Sunday, December 31, 2006

Video of the Year

Video of the Year goes to that "Weird Al" Yankovic parody of a rap song in which Al puts on a gangsta persona and boasts of his hardcore computing skills, featuring cameos by a couple of nerd icons.

Oh, did I mention the year in question is 1999?

Way before "White and Nerdy," his take on Chamillionaire's "Ridin'," Al covered similar ground with his parody of Puff Daddy's "It's All About the Benjamins." (Tangential poll: Sean "Puff Daddy"/"P. Diddy" Combs is the weakest, blandest, most undeservedly popular rapper ever. True, or Very True?) Replace "White and Nerdy"'s Seth Green and Donny Osmond with Emo Philips and Drew Carey, and you've got "It's All About the Pentiums." An equally funny song and video, which unfortunately happened to fall in that fallow period between "Amish Paradise" and "White and Nerdy," when the mainstream forgot Al existed. I'm starting the retrospective here: those of you who only know him from his inexplicably (but fantastically) huge hit single should check out some of his fairly recent, overlooked work. "Weird Al" rules!

In other news*: I'm home! And apparently have nothing better to do on New Year's Eve than post to my blog!

Regular blogging hopefully to resume soon, if not immediately, possibly including Top Ten lists of 2006's best movies (according to the tremendously small sampling I was able to watch) and television. Plus a must-see, set-your-VCRs-and-TiVos TV alert for later this week!! (Hint, hint.)

*TM Jeremiah.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

See You In '07

This may be jumping the gun, but I may be out of computer contact for the rest of the year. See, I'm planning on going out to visit my sister in Denver over the holidays. Unfortunately, Denver is plotting against me. With giant, flight-cancelling snow drifts. My flight was actually supposed to depart this morning. But Denver International is completely shut down until noon Friday at the earliest due to the blizzard. At this point, I have no idea when I'm going to be able to catch another flight, if at all. And United has been absolutely zero help. Their "customer service" is the worst I've ever encountered, by leaps and bounds. Their wretched phone line keeps disconnecting me before I can even speak to anyone. When I finally got through, I was on hold for thirty minutes, and then wound up talking to some schmoe in India who kept insisting that my flight was on time. I kept telling him that no, the whole airport was shut down, and my flight, as well as all others to and from DIA, were cancelled, and that he should look it up on his own company's website, He said, "We don't have access to that." So that was helpful.

Anywho. Normally, this time of year signals a flurry of top ten lists from yours truly. But my heart's just not in it right now. Honestly, I'd be hard pressed to come up with a list of anything other than my beloved TV. I bought maybe two new albums this year, I broke myself of the comics habit almost completely, and I hardly ever go out to see good movies anymore. I mean, I still see some, but not many are good. I actually saw School For Scoundrels, people. And that ain't good. If I were forced to make a top ten list of movies, it'd be, I don't know, two Leonardos, two Will Ferrells, a James Bond, and then I'd be stuck. I'd start throwing in shit like Snakes on a Plane.

As for TV, right now I'm too cranky and depressed to manage a list. Maybe sometime after New Year's. I will throw out a quick nod to Battlestar Galactica, which recently took its mid-season break with yet another awesome cliffhanger, and also note that if I could get one Christmas wish from Santa, it would be for another season of Deadwood -- or, at the very least, that the chumps at HBO and David Milch don't weasel out of their promise of two series-wrapping TV movies sometime next year.

Also on the TV front, I've got big news about a certain blogger you all know and love and his impending appearance on a certain TV show. But that'll have to wait till next year, too -- most likely, the first week of the New Year. If you're catching my drift, and I hope you are.

Thanks to all of you who have stuck around during the lean blogging output over the past few months. Happy gift-giving celebration of your choice, and a happy new year. I'll see you in '07!

Monday, December 18, 2006

The last refuge of the lazy blogger

Enjoy these You Tube videos. 100% guaranteed to rock your face.

Dropkick Murphys -- "The Gauntlet"

Currently featured on the sidebar under Lyric of the Week. Raging Boston Irish punk rock. These guys are coming to the Majestic Ventura Theater in February. I'm there! "Stand up and fight/And I'll stand up with you."

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists -- "Me and Mia"

This is one of the few songs in the world that, every time I listen to it, I must immediately listen to it again. One of my primary feel-good songs. Something about it just triggers all the right chemicals in my brain, and I'm suddenly grinning like a fool. "Do you believe in something beautiful?/Then get up and be it."

Therapy? -- "Screamager"

The hardest rockin' band out of Belfast. Though the video, and the appearance of the musicians, are very much of their time -- which would be circa 1993. And the budget was about $150, it appears. The lead singer reminds me strangely of Ricky Gervais here. "With a face like this I won't break any hearts/And thinking like that I won't make any friends."

Tool -- "Aenema"

Guaranteed to give you the kind of nightmares Jan Svankmajer has after watching a David Lynch marathon. Much like every video from Tool. An incredible outpouring of hatred toward California in general and L.A. specifically, with a simple solution: sink it all into the ocean. "Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones/Fuck all these gun-toting hip gangster wannabes/Fuck retro anything, fuck your tattoos/Fuck all you junkies and fuck your short memories/Fuck smiley glad-hands with hidden agendas/Fuck these dysfunctional insecure actresses." Learn to swim, see you down in Arizona Bay.

Bill Hicks

And since the "Arizona Bay" bit is taken from one of his routines, here's a great fan-video sampling of the hilarious vitriol of Bill Hicks. The term "Arizona Bay" doesn't pop up until 7:18, and the whole bit is dated to the Rodney King verdict, but it's all worth listening to. And no, I can't explain why The Doors' "When the Music's Over" plays in the background.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

As God is my witness...

If you aren't completing the second half of the above line in your head, maybe chuckling to yourself, it's entirely possible you don't watch enough TV to read this blog. To be fair, that phrase has been used many times, in many contexts, but to certain die-hard television fans it can only mean the set-up to the final punchline from the legendary "Turkeys Away" Thanksgiving episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. It's the episode in which Mr. Carlson stages a disastrous holiday promo by having live turkeys hurled out of a helicopter above a shopping center's parking lot. In Mr. Carlson's immortal words: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

It's the funniest moment in one of the funniest half hours ever to air on the small screen. And fans of the show (myself obviously included) have just gotten a bit of good news -- the "news of the century," as Logan, only slightly exaggerating, calls it in the comments to my last post. We will soon be able to own that episode on DVD. The first season set of WKRP is scheduled for release in April, 2007.

I have long bemoaned the fact that exhorbitant music licensing fees made a DVD release of WKRP all but an impossibility. And, truth be told, it's still technically an impossibility: some of the music from the original episodes will be replaced. Apparently, Fox has taken special care to replace whatever music they couldn't afford with the least jarringly inappropriate substitutes. But the fact remains that the original, unaltered episodes will in all likelihood never receive an official DVD release.

Oh well. I guess I'll have to take what I can get -- and trust me, it's plenty enough to have me walking on air. I never thought WKRP would get the DVD treatment in any form. This is a pop culture dream come true. I can't wait for April!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This is what breaks my blogging silence?

I realize this won't interest everyone who reads this blog, but the ones it does interest I expect to be very, very interested:

Tricia Helfer, Battlestar Galactica's Number Six, to appear nude in next month's Playboy. [Link features NSFW pictures.]


I can't have that be the only item I post after an eight day absence! So I'll briefly mention my return to the comics shop after a much longer absence.

I went in to pay a visit to Mike and the shop this weekend, and I can't even remember the last time before that I set foot in the store. Maybe a full two months. Or more. And as I looked at the comics on the rack, I realized that in that time away, I hadn't really missed comics that much. Not the actual ink and paper books, anyway. But I had missed the social aspect of comics.

I know, it's a contradiction -- comic books and social interaction! Har har. But what I've been missing is going into the shop every Wednesday and hanging out with/bothering pal Mike, whom I don't often -- almost never, really -- see outside of the shop. As well as the other store employees -- employee? Is Aaron the only one left? -- and the occasional cameo from Dorian, Chris, or Corey. It was a great treat to look forward to in the middle of my work week. And I always left feeling upbeat, at least for the walk back to my car. Mike's always so easy-going. Even when he's pissed off, it's such a low-key, good-natured anger that he's still pleasant to be around. (Me, I'm barely pleasant to be around when I'm not angry. Which isn't often.)

I've also missed the online social interaction. (Insert second "contradiction" joke here.) I liked perusing the various comics blogs, many of which are featured just over there to the right in the sidebar, and checking out the wide array of thoughts and opinions floating around about the comics I'd read that week. I still keep up with any number of those blogs, but it's from an outsider's perspective. What's that, you say? Grant Morrison wrote something completely insane and awesome? Okay, I guess I'll have to take your word on it.

Anywho. While at the comic shop, I bought four things.

#1: the new issue of Cracked magazine. As with the last issue I bought (which was the first issue, if you follow me), it had its moments, but was mostly a lot of skippable material.

#2: Evan Dorkin's latest issue of Dork. The whole thing is crammed full of single panel gags or four-panel strips -- not even one full-page story. Far more miss than hit, sadly. I've been a fan of Dorkin's for well over a decade now, and maybe that's why I felt like there was very little new here.

#3: Jeph Loeb & Darwyn Cooke's Batman/The Spirit one-off. The artwork is frequently gorgeous -- especially the blatantly telegraphed, but still thrilling, splash page complete with giant letters spelling "SPIRIT" in the background -- but the writing is somehow labored and lazy at the same time. It's like Loeb and Cooke (mostly Loeb, I'm guessing) took great pains to craft grand introductions for various iconic elements from both the Batman and Spirit mythoses (if that's a word, and I bet it isn't), but couldn't really be bothered to tie them together into an interesting or sensible story.

#4: The first trade paperback of Noble Causes. I've seen a lot of praise online for this book, which is a soap-operaish look at the dirty laundry of a superhero family and the non-superpowered woman who marries into it. But it didn't impress me much. The first issue ends with a genuinely surprising twist, but its impact is lessened by the fact that we've only known these characters for that one issue. And the rest of it is petty bitchiness and bed-hopping, tied together by a meager murder mystery.

So, yeah: looks like I miss everything about comics except the comics themselves. Granted, none of the titles mentioned above are my favorites; there's no She-Hulk, no Y: The Last Man or Runaways or Ex Machina, no Dorothy or Fables or All-Star Superman. I'm still sticking with my plan to buy only trade paperbacks from now on; it just hasn't been long enough for any of those titles, or others I've neglected to mention, to produce new collections. And the two single issues I bought aren't going to be collected in a TPB for ages, if ever.

There. Did I write enough about something else to make up for the Playboy link?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holding Pattern

Quick note to let you know I'm still here. I was hoping to go back to semi-regular posting status on the ol' blogstead here, but life has kept interfering, and for once, in a good way. I'll update again soon, hopefully.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by