 38 year old White has had a hugely successful music career spanning almost two decades now. The White Stripes won a total of 6 Grammys and White’s solo career is also off to a good start with his album Blunderbuss, which picked up two Grammy nominations for album of the year and best rock album of the year in 2013. Although now White is a well known and respected musician, things could have turned out very differently. White was raised in a large, middle-class, Catholic family and at one point he considered going to a seminary in Wisconsin. White ultimately decided against it, and the music industry and his millions of fans thank him for that decision!

Author Bio: Spencer Blohm is an entertainment blogger for DTV. A longtime fan of rock music, he has followed Jack’s career since the beginning. He currently lives in Chicago with his cat who doesn’t seem to share the same love of rock music as his owner.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Zombie Dust

Last night, I had a pretty vivid dream about the impending zombie apocalypse.  I am known for having weird dreams, although I don't watch movies or TV shows relating to zombies, so this one caught me off guard.  

Zombies were invading Chicago.  They were moving eastward, from the burbs toward Lake Michigan, probably because the population is denser in the City, which means more food for the zombies.  They eat human flesh, you know.  The kicker was that it was hard to tell who was a zombie and who wasn't.  I ran into a co-worker on the street, made some small talk, and then looked at her eyes, only to realize they bore the mark of the undead.  Then she tried to bite my leg.  Zombies can be pesky, but thankfully, I had a crew of about five or six non-zombies with me, who helped me kick her off me before she could taste my presumably succulent flesh.  Then we shot her head off and made our way to Union Station, picking up non-undead followers, taking out a few more zombies on the way, and making a much-needed bathroom break.  

When we arrived at Union Station, things started to really come together.  Kevin Durant had mobilized his forces as well, and we met by the old stairs made famous in The Untouchables.  Durant and I were spearheading resistance and zombie-related injury prevention efforts, attempting to get people to take trains westward until the zombie infestation died off.  The thinking was that the zombies were descending on the City, but if there are no humans for zombies to feed on, they will starve and die, and then the Chicago Streets and Sanitation Department can clear the streets of the zombie corpses (earning time and a half at that), and we can all go back to enjoying the summer.  In an address to the masses, not unlike that of Cyrus in The Warriors, we laid out our plan.  We also made a flyer detailing everything, since it's impossible to be too prepared for a growing throng of selfish flesh-eaters who lack the ability to empathize.  

Unfortunately, I woke up before our plan could come to fruition, so I don't know if it worked or whether the train conductors turned out to be zombies.  But then this morning, I found out that Kevin Durant just got engaged, so it seems like things must have worked out.  Unless they're both zombies.  Shit.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Livin' In America" by James Brown

Happy birthday, America.  I've incuded both the official music video and the scene from Rocky IV where James Brown performs the song.  There is significant overlap between the two, but it's important to watch both.  Let's not forget that Drago was juicing and killed Apollo Creed.  Rocky's victory over Drago was an allegory for the impending fall of communism.  At least that's how I took it when I first saw the movie when I was eight. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the once-successful Rocks trivia team, whose name, No Longer Livin' In America, was a heartfelt tribute to the Godfather of Soul upon his then-recent passing, and really started the trend of using recently deceased celebrities as inspiration for hilarious trivia team names.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Origins of 26 Alcoholic Drink Names

No Tuesday Top Ten this week, as I prepare to celebrate America's 237th birthday, but I'm sure as shit not going to leave you empty-handed on this Tuesday.  I love a good cocktail, and I can tolerate a bad one.  The dude in the video below explains the origins of 26 of our most beloved alcoholic drinks, most of them cocktails.  Here is a list of the drinks discussed in the video, in case you want to jump ahead, although for the sake of learning, I suggest you watch the whole video.  The ones in bold are the ones I've had, with anecdotes following where deemed appropriate:
1.  Piña Colada
2.  Julep
3.  Sangria
4.  Wine
5.  Fuzzy Navel
6.  Black Russian
7.  White Russian.  Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women.
8.  Manhattan.  This is my go-to wedding reception cocktail, other than straight whiskey.  I tend to have fun at weddings.
9.  Martini
10. Alabama Slammer.  One of the few shots I did not regurgitate in the men's or women's room at Kilroy's Sports Bar on my 21st birthday.
11. Tom Collins.  A college favorite of my then-girlfriend, now wife, Jesterio the Magnificent.  Apparently, when she was a 21-year-old woman, she was also a 60-year-old man.  Perhaps that's what drew me to her.
12. Tom and Jerry.  People from Wisconsin have entire parties centered around this drink. Not that anyone from Wisconsin has ever needed to find an occasion to consume alcohol.
13. Irish Car Bomb.  I spent a month there one night.
14. Irish Coffee
15. Mojito
16. Mai Tai
17. Bellini
18. Daiquiri
19. Screwdriver.  Does anyone over 18 not named Mickey Mantle drink Screwdrivers?
20. Hurricane
21. Minty Grasshopper
22. Mimosa
23. Long Island Iced Tea
24. Bloody Mary.  Best one I ever had was the first one, at the Outlook Inn in Louisville.  Ever since then, I've been chasing the dragon.  I should also note that, the same night, I came across a dragon that is slightly faster than I am.  Now, it should make sense.
25. Zombie
26. Sidecar.  In the not-so-distant past, my wife and a friend ordered so many of these that they drank the bar out of cognac.  Perhaps that's what drew me to her.

I was disappointed that there is no discussion of a Harvey Wallbanger or a Sloppy Hooker, but it was nonetheless a worthwhile video.