Stairway to Heaven

January 29, 2009 at 11:49 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

I want a new drug.
One that won’t make me sick.
One that won’t make me crash my car.
Or make me feel three feet thick.

I appreciate that it’s socially acceptable to be addicted to some things and not to others.  Double standards are awesome if you know how to work the system.  Remember, street drugs bad.  Prescription drugs good.  Nicotine bad.  Caffeine good.  For a more specific example example, some might say I’m “addicted” to coffee.  I wouldn’t say I’m addicted.  I drink it because I like it and I choose to drink it.  I can stop any time.  I just don’t want to.  I don’t NEED it, per say.  Additionally, I’ll tell YOU when I’ve had enough so don’t try to take it away.

Here’s a mostly fictional account of where we get coffee:

Once upon a time, in the year of our Lord fifteen hundred and sixty-three, Cortez was chillin’ in South America.  He was a tyrannical leader and daily sent the natives out to get him gold.  One day, the natives were completely out of gold.  They pleaded with the evil European that they didn’t have any and please not to break their legs, but Cortez wasn’t about to let that shit fly.  The natives struck him a deal that they would give him a drink that would truly please him.  They ground up coffee beans, which they called “Kaufe” and put them in a stew that they gave to Cortez.  He hated it at first, but upon further reflection found it refreshingly addictive.  He ordered them to make more.  He brought the beans back to Europe with him and they grew the plant there.  The king loved it and it caught on with the elites, becoming a status symbol.  In the mid 1800’s, the craze caught on with the general population with the advent of the cotton gin, which was adapted to the coffee plant and changed the way the beans were collected.  Then Starbucks opened and everyone loved coffee even though it costs 4 bucks a cup to buy and 30 cents a cup to make.  Also, everyone who drinks coffee gets a free racecar!  Look into it.

Think the story sucks?  Well I think you suck!  If you thought the story was okay, I think you’re okay.  If you liked the story, I think you’re okay.  I’m not willing to make any commitments based on reaction to that story.

Anyway, coffee is awesome.  It tastes good and is the nectar of the gods.  If you carry a travel mug with you and sip from it occasionally as you’re talking to someone, you look and feel cooler.  It’s like you’ve got other things to do besides talk to this person but you’ll sacrifice your precious time for them.  It’s like smoking but without any side effects as far as I’m willing to acknowledge.

Anyway, brew some.  Drink it.  Throw a few back for me.

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New York City, New York State, 10108

January 26, 2009 at 11:04 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Hi there. Face here.

That may have been a misleading first line. For those of you who don’t know what that’s from, try to keep up. I am not, in fact just a face. I was, however, recently reminded of the gentle, gleeful, reserved days of my tender, censored, chaperoned youth. Too many adjectives? Too bad. Write your own blog entry and don’t use so many if you have a problem with it! Ha! Anyway, about this childhood thing- I grew up on Nickelodeon. This is after I graduated from PBS and before I was grasped *semi-temporarily* by the claw of MTV (when they still played music sometimes). We didn’t have cable at my house so this exposure was at my grandparents’ house. Of course there were the age appropriate shows that I loved “Salute Your Shorts” (My grandma would laugh every time they said “I think I’m gonna fart”) and the shows that scared the crap out of me like “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”

I’d like to share an average summer day being babysat by my grandparents/television as a 10 year old. Morning time is a lost cause. Nickelodeon’s airwaves were dominated by the dreaded Nick Jr., controlled by the evil Face. I’m not sure he had a real name or not, but I do know that even as a child I knew to be annoyed by him. If you were feeling childish, you could spend some time gritting it through “The Busy World of Richard Scarey” which isn’t busy or scary (as I thought it might be at first)– it’s more mundane and slow paced. However, 10-year old me didn’t understand this hypocrisy quite as well as 22-year old me does.

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Another show that dominated the airwaves was “Blues Clues” which was controlled by Steve, the pale bachelor who is either magical or high. Either way, his household appliances could talk to him, his pencil and paper pad were hugely oversized, and when he wrote something in mid air, it would stay there and wiggle occasionally.

But most of the morning was filled by Grandma watching CMT or the news. Although, this was in the days before the schedule was accessible on the screen. If you wanted to know what was on next you had to pay attention to ads or buy a TV Guide. Oh the dark ages… Afternoon was a bit more promising. Stick Stickley, who was essentially a popsicle with googley eyes hosted the afternoon show. Take that, struggling actors! He had the classic tag line:

Write to me, Stick Stickly. P.O. Box 963, New York City, New York State, 10108

He hosted Nick-U pick, when you might see such gems as “The Adventures of Pete and Pete” with Arnie, the world’s strongest man, or “Dude Ranch” which I hated, “Clarissa Explains it All” or even “What Would You Do?” (The answer is always “get pied”) This was even back in the days when Doug was on Nick – before it moved to Disney and the voice actor changed and got crappy.

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Anyway, I thought I’d drop a little nostalgia on you this fine day. Thanks, Nickelodeon.  Enjoy it. Savor it. Share it with your friends and relatives. 

Just in case you’re wondering, the channel was 31 on my grandma’s TV.

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Executive Privilege

January 23, 2009 at 12:36 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Today I’m going light on words and heavy on pictures.  Although I guess a picture is worth a thousand words so maybe I’m dropping like 9000 words on you.  Think about it.  I’m going to cut through the bull with you today and tell you from the get-go that I found a Japaneese website that is apparently selling a Barack Obama action figure.  That’s fine.  Plenty of people are capitalizing monetarily on the new President.  I’ll show you some pics.

It starts out innocently enough. Looks like a pretty high quality doll.  The face might be a little off, but I’m willing to forgive and forget.

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Innocent enough.  It even comes with a little stool, a microphone, and an American flag.  Cute.

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Then it starts to get weird.  I’ll let you look at the rest without captions.

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Just in case you want to see the President as a stereotypical black comedian
Just in case you want to see the President as a stereotypical black comedian

Anyway, I hope after seeing President Obama fight Lord Vader, you’re feeling as patriotic as I am.  Good luck looking badass next to Darth Vader, Vladimir Putin.  He’s got the dark side of the force.  You’ve got the dark side of Eurasia.

I also think after action figure Obama shoots someone he should say something cheesy like James Bond.  Like “This is an executive order,” “A handgun I can believe in,” “I nominate you… to die!” or “I HOPE you brought an extra CHANGE of underwear!” If someone takes that idea and runs with it, I call a cut of the profits from the cartoon!

As an added bonus, I’m including a picture of a sexy Catholic school girl Sarah Palin action figure.

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Thanks, Government

January 22, 2009 at 2:32 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

I recently completed a journey from the Washington DC area back to mid-Illinois.  I’ll let you guess why.  But I want to remind everyone out there that while a 13 hour road trip may not seem like fun, it can at least be educational.  For example, did you know that “Bridge ices before road?”  If you did, perhaps you had forgotten.  Additionally, did you know that rocks can fall?  AND roads are “Slippery when wet.”  These are just a few of the physics and life lessons we can learn from these yellow dictators.  They also have situation specific advice like “No U Turn” which I can only assume is broken english for “I don’t want you to turn.”  I forgive them though.  They’ll learn.  Plus, they have a limited amount of space to express how they feel – like a text message.  160 character max, road signs.  Anyway, my point is, hug a road sign a day.  They’re trying to help.

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That’s My Trick Ear

January 19, 2009 at 11:42 pm (Uncategorized)

I haven’t done this yet, and I don’t plan to do it often, but I’d like to include an exerpt from the news I read on CNN today:

Posted: 11:05 PM ET
Cheney pulled a muscle while moving, according to the White House.

Cheney pulled a muscle while moving, according to the White House.

(CNN) – Vice President Dick Cheney will be in a wheelchair during Tuesday’s Presidential Inauguration, after pulling a muscle in his back while moving, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said

“Under his physician’s recommendation, the Vice President will be in a wheelchair for the next couple of days, including for tomorrow’s inauguration, The Vice President is looking forward to being there for tomorrow’s historic inaugural activities,” Perino said in a statement.

Now I don’t know about you, but after reading that and seeing the picture I’ve finally put it all together.  It finally makes sense.  I hope you have too, but just in case you haven’t, let’s have some fun.  I won’t give it away right away.  Let’s see.

I am a businessman.

I once stole money from a man who I knew needed it to stay out of prison.

I think a whole area of land revolves around me.

I kept my cool during the depression, building my capital.

I hate that old Building and Loan.

If I had my way, Bedford Falls would be renamed Pottersville.

Do you have it yet?  Of course the answer is Henry F. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)!

George Bailey: Merry Inauguration Day to you, Mr Henry F. Potter!
Mr. Potter: And a happy first hundred days, In Jail! They’re At Your House Right Now!

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Fake it ’til You Make It.

January 16, 2009 at 8:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

We’re going to do a visualization exercise.  Close your eyes (and have someone else read this to you) and imagine yourself on a long car ride with close family and/or friends.  A song comes on the radio – a song you all love.  You start to sing along.  It’s a hopping good time.  Suddenly, a discussion breaks out about whether Akon is singing “I wanna make love right now na na” or “I wanna make up right now na na.”  I think it alternates between the two.

My point is that lyrics, while technically may be a concrete science, are not a concrete science.  They’re subjective.  For a secondary example, just try to pick out more than 4 lines in a row of a Dave Matthews Band song without mumbling through.  By the way, I’ve always held strong to the idea that looking up the lyrics is cheating.

I recently wrote about music.  I included a number of lyric lines from various songs (all coincidentally written by women).  While I thought I had a good idea of what most of the lines were, I had to go back and listen to the songs again to be sure.  I don’t want to look stupid in front of dozen of people.

However, if you manage to mumble through those words that no one knows without anyone noticing, you may even trick people into thinking you know a song.  Good for you.  If you’re anything like me, you better turn that song off after the first verse.

I realized recently that of the songs I “know,” very rarely do I know the third verse.  The first verse is likely.  The second verse is so-so.  The third or fourth verses are lost causes.

Anyway, my point is that you should enjoy music, pretend like you know all the words, especially when you don’t, and drown everyone else out with your off-key singing, and you will truly be happy.  Good luck!

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The Big Easy

January 15, 2009 at 1:14 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this yet or not, but just all my entries about guilty pleasures have also been passive activities.  Passive activities of course is code for lazy.  Perhaps that’s the beauty of it. If I’m going to do something I know I probably shouldn’t, I also shouldn’t go out of my way to do it.  That’s why everything’s been watching tv and music so far.  I thought about it a little bit today and I had a hard time coming up with something that I do that I would classify as a guilty pleasure for this, the final in our theme week, that I have to go out of my way for.

Today, I’ve decided my guilty pleasure will be the pleasure that has consumed most of my last month.  In religious circles they call it sloth.  I call it staying up until 3 am then sleeping until noon.  Once I finally get up, make a pot of coffee and a bagel, toast, or pop-tarts and watch some cartoons as I check my email, CNN’s Political Ticker, and Cyanide & Happiness cartoon for the day.  Get the ambition to hop in the shower some time in the early afternoon after taking down about 3 cups of coffee (That’s like 7 cups according to the coffee maker, but it’s just a machine.  What does it know?).  Then maybe get around to doing something for the day.

At any rate, my final and capstone guilty pleasure is doing absolutely nothing.  Sitting being lazy as a vestigial organ, watching some television or checking Digg for updates is a fantastic way to piss away at least half of a day.  Perhaps checking up on my roommate’s techno blog.  They’re all great options.

I realize this is a bit of an anticlimactic way to end this “guilty pleasures” theme week.  Boy, we’ve had some wild times – from the Ikki twins to Kermit to Horatio.  Anyway, this week I’ve had plenty of random thoughts that I really wanted to write about but had to choke back for the sake of continuity.  You win again, continuity.  Anyway, keep up with me.  I won’t disappoint – every day.  Boss.

Now enjoy a picture of a lazy but happy dog.

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Will You Count Me In?

January 14, 2009 at 2:22 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Music is a tour de force.  Music moves us.  Music is a way to express painful inner thoughts or blissfully beautiful feelings.  Music has been used to entertain and please emperors.  It is even said that music can soothe the savage beast.

Well, for me, it starts in my toes and I crinkle my nose – wherever it goes, I always know.  Music literally encompasses every genre imaginable.  One of those genres just so happens to be feminine music.  Is it so wrong to love that?  That’s right.  I’m talking primarily about those songs that are sung by women and are light and poppy.  I’m looking at you, Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles, Kelly Clarkson, Corinne Bailey Rae, Ingrid Michaelson, Norah Jones, Rilo Kiley, Lenka, and even Miley Cyrus.  If you haven’t heard of any of those girls yet, YouTube them.  The gentle feminine pop sounds can caress you through any day.  It’s a guilty pleasure.  Judge me not.

Here’s the thing, we started out friends – it was cool it was all pretend. I’m not gonna write you a love song ‘cause you asked for it ‘cause you need one.  But when you realize what I just realized, you’d never have to wonder if we missed out on each other now.  I love the way you call me baby, and you take me the way I am.  I don’t know why I didn’t come.  Girl, put your records on.  I was your silver lining, but now I’m gold.  I can’t wait to see you again.

By the way, I’m just a little bit caught in the middle.  Life is a maze and love is a riddle.  I don’t know where to go.  Can’t do it alone, I’ve tried, and I don’t know why.

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Miami Style

January 13, 2009 at 12:01 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

CSI Miami is a horrible show.  That doesn’t stop me from watching it.  The level of cheese on this “drama” is would put a Swiss cheesery to shame, even if it just got hit with a Parmesan truck driven by Chuck E. Cheese.  I’ve got nothing against the original Las Vegas or New York versions of the show.  They may perhaps be unbelievable at times, coming up with the one lucky piece of evidence that they need to put a bad guy away within an hour’s time, but you won’t see Gil Grissom or Lieutenant Dan step out of a Hummer, or dealing with undercover supposedly-dead cops, only sexy killers, or the Cuban mafia any time soon.

The show is bad, but it feels so good to watch.  Horatio, the main detective has somehow become a superhuman, ever-righteous, semi-omnipotent figure who is obsessed with saying something dramatically cheesy in just about every episode.  For those of you who haven’t seen the show, I’ll go ahead and include a video of some of the best dramatic moments.  Pay attention to the deep voice tone and the inflection, whether or not it’s appropriate.  Enjoy!

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El Sleezo Cafe

January 12, 2009 at 7:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

I made a big deal yesterday about how I was doing all my entries for this “guilty pleasures” theme about tv shows.  Well, I’ve stepped it up for you today.  Of course I’ve only stepped it up a quarter of a step.  When considering whether or not today’s theme really counted as a guilty pleasure, I googled the term “guilty pleasure” looking for a definition.  I found:

“A guilty pleasure is defined as something you enjoy, even though you know it’s bad for you.”

“A guilty pleasure is defined as something that would ruin us if our friends knew about it.”

Or

“A guilty pleasure is something you would listen to, but sure as hell wouldn’t wear a t-shirt in public of.”

After reading these scientifically constructed definitions pulled off some Joe Blow’s website, I don’t think today’s guilty pleasure fits into the genre.  Guess what.  I don’t care.  I refuse to admit it could be bad for me.  I don’t care about my friendships enough to change my ways.  If my friends ditch me for this, they weren’t my real friends to begin with.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.  And I’d sure as hell wear a t-shirt with them on it.  Fine. Enough build up.  I love the Muppets and I don’t care who knows it!

How could you not love these meshed up puppet creations that dwell in the netherworld between live action and cartoons?  Some say they’re stupid or silly.  I say the people who say that are stupid AND silly!  Jim Henson’s Muppet creations are fantastically clever and witty.  Yes, some of their movies may be even a bit cheesy for me.  I’m looking at you, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas.  But it’s nothing I can’t forgive because of gems like The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppet Family Christmas, Muppet Treasure Island, and even The Muppet Christmas Carol.  Most of us even grew up on the Muppets.  Did you know “Sesame Street” is a Muppet based show?  Well it is!

The writing has a unique flavor all its own that is rarely imitated and never duplicated.  Characters’ witty, quick banter is always pun-filled and fantastic.  The characters remain distinctly human, but casually refer to their animal tendencies.  Even the flawless puppetry itself is a sight to behold.  They say when actors would go on “Sesame Street” or “The Muppet Show” the actors would forget they were just talking to Muppets and continue to hold conversations throughout commercial breaks.  The Muppetteers, of course, would play into these conversations as well.

I’d like to remind you of a few Muppet exchanges courtesy of IMDB.

Kermit: That’s pretty dangerous building a road in the middle of the street. I mean, if frogs couldn’t hop, I’d be gone with the Schwinn.

Statler: Well, how do you like the film?
Waldorf: I’ve seen detergents leave a better film than this.

Fozzie: Oh, I’m so nervous. If I’m not funny, I won’t be able to live with myself.
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew: Well, then you’ll have to get another apartment, won’t you?

Fozzie: Ahh, a bear in his natural habitat – a Studebaker.

Kermit: [navigating in the Studebaker] Bear left.
Fozzie: Right, frog.

The bottom line is that I love the Muppets and there’s nothing you can do about it.  I will pose a question as I leave you for the day and I hope someone can answer it for me.  Why are there so many songs about rainbows – and what’s on the other side?

For you more devoted Muppet fans, I would also like you to remind to bundle up.  It’s cold enough to freeze your Winnebago!

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